The Return of ‘?’ – Gonzo’s Plumbing Businesses

Question Mark

Jarrod Fairclough – questionI’ve had control of this site for over a year now, and it’s lead to a lot of amazing events.  It’s lead to me hanging out with the Muppet performers, meeting Kermit and Fozzie, and interviewing Cookie Monster.  But if you haven’t been following this site since its conception almost 7 years ago (wow!) you might not know that I used to be just an average contributor, and not even a regular one!  But in my early days here, I had an article series which was simply called ‘?‘, in which I would ask questions about The Muppets and Sesame Street, and attempt to find an answer by speaking to the people involved.  For example, I once asked why Oscar wore a garbage can lid on his head in illustrated appearances, but never on the actual show itself.  I then contacted Sesame Street illustrator Joe Mathieu for an answer (it was due to Oscar looking like a religious figure otherwise without the hat).

Well, I’ve decided to bring that segment back, and today I’m asking the question:

Why was Gonzo a plumber in The Muppet Movie?


In The Muppet Movie we see what presumes to be the origin story of The Muppets.  Kermit is a normal frog living in the swamp, an ‘every-man’ if you will.  Miss Piggy is trying to find stardom as a model and a beauty queen.  Fozzie is trying his hardest at comedy.  The Electric Mayhem are rocking out.  All of these origins are very similar to the characters they became in The Muppet Show.

And then there’s Gonzo, who we see runs his own plumbing business, which was never mentioned again until the 2011 film The Muppets. Gonzo never shows plumbing interest throughout the original Muppet series, nor in anything else until the Jason Segel film.

Why plumbing?  Why not a stunt man?  Or a chicken farmer?  We know he wanted to go to Bollywood to become a star, but why did he bother creating a plumbing business if he had no interest in dominating it (as he later would)?  Was this a character trait that was intended to show itself more often, or was it just something funny that Muppet Movie writers Jack Burns and Jerry Juhl thought of in the moment?

So, leave it with me folks, and feel free to put in the comments on Facebook your theories as to why this choice was made.



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