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, it’s Police Academy!
Sam the Eagle as Lieutenant Harris (a.k.a. Ultra-Mean Drill Sergeant Lieutenant) – Sam is ideal as an authority figure who has nothing but frustration with and contempt for our heroes. I briefly considered Statler & Waldorf, but they don’t take themselves or the situation seriously enough to make Harris’s many humiliations satisfying.
Fozzie Bear as Commandant Lassard (a.k.a. Poor Man’s Leslie Nielson) – Lassard is an overall decent chap, but one who’s stupid enough, weak-willed enough, and easily-intimidated enough that, despite theoretically having a position of great power, is mostly completely unable to use that power for anything helpful. Sounds perfect for Fozzie.
Miss Piggy as Sergeant Debbie Callahan (a.k.a. Badass With Boobs) – Callahan needs to be a tough-as-nails woman, someone who can take down any other character in the movie with a single strike, while also having sex appeal coming out the wazoo. If you don’t give the part to Miss Piggy, she’ll karate chop you in the face and take it from you herself.
Sweetums as Moses Hightower (a.k.a. Mr. Tall Guy) – Moses Hightower is defined by being huge, intimidating, and powerful, but also by being a real sweetheart who was a florist before joining the academy. This part was made for Sweetums.
Kermit the Frog as Leslie Barbara (a.k.a. Fat Put-Upon Loser) – Kermit isn’t fat, but he is a nice enough guy that I can see him putting up with and being victimized by grown-up bullies the way Leslie is, before finally standing up for himself in film’s climax, making the whole audience cheer.
Gonzo the Great as Eugene Tackleberry (a.k.a. Gun Nut par excellence) – Just transfer Gonzo’s obsession with incredibly dangerous stunts and performances to an obsession with firearms, and he’d make a pretty good fit for Cadet Tackleberry.
80’s Robot as Larvell Jones (a.k.a. Sound-Effect-o-Tron 3000) – Yeah, I know, Futurama already did the joke about how, if a robot’s the guy doing funny sound effects, it’s nowhere near as impressive. But screw it, that joke’s so good, it’s worth stealing.
Beaker as Laverne Hooks (a.k.a. speaks real quietly most of the time BUT THEN GOES LOUD!) – Replace her normal habit of speaking too softly and quietly for anyone to hear with Beaker’s unintelligible “meep!”s, then when she reaches her breaking point and asserts herself, have Beaker suddenly start shouting in fully intelligible English for the first time ever.
Pepe the Prawn as George Martin (a.k.a. Fake Latin Lover) – A guy who spends most of the movie faking a Spanish accent so he can seduce women? Doesn’t seem like there’s any choice here but Pepe.
Scooter as Douglas Fackler (a.k.a. Attack of the Living Jinx) – Fackler is defined, not by his personality or his abilities, but by the fact that he keeps inadvertently causing hilarious accidents to befall everyone around him, which he’s completely unaware of. Scooter, one of the Muppets with the least well-defined personality, could do Fackler’s innocent obliviousness quite well.
Janice as Karen Thompson (a.k.a. Generic Love Interest) – She says she joined the Police Academy largely on a whim, to relieve her boredom, and as a bit of rebellion against her mother. I can definitely picture Janice going, “So, like, Mom, if I want to join the Police Academy, then just flake out for all the sequels, that’s, like, my choice and stuff.”
and, as Carey Mahoney (a.k.a. 80’s Comedy Asshole Protagonist)
Our Very Special Guest, Mr. Chris Pratt! – None of the Muppets seemed quite right for the lead role of Mahoney. The ones smart enough to pull off his bits of cleverness are either too nice or too stiff to pull off his bouts of assholeishness. So, if he’s going to be our human guest star, what modern actor is the best fit for the 80’s Comedy Asshole Protagonist role that Mahoney has? Chris Pratt hit the top of that list so hard, no one else even came close.
Those are my picks for a Muppet rendition of Police Academy. What are yours?