Jarrod Fairclough – Ah, YouTube. The home of cats playing piano, people getting hit in the crotch with baseballs, and a whole heap of Muppet stuff. But it’s got me thinking – what are the most viewed Muppet videos on YouTube? I bet they’re all super well known and popular! So I typed in seven different Muppety/Hensony search terms, filtered by Most Views, and now I present my list to you:
The Muppets – 110,870,386 views at time of writing.
Unsurprisingly, the most viewed Muppet video is a fan’s upload of that classic, Mahna Mahna. There’s a reason the song is synonymous with The Muppets – it’s exactly what The Muppets strive to be. It’s fun, funny, catchy, zany and silly all in one. In fact, you may not know this, but Mahna Mahna was the very first sketch on The Muppet Show! They knew it was a winner, because this was actually the fifth time Jim Henson had performed the number, the first being on episode 14 of Sesame Street. According to Muppet Wiki, some variation of the song has been performed 26 times since 1969, when Caroll Spinney introduced it to Jim.
Sesame Street – 1,183,524,306 views at time of writing.
This one surprised me the most of any of these, both in terms of content and view count – this is Shake Shake The Mango Tree, sung by a young Ugandan girl and a group of children, which has been seen well over a billion times. I was expecting some sort of character video to be number one – something like the popular Mystery Box sketch, or ‘I Don’t Want To Visit The Moon’. But instead we get a cute little number, a call and response type song, which was filmed by the non-profit group Fount of Mercy! But why has it had over a billion views? Multiple people have given me the hypothesis that perhaps it’s a well known song in African culture? If you have any idea, let me know!
Fraggle Rock – 5,347,478 views at time of writing
I had expected the Fraggle Rock theme song to be number one, but I wasn’t expecting it to be in Spanish. The show was built to have international reach, to the point where Doc was different depending on which country you were in. But this version of the song proves just why this show could work like that – even in Spanish, this song is a banger! I don’t speak Spanish past ‘donde esta el biblioteca‘ and granted I know the words in English, but this song still had the feel of the version I’m familiar with. And I’m glad so many people who speak Spanish love this song as much as I do.
Muppet Babies – 19,352,880 views at time of writing.
In the same vein, typing Muppet Babies in brings up the Spanish version of the rebooted series’ opening theme song. And it’s pretty darn catchy! These characters have a world wide appeal, and doing this exercise has really proved that. I’m often surprised just running this website the diversity of countries we’re seen in. Sure, most of our clicks come from the U.S, Canada, U.K and Australia. But we have people reading us from Israel, Slovakia, Jordan and Lithuania. The Muppets are a universally loved piece of media, and I’m thrilled I get to be a small footnote in their history.
The Jim Henson Company – 240,928,942 views at time of writing.
I’m only kind of familiar with Sid the Science Kid, in that I could have told you his name and that he’s voiced by Drew Massey. I also could have told you that the movement of these CGI puppet hybrids is terrifyingly realistic! Seriously, they’re too fluid for CGI characters, they have that rare ability to drop into the uncanny valley, but still look totally fake, if that makes sense? It’s like a person in a costume, but a cartoon. I know it was done with motion capture, but still… Anyway, this song is catchy and fun, and it seems like the type of thing that would come up on the YouTube Kids app, so I guess that’s why it’s getting so many views. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to gouge my eyes out.
Labyrinth – 9,012,192 views at time of writing.
Okay, so this one I technically cheated a little. Typing in Labyrinth will get you a video clip to a song called Beneath Your Beautiful (not a spelling error). So I typed in ‘Labyrinth Henson’, and we got Jareth singing Magic Dance. God, is there anything more 80’s than Labyrinth? David Bowie is in full swing here, singing a synthesized power ballad, giant crotch and all, with a swarm of goblins all about magic. If that’s not a drug fueled dream someone had in the early 80’s I’d be surprised. David Bowie was a legend, and while I appreciate Labyrinth for what it is, I have to wonder if it would have become the cult classic it did without his performance. Vale, Mr Bowie, your talents are missed.
Dark Crystal – 5,971,955 views at time of writing.
Finally, I typed in Dark Crystal, and I wasn’t surprised to find it related to last year’s prequel series, Age of Resistance. This teaser trailer for the show did exactly what it needed to do – it showed just how gorgeous this show is. The puppets, the puppetry, the sets, the visual effects. All of it worked together to bring us a series that people are still talking about now, 5 months after its release. There is still no word on whether it will return for a second season, but it topped a lot of Best Of 2019 lists last month, so we’d hope it would come back in some capacity. Until then you can rewatch the series on Netflix, and watch the trailer above to add your number to the list!