Ladies and gentlemen, presenting your 2013 Muppet Madness Champion:
Rowlf the Dog!!
Rowlf has been a perennial fan favorite, appearing in all but one of the past tournaments, and last year solidifying his status as a Muppet To Watch, earning a spot in the 2012 Final Four. And this year, he was the single most supported Muppet character in all but one round of the game, both in the number of unique voters and in overall vote count! No doubt about it, people absolutely love the original Muppet TV star.
It often goes unsaid, but yes, Rowlf was a primetime TV sensation before Kermit the Frog lept onto the scene. He was a regular on The Jimmy Dean show, which ran from 1963-66, and even starred alongside Kermit in the “pitch reel” for Sesame Street (although he never went on to appear on the actual program). It’s been remarked by many in Muppet circles how, as much as Kermit is seen by the world at large as being Jim Henson’s Muppet alter-ego, in a slightly different, yet powerful way, so too is Rowlf. Perhaps it is for these reasons that he attracts such wide-spanning fan support, and has done so for years.
And so, Rowlf, were it to be any character capable of facing off against 31 others – some very highly powered by sentiments very deep, not only of their own doing, but of their performers now gone – we Muppet fans are glad it’s you. Through our votes, we have spoken, and although it was a close and incredible final race, our commentary is clear: you, Rowlf, best embody the history, the humor, and the heart of the Muppets. Through your clever quips, your unique personality, your unforgettable songs, and your simple love, you’ve earned a place in Muppet fan history.
So congratulations, Rowlf; Good Boy!
And to all Muppet fans everywhere who made this game not only possible, but made it so much fun to play and follow its progress, I (Steve) say thank you. Every year this game takes on its own special shape, and becomes an interesting commentary in both nostalgia and, especially nowadays, anticipation for what’s next for our Muppet friends. I appreciate each and every person who voted and provided feedback, who commented here and also through Twitter and Facebook, powering the engine of a simple homegrown idea to have some fun during this time of year, and to show what we Muppet fans are capable of doing when we come together. This game is something truly special, and not only do we all own this experience together, creating it collectively through the fun we have with it, but it is seen by other fans, and Muppet folks, throughout the non-online world, and serves as a symbol of where we fans’ heads and hearts are at with these characters, and perhaps suggests where we’d like to see the Muppets go from here. Personally, what warms my heart the most, regardless of the winner from year to year, is what constantly rings loudest as the statement that always emerges from this game: we want the Muppets to continue. We believe that, taken together, everything that the Muppets are and represent is important to us, and should go on, not only because they are important to us, but because they will, and should be, important to our children, and to the world, if it is to hopefully one day become the “better” place Jim Henson hoped it could be.
Thank you once again, we’ll see you next year for the 2014 Tournament! Until then, please visit and support these and other examples of the very best Muppet fandom on the web:
The Muppet Mindset
The Muppet Wiki