Crazy Fan Theory: The Muppets Die at the End of The Muppet Movie

Published: June 18, 2019
Categories: Feature, Fun Stuff

Ah, The Muppet Movie. Is there a better film that celebrates hope, determination, and the power of friendship? Maybe, I don’t know. I’m here to write about Muppets, not be a cinema expert. But I digress.

The Muppet Movie sure is… optimistic. It’s about a frog that goes to Hollywood and makes a whole lot of friends along the way. I guess it kind of has to be positive to be a Muppet movie. And it ends with Kermit and the rest of the gang realizing their dream and making a movie of their adventure. It makes for a perfect ending. Perhaps even too perfect.

But the sad truth is… life’s not like a movie. Sometimes, the ending is written for you.

I say this because around my 748th re-watch of The Muppet Movie, I noticed something: the Muppets sure do dodge death and other gruesome fates a lot in The Muppet Movie.

I’ve heard that the big conceit of the film is that it takes the Muppets out of the theater into the “real” world, or at least a real-ish world with a bear that can drive a Studebaker and a film executive that gives anyone a standard Rich and Famous contract on a whim. But the truth about the “real” world is that it’s not always sunny and cheerful. Sometimes dreams crash and burn, or just drift away. And if, say, you drive head-on into a plumbing truck, you don’t wind up with your vehicles in a funny position and a couple of new friends. You wind up in a hospital… or worse, a morgue.

So what if… just maybe… the Muppets didn’t get their happy Hollywood ending. Instead, maybe they wound up in that big World Wide Studios in the sky?

The idea came to me after watching the big finale, particularly when they get to the reprise of “The Rainbow Connection.” There’s the big song, that great moment where the Muppets are all together, and then Gonzo crashes into the rainbow, and frankly, it does not look like there’s any way they can walk away from this.

If this truly is “the real world,” then Scooter, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and Camilla are about to get crushed by a heavy movie set (though to be fair, it’s less dangerous than getting crushed by an actual falling church.) Beaker and Animal don’t look like they’ll fare much better. Then Crazy Harry ups the electricity, exploding a stage light and blowing a hole in the ceiling, sending lots of debris onto the floor below. This is not a safe film set.

The true villain of The Muppet Movie.

And then there’s that stream of light, that “rainbow connection.” Everybody looks up, and suddenly, a massive group of Muppets shows up out of nowhere. There’s Grover, and Cookie Monster, and Big Bird (who either broke into public television in New York City very fast, or wound up turned around and headed west).  All their friends are there, welcoming them to the next phase in after-life.

Roosevelt Franklin is there, and hey, didn’t they retire the character a few years earlier? There’s the gang from Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas, and the Land of Gorch Muppets from Saturday Night Live! They haven’t been used in a while! One could say their franchises are… dead. Spooky! All of these characters are bathed in the rainbow, as if they’re inviting their friends to go into the light. Don’t do it, Kermit! Who else will save Lady Holiday’s Fabulous Baseball Diamond?

Of course, with all the brushes with death in the film, there is another theory: what if the screening room is where the characters go when they die, and the movie they watch is a more optimistic turnout to the events that led to their demise? While they all died alone, in this celestial screening room, they can tell a story of how they met. It does bring new meaning to the line “life’s like a movie, write your own ending.” But just how did everyone die? The answers are in the movie, of course:

Kermit the Frog – Crushed by a Steamroller

Poor Kermit, he never made it far from the swamp. Try to hop as he did, he met his fate at the hands of that steamroller on the construction site of the new Doc Hopper’s location. And naturally, as a small act of revenge, Kermit makes Hopper the villain of his film fantasy.

Fozzie Bear – Murdered in the El Sleezo Café

Without Kermit there to show off some snappy dance moves, Fozzie wouldn’t make it past the sailor joke. At least he died with clean fur.

Dr. Teeth, Floyd, Janice, Zoot, Animal, and Scooter – Raptured

I guess that church wasn’t as decommissioned as we thought.

Gonzo and Camilla – Plumbing Truck Crash

That’s why you always wear a seatbelt. But how did they crash the truck if Kermit and Fozzie were already dead? Hey, who’s the crazed Muppet conspiracy theorist here?

Miss Piggy – Ferris Wheel Accident at the Bogen County Fair

There’s something about the Ferris wheel at the fair that seems suspicious to me. Are we sure it’s safe? After all, safety wasn’t invented until 1985. I’m sure Debbie Sue Anderson will make a fine Miss Bogen County.

Rowlf – Walking Accident

After his shift at The Terrace Restaurant, Rowlf does his normal routine: he goes home, reads a book, has a couple of beers, takes himself for a walk and goes to bed. But those beers go to his head, Rowlf loses his balance, and soon, that dog is dog gone. Sadly, Rowlf didn’t walk on the safer side of the street because a woman was there, and as we know, his motto is “stay away from women.”

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker – Mistakenly Assassinated by Snake Walker

Since no one hires him, an aimless Walker wanders into a ghost town. With no frogs to kill, he starts to lose his touch. Suddenly, he sees something green. Of course, we know that it’s leading scientific mind Bunsen, but to him, green is green, and green creatures need to die. Seeing his error, he kills Beaker too to cover his tracks. After all, who would look for inventors in a ghost town?

Sweetums – Death by Exhaustion

The truth is Sweetums is an ogre with a dream to go to Hollywood. But with no one encouraging him, he slaves away at Mad Man Mooney’s, working in a job he hates as a jack, until one day, he sets out, running his way towards Los Angeles. And he runs until, one day, he can’t run any more. But he treats his passing with gladness, because on the other side, he’s united with fellow dreamers. He finally caught up with those guys, and at last, he’s at peace.

And when all is said and done, they even meet up with an all-powerful being in “Hollywood” who gives them all everything they ever wished for. At least it’s a nice afterlife. But sadly, the Muppets are no longer of this world.

Happy 40th anniversary, The Muppet Movie. I need a hug.

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by Matthew Soberman

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