Wednesday, August 13, 2014

E Is for Eric the Parrot

There are surprisingly few Muppets whose names begin with "e," unless I want to tackle some of the bigger name Muppets, like Elmo or Ernie. ("Ernie" was my first word.) But I wanted to talk about this guy, whom probably no one remembers, because he had a role in one of my favorite episodes of The Muppet Show. Actually, two.

The first one was one of the entire series' best episodes: the second season episode starring John Cleese.

There's Eric in his first appearance, as pirate John Cleese attempts to take over the Swinetrek in a "Pigs in Space" sketch (which you can see here). I figure that's where the name Eric must have come from--as a Monty Python reference to the "Eric the Half-a-Bee" sketch--but I can't find any definite confirmation of that. There's a great moment in that sketch where Cleese directly references the classic "Dead Parrot" sketch by asking the mouthy bird: "How would you like to be an ex-parrot?" I love the interplay between Cleese and Jerry Nelson as Eric. "Belabor the punchline!" "We already did that!"

Eric appeared in the background, unnamed, in other sketches throughout the show's run, but the one showcase he really had was on the fifth season episode hosted by Glenda Jackson, which is fantastic. In the episode, she reveals herself to actually be a pirate and sneaks in a crew of pirate Muppets (including Sweetums, who returned to piracy in Muppet Treasure Island) and attempts to take over the show. Eric appears first as a penguin, which turns out to be merely a disguise.

Eric even gets a number to himself, which includes an appearance by the Swedish Chef.

Eric never got a line again. After this, he only appeared in the "Rainbow Connection" finale of The Muppet Show--as did nearly every extant Muppet at the time--and then disappeared into the past.

ABC Wednesday


Roger Owen Green said...

Damn, you need to write a book or something.

mrsnesbitt said...

My favourite was Fozzie - oh it's F next week!!!!!!!!!
Great post - enjoyed reading other posts too - will pop back later.
Denise ABC Team

Indrani said...

Cute one for 'E'. :)
Happy ABCW!

Black Jack's Carol said...

Too old to have enjoyed the muppets myself and never having had kids, my knowledge of them is scanty at best. I loved this post. I'm listening to Eric sing as I write this comment. I think he deserved more air time :) Love the Swedish chef too.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

I wonder if Eric could've been named after Eric Idle. Eric the Parrot is very cute and funny!
Take 25 to Hollister
The View from the Top of the Ladder

Leslie: said...

I thought he looked familiar!

abcw team