Walter and Robin

Based on his appearances in the “Muppet Thought of the Week” videos on YouTube, Walter has now become one of the funniest Muppets. Does that qualify as irony?

Prior to last summer, Walter was sometimes paired with Robin the Frog (as performed by Matt Vogel) in “Thoughts of the Week” and other short videos, a pairing that works pretty well, given that they’re both characters who are supposed to be a little younger. Check ’em out:

However, since Matt started performing Kermit, performing Robin as well would have been difficult, particularly during those live shows that everyone seemed to enjoy so much. Peter Linz now describes himself (on his Twitter profile and elsewhere) as the performer for Robin, so I guess that recast is now official.

That got me wondering: now that Peter is performing both Walter and Robin, are the writers, etc. going to abandon this particular comedic pairing? And if not, how exactly is that going to work?

I know how it usually works when two characters by the same performer are in a scene together; someone doubles for the other character, and the main performer dubs the voice later. Though it may depend on a number of factors, presumably Peter would perform Walter and someone would double for Robin. Would they have Matt double for Robin? Or would they have somebody else do it to avoid confusing the issue? 

Suppose they did have Matt do the doubling for Robin, though. In order to preserve the integrity of the character, they would probably still have Peter dub the dialogue after the fact…wouldn’t they? Trading Robin back and forth between performers wouldn’t be the Muppet way. But having Peter dub the dialogue would surely involve a lot of extra time, trouble, and expense. 

It’s so frustrating that this is a manufactured problem that could be easily solved by the simple expedient of bringing Steve back into the fold where he belongs. I used this same analogy recently on Twitter in a more serious context, but it’s like trying to solve the old riddle about rowing a fox, a goose, and a bag of corn across the river; only in this case, there’s a fully functional bridge just sitting there, a few feet away, so they wouldn’t have to row anything across the river at all.

Another thing that really annoys me is that the writers of some of these Muppet fan sites revere Jerry Nelson as almost a saint, and yet few if any of them have had a single word to say about recasting Robin, one of Jerry’s most significant characters, in flagrant disregard of Jerry’s wishes. But that’s probably going to be a topic for another day.

And I will continue saying this as many times as I have to: This is nothing against Matt and Peter. They have nothing to do with the recasting and are just doing the best they can in the face of corporate greed and stupidity.

4 thoughts on “Walter and Robin

  1. From what I’ve heard, it was Matt’s idea to give Robin to Peter. I recall him saying that Robin was hard for him to do.

    Honestly, while the circumstances are obviously awful, I’m glad Peter’s gotten more roles. He’s one of my favorite puppeteers.


    • Yeah, I seem to remember Peter saying in an interview that Matt asked him to do Robin because it would have been too hard for him to do both frogs.

      And I agree with you about Peter; while I continue to disagree strenuously with recasting Kermit, if they were going to do it regardless, I think Peter would have made a lot more sense than Matt for a lot of reasons. I like Peter’s Robin a lot, I don’t have a problem with what he’s been doing with Ernie, and honestly, I like his Link Hogthrob better than Steve’s. (Sorry, Steve).

      With all that said, I really object to him having taken on the role of Lips. I know he means well, but (a) recasting Steve’s original characters especially rubs me the wrong way, and (b) Peter is not putting the same effort into making Lips’ trumpet playing look real, and that bothers me because I know how important that was to Steve.


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