Rowlf the Dog – Calm Among Crazies

Christopher Woods – When someone thinks of The Muppet Show, the first word that could come to mind is “chaos.” The bizarre happenings on the stage were often only topped by the troubles offstage. From the Swedish Chef being attacked by gun-toting lobsters, to Miss Piggy locking Kermit in a steamer trunk, to Gonzo being prematurely reported dead, there was never a dull moment throughout the show. However, there was one character who seemed to be immune to the frenzied pace of the Muppet Theater: Rowlf the Dog.

Perhaps it was from his early work as Jimmy Dean’s right-hand dog on The Jimmy Dean Show that gave him his laid-back nature, spending 10 minutes a week singing and joking. Or maybe it was from his time playing the piano and sitting and watching at the hole-in-the wall he worked at in The Muppet Movie. Either way, he just seemed to be able to stay above the fray, or should I say, right next to the fray, always with a smile on his face and a little joke.

This attitude translated well into his solo numbers, which usually just involved him and a piano, or sometimes even just him singing behind an unseen band. While the piano numbers generally showed off Rowlf the best, one solo number in particular truly shows off that attitude the best.

This song is in the midst of an episode that features various beasts attacking Don Knotts, a bass exploding during a musical number, and someone affectionately known as the “Screaming Thing” singing about “The Windmills of Your Mind.” And yet, when it’s Rowlf’s turn to take center stage, he’s got a puppy with him! A sleepy little puppy! And he just sings, and nothing explodes or comes running through in front of him. It’s just two beautiful minutes.

Sure, some might find this boring compared to the rest of the shenanigans of the rest of the Muppets, but it’s good to have someone to bring down the frenzy for a few seconds. After all, it never hurts to get a chance to catch your breath.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier,

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