It’s Time To Play The Music

Day 5 - It's Time To Start The Music Animal From The Muppets Playing the Drums

Though one of the most memorable movie experiences of my childhood was probably getting to see Star Wars at the drive-in, a close second came in the form of The Muppet Movie. The Muppet Show had been on television for just about three years, and I was thrilled to see the characters make their big screen debut in 1979. Though Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy were the touted stars of the show, of course, I was most taken by the bizarre music group known as Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem featuring Dr. Teeth (of course), Janice, Floyd Pepper, Zoot and my absolute favorite which I’ve quickly doodlewashed here: Animal. He’s the frenzied, frenetic drummer who talks like a cave man and is truly one of the more bizarre characters to ever appear on a children’s show. Frank Oz, who created the voice of Animal, has stated that his character can be summed up in five words: sex, sleep, food, drums, and pain. Yep, that about sums it up and catapults him to the ranks of the strangest childhood character ever.

The thing I loved most about The Muppets was the surreal sense of humor and jokes that were simply funny for everyone watching. Unlike other children’s characters, I never felt like they were talking down to me, as if I were stupid. It was good silly fun with jokes that were actually clever if you could understand them. I could, and so I thought it was brilliant! It was like they understood me and realized that I wasn’t a baby, just a little kid who liked to laugh. But the best part of the movies was that they were musicals! Each one had a fabulous soundtrack to accompany it and I can remember locking myself in my room to learn each song. There, I also learned to do a rather convincing Kermit the Frog impersonation, while belting out his Rainbow Connection to nobody in particular. But the reckless abandon of Animal was definitely the most fun. He was so into his music that it made him utterly mad.

Seeing the reboot of The Muppet Movie a few years ago, I was thrilled once again. These were all the characters that grew up with me going through their own mid-life crisis. It was strangely comforting to see that they were still trying to figure out what they wanted to be when they grew up. Surprisingly, my interest in Animal never led me to wanting to play the drums. I loved melodies more than rhythm so I ended up playing the piano and violin and much later, actually singing professionally. Well, I got paid at least, so I guess that counts. But I still have a fondness for The Muppets and the wonderful songs they sang that were always about happiness and hope. And sometimes, when I’m down and I’m certain nobody is looking, I’ll still sing the last line from the Rainbow Connection in my best Kermit voice: “Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me.”

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Indian Yellow, Dioxazine Purple, Sennelier Red, Red Orange, Opera Rose, Quinacridone Gold, Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
Day 5 - It's Time To Start The Music Animal From The Muppets Playing the Drums
Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
28 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 months ago

    I vaguely remember the movie but your article brings back some of it. The painting is wonderful as I suspect you’ve captured Animal’s zaniness. The Muppets entered TV land when I was in college and didn’t have a TV, so I didn’t sit in front of Bert and Ernie and barely knew who they were. By the time we had kids, The Muppets were a legacy unto themselves. I guess my sons watched. We enjoyed Fraggle Rock, a show intended for older kids but engaging for their parents as well.

    Funny because my older son just told me that he and his brother turned on the TV as soon as they got home from school. I guess that’s why they never seemed to have their homework done when I finally got home from work a few hours later. I was always a bit irritated with their teachers for assigning so much every night. I guess I was easy to bamboozle – probably still am. No wonder Animal had so much to screech about.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I was curious to know how many Muppet fans might be out there! And this was a bit of a departure from what I normally do. hehe Fraggle Rock was fun!! I loved that as well. And yeah… I was guilty of leaving my homework to the last minute as well. 😊Those TV characters were just too enticing!! Lol

  2. Curious to the Max 6 months ago

    Charlie O!!! You must practice doing more portraits as that looks nothing like you. (gotta run, so I’ll read your post later . . .)

  3. memadtwo 6 months ago

    Well this is a tour de force! Wow, all the detail is amazing!
    The original Sesame Street definitely had its subversive side. And why not? As you say, it hit the high points for both adults and children with a smile. (K)

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 Glad ya liked this one… it was fun to do, albeit a bit crazy. Yeah, I liked all the adult things they jabbed into it. I’m sure it made it way more fun for the writers to work on!

  4. Laura (PA Pict) 6 months ago

    Wonderful detail and you’ve definitely captured Animal’s frenetic energy. I’m a big Muppets fan so I’m delighted with the subject of this post.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 Yay! Another fan! This post has been fun to see how many people actually know who they are (Philippe didn’t as they never arrived in France when he was growing up). Glad ya liked this!

  5. Carol 6 months ago

    Charlie, you never cease to amaze me. A singer? Is there anything you can’t do? I believe in that movie Kermit rode a bike which I found intriguing. I’ve always been fond of the Swedish Chef, but Animal was certainly quite entertaining. About that rainbow connection – I think you’ve built a strong foundation for your own version, and each Doodlewasher is a part of it 💖

    • Author

      Awww that’s such a sweet comment! Thank you so much for that, Carol!! 😊😃💕 And yes! The Swedish Chef is definitely high on the list! So much fun. Yep… I was a musical theatre performer during and shortly after college in order to pay for school, while also working as a real estate agent’s assistant! Lol I got my real estate license at the time, but never really used it. That wasn’t as fun for me.

  6. Nand Kishor Lodhi 6 months ago

    Really unending memories from childhood…… Nice blog..

  7. confabler 6 months ago

    I have not seen the muppets in my childhood but the painting is gorgeous😃. I feel like I could start carefree happy dancing if it had any sound.

    • Author

      Excellent! hehe! Then it served it’s intended purpose. Thanks! 😃💕 The Muppets are so fun though… definitely worth checking out even as an adult!

  8. Animal was one of the best’ crazy, mad…you have caught his character so well, smashing those drums, shaking his head all over the place. Go animal!

  9. Jodi 6 months ago

    wow – that is an amazing doodlewash charlie o! and that last line of you singing kermit’s song gave me a lump in my throat – especially after this difficult week for me. <3

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Jodi! 😃💕 Awww my sweet friend… I’m still sending you so many hugs. Thinking of you❤️

      • Jodi 6 months ago

        😌

  10. Susan Feniak 6 months ago

    I am still smiling

  11. Jacob 6 months ago

    Well I must confess I’m not terribly familiar with Animal – I know! Sorry! – but it’s a fabulous doodlewash, and certainly gives me a good idea of his character! I didn’t catch that much Muppetry when I was a kid besides my sister’s obsession with Elmo, but I have heard Kermit’s rendition of Rainbow Connection somewhere, only once but it’s stuck in the memory – aw, so moving!

    • Author

      Thanks, Jacob! 😃💕 You know what comes next of course… get thee to the web and watch a video!! hehe… The Muppets are so much fun. I think I just happened to be the exact right age to really get into them though.

      • Jacob 6 months ago

        Haha, yes sir! Well, it just so happens that over Christmas we found our way to The Jim Henson Hour, in a fit of Chrismassy nostalgia (boredom). Back in the day, it aired immediately before The Crystal Maze; I mostly only caught the ends myself, and just remember the theme as a prelude to the real excitement!

        There is one episode that’s a behind the scenes look at Muppets – quite a fun watch, actually, perhaps moreso if you know the cast!

        And I was reminded, as if it were needed, just how adorable Kermit is. Have you doodlewashed Kermit yet? I think Animal needs a friend! 😉

      • Author

        Awww cool! That’s awesome!! And nope… haven’t done Kermit yet… at least in doodlewash form. I still have my awesome impersonation though! 😉Lol

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