Muppet Casting: Arrested Development

It’s time for another round of Muppet Casting, where we take a famous movie and ask, if Jim Henson’s Muppets made their own version of it (in the vein of The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island), which Muppets would you cast in the lead roles?

This week, the story of a wealthy family who lost everything, and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It’s . . . Arrested Development.

 

Kermit the Frog as Michael Bluth – This is the one choice in this Muppet Casting that I stand behind one-hundred frickin’ percent. To play the Only Sane Man who has to wrangle a collection of divas, idiots, and lunatics into a functioning enterprise, but usually failing and getting drawn into the craziness despite his better judgement? There can be no one but Kermit.

Robin as George Michael Bluth – Partly because Robin can easily pass as Kermit’s son (though, since none of the other Bluths will be played by frogs, that’s not so important here). But also because Robin’s sweet, naive nature is a good fit for the perpetually eager to please George Michael. Plus, there aren’t that many child Muppets.

Gonzo the Great as G.O.B. – I’ll admit, this casting isn’t perfect. GOB cares far more about what people think of him than Gonzo ever could. However, GOB’s theatrical nature, where he treats even day-to-day conversations as a performance, including impromptu and ill-conceived magic tricks and puppet shows? That Gonzo could completely ace.

Walter as Buster Bluth – In the motion picture The Muppets, Walter is portrayed as something of a man/Muppet-child. He’s supposed to be the same age as Jason Segal, yet they still share a room together just like when they were kids, which is perfect for Buster’s particularly strong case of arrested development (hey! that’s the title!). Plus, Walter’s over-emotional reaction to going to Muppet Studios and meeting Kermit the Frog? I can easily imagine Buster doing the exact same thing.

Fozzie Bear as Tobias Fünke – Untalented comedian isn’t precisely the same as untalented actor, but it’s close enough. And Fozzie absolutely has the fragile-but-perpetual optimism, enthusiasm, and unearned self-confidence to portray Tobias. Plus, I figure you could get some good unintentional innuendo out of him describing himself as a “bear”.

Rizzo the Rat as Lindsay Bluth Fünke – Granted, Rizzo in drag would take away some of the humor in the Lindsay/Tobias relationship. But I think that Rizzo has the right incredibly-selfish-but-not-actively-cruel personality needed for Lindsay, as well as often being portrayed as stupid but still better able to function than most of the nutjobs they’re surrounded with. I’ll admit, though, Rizzo wasn’t my first choice. I wanted to give this part to Miss Piggy, who’d do absolute wonders with Lindsay. But I had to save her for:

Miss Piggy as Lucille Bluth – I can’t think of another Muppet who could do Lucille justice. Who else could deliver her acerbic comments with such cold-hearted disdain, yet still squeal with such genuine glee whenever Gene Parmesan pulls off his disguise? Only Miss Piggy can embody these contrasts so thoroughly.

Rowlf the Dog as George, Sr. & Oscar Bluth – Just casting George, Sr. would be tough, but when the Muppet who plays him also has to play his hippy-dippy identical twin? Rowlf is the best fit I could think of. I don’t know if he could convey George, Sr.’s moments of rage adequately, but I think he’d do a great job with the more sedate and assured George, who treats his time in prison as a vacation or builds a (very disturbing) life for himself in the model home’s attic. And he could nail Oscar’s mellow no problem.

and as Maeby Fünke . . .

Our Very Special Guest, Ms. Sophia Lillis! – For a good chunk of the series, we’re asked to wonder whether Maeby is actually a blood relative of the Bluths, and having her be the only non-Muppet in the family would help play into it. And, based on her performance as Bev in 2017’s It, Sophia Lillis could do some amazing work as Maeby

and with a special appearance by

Idris Elba as Franklin Delano Bluth – I asked myself, who’s the most dignified black actor who could sit silently and move his lips in time to GOB’s offensive ventriloquist act, all while conveying absolute fury at the indignity through his eyes? Mr. Elba’s who I came up with.

 

Those are my picks for a Muppet rendition of Arrested Development. What are yours?

 

Hey, everybody. I’m trying a couple new things with Muppet Casting. For one, as is obvious, I’ve decided to do a Muppet Casting for a TV show, rather than a movie (though, when they’re put on Netflix, the difference is rather academic). I just felt that, going forward, this would create more options for Muppet Castings, as I start to run low on well-known movies that have a large enough cast of distinct, memorable characters to make these castings fun.

The second is I’ve decided to start posting these on Saturdays rather than Fridays. Lately, the Avocado’s had a lot of posts go live on Fridays; you can post something at noon and have it bumped off the front page before evening hits. I figured I’d try moving Muppet Casting to a less competitive timeslot, so more people get a chance to see it.

Let me know how you feel about these changes, good or bad. And happy casting!