|The Muppets character|
|First appearance||The Muppet Show|
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Occupation||Assistant scientist, test subject|
During the first season of The Muppet Show, Dr. Honeydew presented the Muppet Labs segments by himself; Beaker was added as his lab assistant from the second season on. Beaker has bulging eyes, a shock of red hair, and a drawbridge mouth. He was originally puppeteered and voiced by Richard Hunt until Hunt's death in 1992, when the role was taken over primarily by Steve Whitmire.
Beaker is a magnet for disaster; he routinely suffers mishaps such as being blown up, electrocuted, eaten by large monsters, or afflicted with bizarre side effects from Dr. Honeydew's experiments. Beaker communicates in a nervous, high-pitched squeak that sounds like "Mee-mee-mee mee". In books and merchandise, the sound is spelled "Meep". In The Muppet Movie he appeared to say something other than "mee" or "meep" (he "meeps" Honeydew's previous line "sadly temporary"). His tone or expression helps to communicate his meaning. "Meep" and "mee" are pronounced to rhyme with "beep" and "bee", respectively.
Beaker rapidly became a favorite with audiences, who both sympathized with and enjoyed laughing at his humorous sufferings. Occasionally, Beaker was able to take revenge, particularly a segment in which he inadvertently made several copies of himself and spent the rest of the episode chasing Dr. Honeydew around the theater. In the 2008 TV special, A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa, Beaker is even more fortunate when he tests a wish machine and gets the company of model Petra Němcová, and not only refuses Honeydew's order to send her back, but then also successfully teleports away with her to apparently enjoy his first wish for the rest of the story...
Beaker has also appeared as a musical performer, amazingly singing "Danny Boy" and "Carol of the Bells" with the Swedish Chef and Animal, and "Feelings" solo. He also sang "Ode to Joy" with his clones who were accidentally formed by Dr. Honeydew's copying machine, and Beaker has also performed "Habanera (aria)" with the Swedish Chef, and Animal, in which Swedish Chef appears to swallow Beaker in the end, maintaining the tradition of Beaker's comedic mishaps. The "Danny Boy" performance was marked by the Chef's singing in his trademark gibberish and Animal's inability to remember anything but the first three words. For "Feelings," Animal had to shush the increasingly unruly crowd (who abused the Muppets throughout the episode) so Beaker could finish: "QUIET!!...Thank you." In the 2011 film The Muppets, Beaker sang a comedic a cappella version of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" as part of a barbershop quartet with Sam the Eagle, Rowlf the Dog and Link Hogthrob. Because of Disney's designation of the Muppets franchise as being for family audiences, Beaker was given a crucial role replacing the song's more questionable lines like "a mulatto" and "my libido" with "mee-mee-mee-mo."
The two scientists were later incorporated into the Muppet Babies animated series. Howie Mandel (during early seasons) and Dave Coulier voiced Bunsen, and Frank Welker provided Beaker's squeaky meeps. Beaker was performed by Kevin Clash in The Muppet Show Live. An animated Beaker was also voiced by Richard Hunt, his usual performer during that period, when he appeared in the short lived Little Muppet Monsters series.
In popular culture
In "Eureka (U.S. TV series)" Season 5 Episode In Too Deep, Zane Donovan slips something into Larry Haberman's coffee as a "Feynman Day" prank that makes him talk in a high-pitched squeak. Zane tells Larry, "Don't worry, you'll un-Beaker in a day or two...three, tops."
In "Archer" Season 5, when Cyril Figgis is flashbanged by the FBI, he mimics Beaker's meep sound.
In Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Ace mimics Beaker's meep sound.
In Family Guy episode "Jungle Love", Peter Griffin says his new job in the brewery is worse than when he was Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's assistant. As described in a cutaway, Peter looks like Beaker with his trademark meeps. Honeydew chuckles and replies, "Agreed, Peter". And in the newer episode, "Brian's Play", in a cutaway where Stewie was the HR director for the Muppets, Stewie tries to fire Beaker after finding evidence he was selling crystal meth to Big Bird.
In a 2004 Internet poll sponsored by the BBC and the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew were voted Britain's favourite cinematic scientists. They beat Mr. Spock, their closest rival, by a margin of two to one and won 33% of the 43,000 votes cast.
Danny Alexander, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Ed Miliband, the current Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition in the United Kingdom, have both been nicknamed 'Beaker' due to their appearance.
On the April 24, 2010 episode of WWE Raw, John Cena said that Sheamus was moonlighting as Beaker from the Muppets with a chip on his shoulder. That same year on the August 30th episode Edge told Sheamus he can go back to the lab with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and started meeping at him. On Halloween 2011's Raw it was revealed Beaker is related to Sheamus after he stopped Christian from bullying Beaker and told Beaker that he wouldn't be able to make the family reunion. Later in the show, Beaker assisted Santino Marella in his match with Jack Swagger by handing him a special energy drink formulated by Dr. Honeydew. Marella took the drink and, realizing how bad it tasted, spat it on Swagger's face, distracting him, and giving him the upper hand.
Beaker (along with Dr. Honeydew) was featured on the #19 Dodge Dealers Dodge of Jeremy Mayfield in the 2002 Tropicana 400 in an advertising campaign in which he and his fellow Muppets were featured on a select few race cars.
The character of Bea in Space Dandy is a mixture of Beaker and Dr. Honeydew.
- Gross, Terri. "The Muppet Fans Who Made 'The Muppets' Movie". Fresh Air. National Public Radio. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
- [dead link]
- Blackhurst, Chris (2 June 2010). "Danny Alexander must remain canny under the City's fierce glare". Evening Standard.
- Schofield, Kevin (31 May 2010). "I'm no Muppet, says rising star". The Sun.
- Barnett, Ruth (31 May 2010). "Alexander: Who Is New 'Minister For Cuts'?". Sky News.
- Gonzales, Garrett (30 August 2010). Fight Game Blog "WWE RAW 900th Episode – Cena/Sheamus/Edge/Jericho/Orton Vs. Nexus". Fight Game Blog.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Muppets.|