Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Howard Tubman

WMW Howard

Written by Ryan Dosier.

HowardHOWARD TUBMAN

Performed by…
Bill Barretta

First appearance…
Muppets Tonight 
Episode 102: Garth Brooks (1996)

Most recent appearance…
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Best known role…
Wealthy, unhealthy heir to the Tubman fortune; star of The Tubmans of Porksmith and Boarshead Revisted

WHO IS HOWARD TUBMAN?
Poksmith.103Howard Tubman is the portly, spoiled resident of Porksmith Manor, home of the exceedingly wealthy (and exceedingly fat) Tubman family. Howard first appeared on Muppets Tonight in the second episode as part of the first installment of the ongoing series, “The Tubmans of Porksmith” (and later “Boarshead Revisted”). Howard’s counterpart in all of these sketches is the decrepit old Carter, his besotted butler.

Porksmith.106Most of the sketches starring Howard involve his girth, his ineptitude, and his mistreatment of Carter. In one sketch in Episode 202, Howard asks Carter to hide his last jar of apple butter. Carter does so, then Howard immediately asks for it back and harangues Carter until he retrieves it. Howard’s extreme obesity is the subject of virtually all of the sketches he appears in, easily making him the fattest of the Muppets.

char_86980_thumbHoward later appeared in a cameo in It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie as the Muppet Theater’s flamboyant dance instructor. Howard trained the Anything Muppet “clodhopper” background dancers with a mix of annoyance and violence. In the world where Kermit was never born Howard appeared as the dance manager for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem in their river-dance personas.

Howard’s most recent onscreen appearance was as a silent wedding guest in Muppets Most Wanted with Carter at his side. Howard also appeared in cameos in the comic book Muppet Snow White and The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.

WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED HOWARD TUBMAN?
There aren’t many reasons that the Muppets need Howard Tubman, a character who was not very well received during Muppets Tonight. But a way that Howard could be more intriguing as a character is to make him the first officially gay Muppet character. Howard would add to the Muppets’ diversity in that way, and with Bill Barretta performing him, he would obviously be hysterical.

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

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