Why Do They Always Come Here? – Bizarre Statler & Waldorf Theories

Published: September 14, 2020
Categories: Feature, Fun Stuff

Why do we always come here?
I guess we’ll never know
It’s like a kind of torture
To have to watch the show

That familiar stanza not only appeared in every episode of the fifth season of The Muppet Show, but it’s likely the most familiar and oft-referenced quote by O.G. curmudgeons Statler and Waldorf.

It’s also one of popular culture’s most famous unanswered questions. Why do they always come to the Muppet Theater night after night, submitting themselves to regular torture, and therefore torturing those on stage with their cruel heckles???

Naturally, we at the ToughPigs Institute of Psychological Studies feel it necessary to get to the bottom of this mystery. We’re gathering all of the most ridiculous theories and ignoring some of the more logical ones. Because what fun is logic??

Theory #1: Statler is secretly Fozzie’s estranged father

Yes, we’re starting with the craziest of all the crazy theories. The relationship between a father and son can be complicated. But as we learned in Muppet Family Christmas, Statler and Waldorf are old friends of Fozzie’s Ma. Just how close are they?? Perhaps one of them secretly fathered a child with Emily Bear, and is now only able to show support for his bear heir by attending every single one of his performances.

Why Statler and not Waldorf? It’s hard to ignore the obvious bond between Statler and Fozzie as seen in The Muppets sitcom episode “Pig Out”. You can’t deny they have some sort of connection as Fozzie is inexplicably drawn to visiting his injured father figure in the hospital. Maybe they should’ve done a DNA test while they were there.

Theory #2: Statler and Waldorf the show as a part of their court-appointed community service

In the Muppet universe, The Muppet Show is one of the worst theatrical performances an audience member can succumb to. They can’t rely on just their regular ticket buyers to help pay the bills, so obviously there’s a local judge who chose The Muppet Show as their community service of choice to assign to law breakers in lieu of jail time.

So now the question is: What did Statler and Waldorf do to necessitate a potential prison sentence? Tax evasion? Verbal assault? Poaching?? We’ll be answering this question and more in a follow-up to this article. Probably.

Theory #3: Statler and Waldorf secretly work for JP Grosse

It’s no secret that JP Grosse, owner of the Muppet Theater, wants to shut the theater down. He doesn’t seem to enjoy the show, he makes awful demands, and he sees more profit in a parking lot than the arts. After attempting to infiltrate the Muppets with his opportunistic nephew, his next strategy seems to be planting saboteurs into the theater! And who better than two loud, old men who hate everything and aren’t afraid to say so? If they keep up the criticisms at full volume, they could sway the opinions of the rest of the audience. The next thing you know, the theater is empty, the Muppets are evicted, and JP Grosse gets his parking lot.

Theory #4: Statler and Waldorf secretly work for Kermit the Frog

Kermit’s primary function is to make sure that The Muppet Show runs as smoothly as possible, despite the fact that most of the performers on stage are pretty terrible at their jobs. So of course he’d do whatever he can to cull the absolute best performances out of his staff. One strategy might be to hire a couple of tough critics to keep them on their toes, point out their flaws, and inspire them to put on a terrific show. Sure, maybe Statler and Waldorf go a little overboard, and maybe they’re not exactly successful in improving the show they’re criticizing, but that just proves that they’re as terrible at their jobs as the rest of Kermit’s hires.

Theory #5: Statler and Waldorf are only pretending to be rich

As The Muppet Show went on, Statler and Waldorf peppered in more and more references to the fact that they’re pretty well-off. From Statler’s alter ego Money Man through their roles as harsh (and deceased) businessmen in The Muppet Christmas Carol, all while wearing three-piece suits, they certainly seem like men of means. But what if… they aren’t??

Statler and Waldorf actually have no money at all. They’re broke and homeless with nowhere else to go. Rather than brave the elements, they put on the only clothes they own and use the free admission of The Muppet Show as an excuse to stay indoors for hours on end. And if nobody ever comes into their box, they also have a warm place to stay for the night. Still, it’s pretty rude of them to treat the performers so poorly when they get a place to crash in exchange.

Theory #6: Statler and Waldorf are time travelers from the future (part 1)

For such a hip, exciting variety show, it’s strange that their most consistent audience members were octogenarians. So perhaps they knew something about this show that other old folks couldn’t see… yet!

Cut to 50 or 60 years into the future of The Muppet Show, and Statler and Waldorf are living as two aging Muppet fans with a time machine. Faced with the decision to go anywhere and anywhen, they decide to go back to a time when they could see the Muppets perform live. But as we all know, time is generous to nostalgia, and Statler and Waldorf were not prepared for The Muppet Show to fail to live up to their own expectations. If you managed to travel back in time for a hilarious, iconic performance and instead got the world’s least funny bear, you’d heckle too.

Theory #7: Statler and Waldorf are time travelers from the future (part 2)

For such a hip, exciting variety… oh wait, I did this part already.

Okay, so maybe Statler and Waldorf came back from the future for a different reason. Maybe they were near the ends of their lives and felt nostalgic for a simpler time. A time when they were happy performing on stage with their friends. A time when they were members of the Muppet Show troupe.

Yes, Statler and Waldorf traveled back to 1976 to revisit the good ol’ days and see themselves on stage. Sure, this was back before they went by the names of “Statler” and “Waldorf”. Maybe they were Floyd and Zoot. Maybe they were Scooter and Lew Zealand. Maybe even George the Janitor and Pops. Whatever their true identities, they grew into those two old guys, traveled back in time just so they could sit in their balcony and enjoy themselves.

Theory #8: Statler and Waldorf don’t actually exist

All those other theories are obviously just jokes. This is the real one.

Statler and Waldorf are up in that balcony because they’re deliberately set apart from the rest of the Muppets, not physically interacting with them at all. Almost as if they’re not really there at all! That’s because they’re not – Statler and Waldorf are physical manifestations of Fozzie Bear’s insecurities.

Fozzie is so full of fear and desperation, he actually created these two geezers to voice the opinions that he already knows are true. Truly, Statler and Waldorf are Fozzie Bear’s Tyler Durden. A Fight Comedy Club, if you will.

So, which of these theories is actually true? I guess we’ll never know!

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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com

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Written by Joe Hennes

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