The Muppets, the puppet show originally launched in the 1970s, is experiencing an online comeback with the popularity of a spoof music video cover of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Since being placed on the new Muppets Studio YouTube channel on November 23, the video has had over 11 million views. The parody is part of a deliberate attempt to reboot the Muppets franchise for an online generation, backed up by a Twitter feed and a Facebook fan page.
The music video opens with Gonzo and his chickens appear in silhouette; Rowlf plays piano; Beaker supplies his normal “meep-meep-meep-meep”; Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem rock out. Animal bangs on the drums and gets to channel Freddie Mercury, singing “Mama!” He repeats it instead of singing the full, child-unfriendly line “Mama just killed a man/ Put a gun against his head/ Pulled my trigger/ Now he’s dead.” Look out for Gonzo, Camilla and the Chickens, Rowlf, Animal, Pepe the King Prawn, Monsters, Bean Bunny, Beaker, Bobo the Bear, The Penguins, Dr. Bunsen, Honeydew, Mahna Mahna, The Snowths, Lew Zealand, Beauregard, Crazy Harry, Fozzie Bear, Statler and Waldorf, Sam the American Eagle, the Swedish Chef, the Turkey, Electric Mayhem, Floyd, Teeth, Zoot, Janice, Dr Julius Strangepork, The Newsman, Sal Minella, Johnny Fiama, Miss Piggy, Scooter, and Kermit the Frog.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Muppets Studio general manager Lylle Breier said the online push for the Muppets was designed to help reboot the franchise and quickly get new content to fans. Breier said the Muppets singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” had long been an idea on the back burner, but the project only recently came together.
“When the Muppets came into real popularity was the ’70s. What was popular in the ’70s? Variety shows — that’s what `The Muppet Show’ was. What’s the Web? It’s a giant variety show. That’s why the Muppets fit so perfectly. Parody has always been at the heart of what the Muppets do.”
Download the video in Quicktime online at iTunes:
The Queen Version
The Original Queen music video, released in 1973 to promote the Night at the Opera album, was directed by Bruce Gowers, with cameraman Barry Dodd and assistant director/floor manager Jim McCutcheon. The video provided an alternative to what would have been the usual studio appearance of the band lip synching their own song. Gowers went on to direct many more music videos for Queen, Rod Stewart, Genesis, Michael Jackson and Prince and is currently director of the live episodes of American Idol. See the remastered video online at YouTube.