Friday, November 18, 2011

What Ever Happened to Baby Skeeter?

As Muppet Babies was being worked into a children's cartoon show, the creators encountered a problem while filling out their cast.  They would use the original six babies who appeared in The Muppets Take Manhattan with the addition of Animal because of his popularity.  Baby Bunsen and Baby Beaker would appear occasionally, but they were not as well developed as the rest of the cast so it was decided to use them sparingly.  However, the only female character was Piggy, who would be a terrible role model for any little girls in the audience.

An additional female would have to be added, but the original lineup from The Muppet Show did not offer great options.  There was Camilla... who was just a chicken.  The singer Wanda would only really work with her partner Wayne.  Annie Sue, Miss Piggy's rival, could provide some interesting dynamics...but then there would be two nearly identical female pigs on the show.  Hilda, the costume lady, was too old.  We're already at the fourth name and many of you are probably still wondering who Camilla is.

Things must be bad when we have to resort to Mildred Huxtetter as a viable option.

"What about Janice?!" millions of you are screaming right now.  Eh, they tried Baby Janice for one episode.  Her slow, deep voice just sounded creepy coming out of a little girl.  She worked better in the "Muppet Kids" series of books where she could be seen and not heard.

Also, for some reason, she was the oldest of all the babies.

Turning to the casts of Sesame Street or Fraggle Rock for their girls would have just created too much confusion so it was decided that an original character was the way to go.  After taking a long hard look at the established line-up, it was decided that there should be two Scooters, one with longer hair.

And thus Skeeter was born!

Brand new, yet eerily familiar.

Skeeter was perfect for the writers because she could be crafted to fit the gap in the personality diversity department.  They were stuck with the characteristics of the main seven characters because no one would take the show seriously if Kermit didn't act like Kermit.  While Piggy was the girly-girl with a hot temper, Skeeter could be her foil, a tomboy with an appetite for competition.  Piggy could no longer boss everyone around when Skeeter was present.  Also, to make her separate from her twin brother, Scooter's weak and nerdy tendencies were amped up to highlight the athletic and energetic Skeeter.  She was welcomed graciously by the young audience (Team Janice supporters, aside).

But while we could easily accept Skeeter as part of the group, her presence raised an important question:

If Muppet Babies takes place in the past, why has she never appeared as an adult with the other Muppets?

Did something happen to her?  Does she just have a bad relationship with her brother?  There is the possibility that Muppet Babies isn't even canon, due to it being based on a fantasy sequence from a movie.  But then, do the Muppets even have a canon?

She at least survived long enough to become a tween.

Numerous explanations have popped up over time.  The official word from Muppet designer Michael Frith was that she had disappeared while exploring the Amazon.  While that sounds epic, it is also a little too convenient.  Another explanation was that she was in the Witness Protection Program.  And for Robot Chicken's morbid hypothesis, check out this clip.

Whatever the case may be, it seemed as if she would never make an official appearance as an adult.  But then suddenly, she resurfaced in the most random of locations: a takeout bag from a Carl's Jr.


Down in the lower left corner of a 1992 bag advertising a line of winter themed fast food Muppet toys, standing next to her brother is Skeeter.  Notice how she is the only spectator looking directly at the camera.  It's as if she knows she's being watched.

This utterly bizarre paper bag was the hottest lead for a long while when she appeared again, three years later, this time in the background of a motivational picture book about love.

And she has a child?!

My personal theory was that she now works as a secret agent for the League of Extraordinary Gentleman.  She travels the world, going on classified missions to spy on enemies, retrieve artifacts, and take down evil corporations.  The Henson Company produced most of it's material in London, so Skeeter could very well be working for the British Secret Service.  It would fit with her persona and her desire for exploration in mysterious countries.  It would also allow the agency to have a connection with the puppet community, which is dreadfully underrepresented in government as of this post.

But this was just a fanciful notion.

Finally, in 2010, after nearly two decades of absence, all questions were answered in the BOOM Comics Muppet Show story arc entitled "Family Reunion."  Although the canonicity of this storyline (heck, even these comic books) are up for debate, at least we have an official resolution to the Skeeter saga.

They finally got her!

SPOILERS AHEAD!  Keep the mystery alive and stop reading now!  But if you're curious to find out what became of Skeeter, read on.

This appearance manages to incorporate all we know about Skeeter's whereabouts for the past few years while continuing to keep her shrouded in mystery.  She arrives at the Muppet Theater looking for a job while she attends college for a degree in archaeology.  She quickly returns to her old ways, teasing her dorky brother and showing up Miss Piggy at every chance.  Eventually, she gets caught up in Fozzie's ruse to convince his mother that he is the assistant of a very secretive detective to impress her.  Skeeter is told to play the role of his girlfriend, but she takes the opportunity to portray the fictional detective "Wormwood Soames" instead.  After the truth is discovered by Ma Bear, Skeeter decides to head back to school, leaving the Muppet Theater behind.

However, it is revealed that Detective Soames not only exists, but Skeeter is his assistant and special agent, and she has gone on many secret missions, each more dangerous than the last.

The true identity of Special Agent X

Looks like my conspiracy theories were right!

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