Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: P.J. & Kai-Lee

WMW PJ

Written by Michael Wermuth.

P.J. & KAI-LEE

PJ and Kai-LeePerformed by…
Kevin Clash (P.J.)
Camille Bonora (Kai-Lee)

First appearance…
Hey, You’re As Funny as Fozzie Bear 
video (1988)

Most recent appearance…
Wow, You’re a Cartoonist! 
(1988)

Best known role…
Colorful young brother and sister eager to help out with activities

WHO ARE P.J. & KAI-LEE?
Video.neatstuffP.J. and Kai-Lee are brother and sister featured in the Jim Henson’s Play-Along Video series, having featured roles in four of the six videos. In Wow, You’re a Cartoonist!, they learn about drawing stick figures and appear in a segment where they talk with word balloons. In Hey, You’re as Funny as Fozzie Bear, they assist Fozzie with his joke-telling. In Sing-Along, Dance-Along, Do-Along, they help Rowlf with his various musical activities (with P.J. joining in on practically every activity and, when it ends, suggesting that viewers watch the video again). And in Neat Stuff to Know and To Do, they practically serve as hosts, learning such neat stuff as how a puppeteer (played by Kai-Lee’s performer, Camille Bonora) can operate a puppet sitting on a ladder without being seen, how to make mouth noises, and P.J. learns to skip stones from Jim Henson.

P.J. is the more excitable of the two, while Kai-Lee is a lot more down-to-earth. This is especially prevalent in Sing-Along, Dance-Along, Do-Along, where Kai-Lee gets annoyed by P.J.’s excitement and eagerness to participate in every number. Aside from appearing in footage shown on a monitor in episodes of The Jim Henson Hour, P.J. and Kai-Lee were never used outside of the Play-Along Videos.

WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED P.J. & KAI-LEE?
The Play-Along Video series was aimed at young children, so why not have Muppets who are supposed to be young children? They might seem out of place for a lot of productions, but there have been some that followed that would have been good opportunities for their inclusion (Muppet Sing-Alongs, Muppet Time).

Henson-playalongvideo

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

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