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25 Most Popular Muppet Characters Ranked Worst To Best

It's time to play the music. It's time to light the lights. It's time to rate the Muppets from the worst to the best. 

Launched from the mind of the legendary Jim Henson in the 1950s, the Muppets have provided decades of entertainment for audiences of all ages. Whether they are teaching young kids their ABCs or giving us Borscht Belt-style comedy, these iconic puppets have influenced the world of show business in a major way.

First introduced in the 1955 TV show "Sam and Friends," the Muppets have gone to evolve by matching pop culture step by step, from "Sesame Street," "Saturday Night Live" and "The Muppet Show" to classic cameo-filled films like "The Muppet Movie" and "The Muppet Christmas Carol" to viral video clips, rock videos, talk shows and more.

Fast forward 67 years later, and the Muppets are still going strong. While the number of Muppet characters created during this time is estimated to be more than 3400 strong (and counting), here are the top 25.

25. Boober Fraggle

Unexpectedly, Boober from "Fraggle Rock" has possibly become the most relatable Muppet. He's gloomy, anxious, and a germaphobe, and he would rather stay home and do laundry than go out and risk getting some terrible disease. He's also highly superstitious — because when you're afraid of impending doom around every corner, you need all the luck you can get. Is it possible to select a Muppet as mascot for the 2020's?

Boober is a pessimist in a land filled with optimists. Yet instead of being treated like a pariah, he is welcomed among his fellow Fraggles with open arms and open hearts. His negativity might be irritating at times, but he only has his friends' best interests in mind. Besides, it's a sort of gift to inform everyone of the worst thing that could happen — how else could they properly prepare? "Fraggle Rock" debuted internationally in 1983 and recently received the reboot treatment, with "Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock" premiering on Apple TV in January 2022.

24. Telly Monster

A triangle-loving maroon monster with neurotic tendencies, Telly has undergone many changes since he was first conceived for "Sesame Street." His name originates from Television Monster, and he once had long antennae on his head and swirling eyes that were hypnotically glued to the boob tube. However, this was perceived as an unhealthy example for little ones, so Telly was reimagined without the TV-obsessed personality.

Telly is sensitive and sincere and has an adorable affinity for stuffed animals — his favorite being his monster doll, Freddy. He can often be seen in the company of his best friend, Baby Bear. He loves all creatures great and small, especially his pet hamster, Chuckie Sue. Telly is also an avid admirer of Oscar the Grouch, and a proud member of the Grouchketeers. He's a bit of a worrier at times, but he always has his friends to keep him in good spirits. Oh, and he's a natural musician, too — just check out his tuba skills

23. Rosita Monster

Full name Rosita le Monstrua de las Cuevas, this turquoise bilingual monster originally hails from Mexico. She joined the "Sesame Street" gang in 1991 as a way to help children learn the Spanish language, and to introduce more diversity to the Muppet cast. Rosita is best friends with Prairie Dawn, loves to play the guitar, and is very close with her family.

One of Rosita's primary features is her wings, which she uses to glide in a manner akin to a flying squirrel. Being batlike in nature, her wings were meant to make her distinguishable from other monsters, and were inspired by the meaning of her name: "of the caves." However, her wings were removed in Season 35 of the show, a decision that baffled the character's original performer and designer. In a 2011 interview with Tough Pigs, Rosita revealed that she lost her wings in a bad storm while traveling from her cave with her family. Let's just say that for her, it's a bit of a sensitive subject.

22. Wembley Fraggle

Wembley Fraggle is the wild, wacky one of the group, and can pull off a Hawaiian shirt like nobody's business. He is filled with optimism and energy, which are perfect traits to accentuate his bongo-playing skills. His indecision can be a problem, however, and his fear of conflict causes him to agree with everyone, no matter the circumstance.

Wembley is generous with his time, volunteering for the Fraggle Rock Fire Department (as the siren), and refereeing local hockey games. He is a loyal friend who will go along on any of the group's adventures, whatever the danger. He might seem flighty at times, but apparently, he's somewhat of a secret genius. He even invented Fraggle Rock's first wheel — though he had trouble catching it after it rolled away. With his kind heart and endless enthusiasm, it's easy to see why Wembley is a favorite character for many "Fraggle Rock" fans.

21. Zoe Monster

With her trademark tutu and colorful beaded jewelry, Zoe is the quintessential girly-girl of the "Sesame Street" Muppet cast. She is three years old, loves to dance, and can sometimes be seen zooming around Sesame Street in her Zoemobile. First introduced to the neighborhood in 1993, Zoe came about in response to the rising popularity of her fellow 3-year-old monster, Elmo. She also helped to make up for some subpar representation of female Muppet characters in the series.

When she's not spending time with her pet rock, Rocco (come on, Elmo, just let her have this), Zoe loves practicing ballet in her pink tutu. In spite of Elmo's personal feelings about Rocco, he and Zoe are still the best of friends. Zoe is a monster that little girls all over the world can relate to. She is sweet and kind and has a big imagination, and she can even spell her own name — after all, it is only 3 letters.

20. Sam the Eagle

A symbol of American patriotism (or perhaps in the eyes of some, jingoism), Sam the Eagle takes his role very seriously. Amidst the chaos backstage at "The Muppet Show," Sam tries to bring a little class to the operation. Of course, this almost always backfires, much to his face-palming chagrin. His disapproval of many of the shenanigans on "The Muppet Show" is openly voiced, but mostly ignored. He is an advocate for good, clean, wholesome entertainment, such as the song stylings of Wayne and Wanda. Unfortunately, their performances always end in disaster.

In spite of his reluctance to work with a pack of "weirdos," Sam the Eagle has been featured alongside the other Muppets since the mid-'70s. He has appeared in all of the Muppet feature films, starting with "The Muppet Movie," and most recently in "Muppets Most Wanted." He showed off his acting chops while playing young Ebenezer Scrooge's Headmaster in "A Muppet Christmas Carol," and Samuel Arrow in "Muppet Treasure Island." Whatever the Muppets find themselves doing next, fans can probably bet that Sam will be there to make sure things are up to par.

19. Sweetums

He may look like a hulking, hairy abomination, but Sweetums is just a big softy at heart. He made his first-ever appearance in the 1971 Muppet TV special "The Frog Prince," but most may remember him chasing after the beat-up yellow Studebaker with dreams of Hollywood in 1979's "The Muppet Movie." He would go on to make appearances in many more Muppet productions, including "The Great Muppet Caper," "Muppet Treasure Island," and "Muppets From Space."

Sweetums joined the cast of "The Muppet Show" in 1976, where he could be seen cutting a rug with special guest stars like Nancy Walker, and performing a hilarious rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" with Ruth Buzzi. He also sang a duet with Robin, Kermit's nephew, where together they performed the "Damn Yankees" ditty "Two Lost Souls." He can be seen in the Walt Disney World attraction "Muppet*Vision 3D" as the only live performer. In spite of the 9-foot-tall ogre's imposing presence, the aptly named Sweetums holds a big place in the hearts of Muppet fans.

18. Rizzo the Rat

He's sarcastic, a bit sleazy, and has over 1200 brothers and sisters. Rizzo the Rat first entered the scene in Season 4 of "The Muppet Show," as he and his fellow rodents swarmed the set during Christopher Reeve's hosting duties. He later took on a supporting role in "The Muppets Take Manhattan," where he worked at Pop's Diner and scatted the day away with his rodent pals in the kitchen.

Rizzo's most prominent role was in the classic holiday film "The Muppet Christmas Carol," where he could be seen palling around with author Charles Dickens (played by Gonzo). As Dickens relates the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Rizzo is dragged along on the adventure, often finding himself thrown into harrowing circumstances. After his role in "The Muppet Christmas Carol," he and Gonzo were rarely seen apart. The two were also paired up in "Muppet Treasure Island" and "Muppets From Space."

Sadly, Rizzo seems to have largely retired from the Muppets in recent years (his performer, Steve Whitmire, left in 2017). He does have cameos in "The Muppets" and "Muppets Most Wanted," so hopefully fans will be seeing more of their favorite rat sometime in the future.

17. Mr. Snuffleupagus

Call him Snuffy, or Aloysius, but don't you dare call him imaginary. Mr. Snuffleupagus is famously known as the best friend of Big Bird on "Sesame Street," even though for years the human adults on the show believed he wasn't real. Every time Big Bird would try to introduce Snuffleupagus to his grown-up friends, Snuffy would suddenly be called away on urgent business. This led the adults to believe that Mr. Snuffleupagus was just a figment of Big Bird's imagination — until finally, in Season 17's Episode 2096, everyone was able to see Snuffy for the first time. This led to apologies all around on behalf of Sesame Street's grown-up human residents, who felt bad about not believing Big Bird's insistence that Snuffleupagus was legit.

In the years following the reveal of Mr. Snuffleupagus's true existence, "Sesame Street" introduced viewers to the various members of the Snuffleupagus family. There was Snuffy's little sister, Alice, his Mommy and Daddy, Aunt and Uncle, Granny, cousin Abigail, and cousin Senor Esnofelopago from Puerto Rico. With his big hairy trunk and impossibly long eyelashes, Snuffy is one of the most adorable residents of "Sesame Street" — and as you can tell just by looking at him, he gives the best hugs.

Fun fact: Mr. Snuffleupagus only follows one person on Twitter: Big Bird. Which means, after all those years of Big Bird being the only one that could see him, he has now returned the favor.

16. Statler and Waldorf

Everyone's a critic, but no one can roast quite as hard as the resident hecklers on "The Muppet Show," Statler and Waldorf. High from their balcony, the two elderly audience members never miss a performance — as they say, it's like a kind of torture to have to watch the show. 

For two people who hate the Muppets' work so much, they sure seem to be having a blast throwing shade at the cast. They are particularly adept at ruining Fozzie Bear's standup routine, much to the latter's devastation. In most episodes of "The Muppet Show," these oldies-but-goodies got the last laugh with a final post-credits one-liner.

On a few occasions, Statler and Waldorf have left the confines of their balcony box to visit backstage, or even perform for the audience themselves. These fan favorites have also been featured in several Muppet films, playing the Marley brothers (Jacob and Robert) in "The Muppet Christmas Carol" who visit Scrooge (Michael Caine) as ghosts to warn him to change his ways. 

Though very little is known about their history or personal lives, Waldorf's wife, Astoria (who looks remarkably like Statler), once attended "The Muppet Show" with her husband in Statler's place. A very interesting fan theory about the pair went viral on Twitter in March 2021, but fans will have to imagine for themselves what the true history of their relationship entails.  

15. Count von Count

The Count may be number 15 on the list (ah ah ah!), but that doesn't diminish his value in the slightest. This number-loving purple Muppet bears a strong resemblance to Bela Lugosi's Count Dracula, but it's been established many times by the Children's Television Workshop and the Jim Henson Company that he is not a vampire. Instead of thirsting for blood, Count has only ever been thirsty for numerals, and the counting thereof. Incidentally, this has led to one of the most amazing Twitter accounts of all time.

Count von Count made his debut on Season 4 of "Sesame Street" in 1972, alongside Bert and Ernie. His familiar cackle and love of counting would become his most notable attributes, and his joy of numbers is downright infectious. He is a talented musician as well, known for playing the violin and the organ. The Count's most popular song — "The Song of the Count" — was revived in the public eye after a 2008 YouTube video, "The Count Censored," went viral online.

14. Beaker

A Muppet of very few words, Beaker is the lab assistant of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew — and the guinea pig for his mad scientific experiments. He first appeared in the second season of "The Muppet Show" during a Muppet Labs sketch. In these segments, Beaker has been the victim of explosions, electrocutions, and other various experiments gone awry. It's no wonder he has such an anxious disposition; nevertheless, he has continued to be Honeydew's faithful assistant through the years.

In 2008, the Muppets posted a series of videos on YouTube that reached viral status. Beaker himself was the star of several of those videos, one of which even earned him a 2009 Webby Award. The video, titled "Ode to Joy," showcased Beaker's musical talent as he performed six different parts of Beethoven's classic 9th symphony. A video was also released of Beaker covering the classic rock hit "Dust in the Wind," in which the Muppet is literally accosted by the YouTube comments section. Poor Beaker just can't seem to catch a break, but that doesn't mean fans love him any less.

13. Oscar the Grouch

A curmudgeon who lives in a trash can, Oscar the Grouch has been a staple of "Sesame Street" since the very beginning. His sole purpose in life is to be miserable, and to make others the same. He does indulge in a few joys, however — namely his love of trash, and his pet worm, Slimy. In spite of his crabby attitude, Oscar does have a following of superfans named the Grouchketeers, headed by his biggest fan, Telly Monster. He doesn't have to be happy about it, though.

Like many of his fellow "Sesame Street" pals, Oscar has undergone a distinct evolution over the years. In the early days of "Sesame Street," Oscar's fur was colored bright orange, but later changed to green in order to look better on camera. In the film "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland," it is established that there is a door within the depths of Oscar's trash can. This door leads to an entire world filled with mountains of trash and Grouches. Against his nature, Oscar rallies the Grouch population to rescue Elmo against the evil Huxley (Mandy Patinkin). Oscar may be a Grouch, but he is also a good friend when one is needed.

12. Rowlf the Dog

A master pianist and pun enthusiast, Rowlf the Dog has the honor of being the very first Muppet to make it on network television. He first appeared in commercials for Purina Dog Chow, and later as a regular sidekick on "The Jimmy Dean Show." He went on to perform in variety shows such as "Our Place" and "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1966 and 1967, respectively.

Rowlf appeared in the pitch reel for "Sesame Street" alongside Kermit, and was part of the "Muppet Show" pitch, where he would go on to be featured prominently. His main skills involve singing and playing the piano (his song from "The Muppet movie" is a classic), as well as starring as Dr. Bob in "Veterinarian's Hospital." Rowlf was a member of the Muppet Orchestra on "The Muppet Show," and also filled in as a temporary member of Electric Mayhem from time to time. As a talented musician and witty jokester, Rowlf is as cool as they come.

11. The Swedish Chef

Long before Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri, this master culinarian without a clue — or a translator — was cooking up some of the most memorable moments in Muppet history. Slinging hash and singing who-knows-what, the Swedish Chef has shared a variety of very creative dishes. During his segment on "The Muppet Show," Chef has demonstrated his unorthodox cooking methods for recipes such as chocolate mousse, tossed salad, and "chickie in der baskie" — all of which can be found in this YouTube compilation.

Besides showing off his skills in the kitchen, the Swedish Chef has also performed his fair share of musical acts. In 2010, he could be seen in the YouTube viral video "Pöpcørn," which had him making the salty snack while dancing along to the instrumental tune "Pop Corn" by Hot Butter. He also joined in a special performance of "Habenera," from the classical opera "Carmen," with fellow Muppets Beaker and Animal. Though fans may have no clue what the Chef is saying most of the time (heck, all of the time), food is universal, and so are the laughs this beloved Muppet stirs up. 

10. Big Bird

An inquisitive, eight-foot-tall bird with a wondrous view of the world, Big Bird has been a staple of "Sesame Street" since the show's premiere in 1969. He's perpetually six years old, and he loves to sing, roller skate, and cuddle with his favorite teddy bear, Radar. His best friend is Mr. Snuffleupagus, but he is also close with all the residents of Sesame Street. Like many 6-year-olds, he is curious about a lot of things, and is always asking the big, important questions. With such attributes, Big Bird is the perfect surrogate stand-in for his preschool-age audience.

One of Big Bird's most memorable moments occurred in Episode 1839 of the show, which addressed the real-life passing of beloved shopkeeper Mr. Hooper (Will Lee). The landmark, emotional episode taught Big Bird about death, and how to deal with loss and grief — and in the process, did the same for a generation of youngsters watching at home. 

After receiving a great cameo in "The Muppet Movie," Big Bird became the star of 1985's "Follow That Bird," the first "Sesame Street" film to get a theatrical release. The film showed Big Bird on a harrowing journey to return to Sesame Street after he was placed in the foster home of the Dodo family. To this day, Big Bird remains one of the most recognizable members of "Sesame Street," beloved by children and adults.

9. Cookie Monster

This blue, furry monster with a big appetite and trademark googly eyes has been a favorite of "Sesame Street" fans since his debut in Episode 518. Cookie Monster's affinity for eating everything in sight eventually transpired to a love of circular baked goods, earning him his name. Cookie's signature song, "C is for Cookie," is perhaps the most famous tune in all of "Sesame Street." He is also famed for hosting the regular segment, "Monsterpiece Theater," as Alistair Cookie. 

Because of his love for eating cookies, parents watching the show became fearful that Cookie was setting a bad example for their kids. To compensate, Season 36 of "Sesame Street" introduced the concept of Cookie adding healthy food to his diet, including fruits and veggies. In 2005, "The Today Show" host Matt Lauer made an appearance to confront Cookie about his new eating habits, suggesting that the monster was giving up his favorite snack for good. Cookie denied this allegation, stating "Me still like cookies, but me eat other things, too." In spite of the media storm, Cookie has remained an avid lover of baked goods, as well as healthy snacks.

8. Fozzie Bear

He's a stand-up comedian with jokes that will make even your dad groan, but Fozzie Bear's determination and unshakable optimism are just plain inspiring. He's been a regular on "The Muppet Show" since the beginning, and despite frequently bombing on stage, Fozzie gets back up there every night and does it all over again. He's perpetually at odds with Statler and Waldorf, who delight in heckling his act, but occasionally he gives as good as he gets. Fozzie constantly approaches Kermit to pitch his ideas for the show, which either go ignored or end in catastrophe.

"The Muppet Movie" tells the story of how Kermit and Fozzie met and formed an unlikely friendship. While performing at a seedy cafe, Fozzie convinced Kermit to let him tag along on a roadtrip to Hollywood, where they hoped to break out into showbiz. The partnership between the two has been an icon of the Muppet franchise, even if they tend to be at odds with one another from time to time.

7. Miss Piggy

A fabulous star and icon of femininity, Miss Piggy is a legend in her own right. Her confidence is unshakeable, as is a love for her sweet frog prince Kermit (aka "Kermie"). Sure, she can be a bit of a handful, but it's only because she knows better than anyone what she's worth.

Miss Piggy was heavily featured in "The Muppet Show," performing glamorous musical acts either solo or in a group. She could regularly be seen in sketches such as "Veterinarian's Hospital" and "Pigs in Space." Though she loves her froggy beau, Piggy would often get frustrated with Kermit's lack of appreciation, resulting in her demonstrating her trademark karate chop.

Miss Piggy has had prominent roles in nearly every feature film in the Muppet franchise. As a fashion and style icon, Piggy exudes high self-esteem (and perhaps just a smidge of vanity) that any female would wish to aspire to. Just make sure you don't get in her spotlight.

6. Animal

Dave Grohl? Neil Peart? John Bonham? Phil Collins? Amateurs.

Nobody can slap the skins quite like Animal, the longtime drummer for Electric Mayhem. The trouble is getting him to stop. Known for his wild antics and guttural speech, Animal is the quintessential Muppet rockstar. When he's not beating the drums (or eating them), he's creating havoc wherever he goes — so much so that he has to be chained up to keep him under control. But hey, the same was often true of Keith Moon.

One of Animal's most famous moments on "The Muppet Show" includes a drum battle with the legendary Buddy Rich. Unfortunately for Buddy, Animal is not a graceful loser. Animal also provided accompaniment for Rita Moreno, as she sang the song "Fever." Rita didn't quite appreciate Animal's flair for improv, however, as she smashed his head between two cymbals. Animal didn't seem to mind, though, declaring, "That my kind of woman!"

Not only is Animal a drummer and a popular favorite in the Muppet franchise, but he also is a snowboarding enthusiast. In 1998, he became the official mascot of the U.S. snowboarding team. Snowboarding was still very new to the Olympics at the time, and Animal was considered the perfect spokesperson for the sport. 

5. Grover

Grover is a lovable, furry old monster that has been a favorite of "Sesame Street" fans for multiple generations. Whether he's bumbling his way through waiting tables or traversing the skies as Super Grover, this Muppet has a way of making children of all ages smile. Grover has a big imagination and an even bigger heart, and even if he messes up now and again, he'll never stop trying.

In "Sesame Street," Grover could often be seen alongside Kermit the Frog, either aiding him during one of his educational presentations or trying to sell Kermit some fantastic (and often useless) new product. His waiter sketches might be the most beloved recurring sketches on "Sesame Street," and if so a close second could be "Super Grover." Outside of the TV series, one of Grover's biggest achievements is being the star of one of the greatest (and perhaps best selling) "Sesame Street" books of all time, "The Monster at the End of This Book." The book sold two million copies within the first year of its publication, and has since spawned a number of reissues, sequels and interactive experiences.

4. Gonzo the Great

A true artist with a flair for the avant-garde, there is no one quite like Gonzo — thank goodness. His career began on "The Muppet Show," where he gave memorable performances like eating a tire to the tune of "Flight of the Bumblebee" and wrestling a six-pound red brick while blindfolded (both of which can be seen in this YouTube compilation). Though most of his acts resulted in him getting booed off the stage, Gonzo would not be discouraged, instead coming up with more new, exciting daredevil stunts.

For many years, Gonzo's origins were a mystery, as his appearance gives no clue to his species. He has been identified as a "Weirdo" and "Whatever" by fellow cast members. In the 1999 film "Muppets From Space" it was suggested that Gonzo is an alien. However, following the movie's release, it seems that Gonzo has reverted back to his status of being a "Whatever." As for his romantic life, Gonzo once professed his love for Miss Piggy on "The Muppet Show," but his feelings were unrequited. Not to worry, though — he has been in a happy relationship with Camilla the Chicken since 1979.

3. Bert and Ernie

Like Statler and Waldorf on this list, Bert and Ernie deserve a place together rather than apart, as it just seems wrong to split them up. The ultimate Muppet odd couple, Ernie and Bert couldn't be any more different. Where Ernie is an outgoing jokester with an affinity for bubble baths, Bert would rather count the paper clips in his collection and read a good book. Yet their friendship has endured throughout the ages, proving once again that opposites attract.

Ernie has a habit of getting on Bert's last nerve, usually by interrupting his studious pastimes with ridiculous games that Bert wants no part of. On the rare occasion that Bert does decide to join in the fun, he more often than not falls victim to Ernie's trolling. Nevertheless, the two have been roommates for decades now, and it looks like they plan to stay that way. Though the nature of their relationship has often been called into question, the official statement from "Sesame Street" is that Bert and Ernie are just good friends.

2. Elmo

Coming in at Number 2 on the list is everyone's favorite cute, furry, red monster, Elmo. Elmo has been with "Sesame Street" since 1980, but he didn't truly find his voice until years later. Elmo went from a minor monster character who barely spoke to a lovable, huggable sensation that was loved by children everywhere. He's energetic, adorable, and simply unforgettable.

In the early 1990s, Elmo's popularity soared. He received his own half-hour spot on "Sesame Street," along with a huge home video franchise. The release of the "Tickle Me Elmo" toy in 1996 created a massive sales wave, and in 1999 Elmo was given his very own "Sesame Street" movie, "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland."

Most recently, Elmo has returned to the spotlight, as videos depicting his hatred for Rocco the rock have become a viral trend. He hosts the "Not-So-Late Show" on HBO Max, and clips of his guest spots on light-night television have also been making the rounds, such as "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" and the Australian variety series, "Rove."

1. Kermit the Frog

Who else could earn the number 1 spot on the list other than the frog himself? Kermit is a showman, a leader, and somehow manages to keep his cool (most of the time) with whatever comes his way. It's not easy being green, but he pulls it off splendidly.

Kermit the Frog made his television debut in 1955 on the show "Sam and Friends." At that time, he was just an abstract, lizard-like creature. It wasn't until the 1971 TV special "The Frog Prince" that his frog status was made official. He went on to join the Muppet cast of "Sesame Street," often as a reporter for "Sesame Street News." Yet it was his hosting duties on "The Muppet Show" that earned him true acclaim. But of course, real fans know that he's the best Muppet simply because he's the one in "Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas."

For decades, Kermit has remained the driving force behind the Muppets. He has starred in nearly every Muppet movie and television special, or at least played a prominent role. His trademark songs "It's Not Easy Bein' Green" and "The Rainbow Connection" have been present in the hearts and minds of fans over generations. No matter how many years go by, Kermit has always been the face of the Muppets, and will continue to be so for as long as there are Muppets to entertain us.