Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: 80s Robot

WMW 80s Robot

Written by Ryan Dosier.


Performed by…80s Robot
Matt Vogel

First appearance…
The Muppets (2011)

Most recent appearance…
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Best known role…
Android made in the 1980s; butler to Kermit the Frog

Famous quote(s)…
“Gnarly to the max, dude!”
“Gag me with a spoon!”
“Help! I’ve been mugged!”

80s Robot is one of the few entirely mechanical characters in the Muppet world. He joins the rankings of Robot Kermit, Digit, Bunsen’s Steel Rabbit, Robot Abraham Lincoln, Vendaface, and Otto the Automatic Entertainer. He is the first robotic character to appear in a Muppet movie. Is he a Muppet or is he a fully-robotic man? No one can say for sure.

In The Muppets (2011), 80s Robot’s first role, the old robot was introduced as Kermit the Frog’s butler and driver. When Gary, Mary, and Walter visit Kermit at his Beverly Hills mansion, 80s Robot is there to immediately offer the group cans of surely-expired TaB and New Coke. He shows his clumsy side afterwards when he crashes into some of Kermit’s more kitschy home items, perhaps eluding to his obsolete nature.

Later, when Kermit and company set out to reunite the Muppets, 80s Robot drives Kermit’s car all around the country (and outside the country). His comically loud, out of date modem was crucial to locating Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, and all of the other Muppets spread around the world. Throughout the rest of the movie he appears to play guard of Kermit’s Rolls Royce car, keeping it upright during Gonzo’s explosion, and falling prey to Tex Richman’s evil plot by being thrown from the passenger’s seat.

80s Robot’s main contribution to The Muppets were his fantastically out-dated catchphrases. “Gag me with a spoon,” “Gnarly to the max,” and “Totally tubular” are sure to reenter the national vernacular based solely on 80s Robot’s dynamic turn in the film.

80s Robot was also seen briefly in Muppets Most Wanted, now working with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker.

The Muppets can use 80s Robot for a menagerie of reasons. He is a portable internet resource (when their iPhones run out of battery), a competent driver (when Fozzie’s correspondence course license is expired), and he’s a robot (for Bunsen and Beaker to fiddle around with). He’s a good back up and a constant reminder of the 1980s, the decade where the Muppets hit their popularity peak. 80s Robot works for many reasons, but mostly he’s just gnarly to the max, dude. What more could you need?

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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