Uncle Deadly is pretty much stealing The Muppets right out from under his more famous co-stars.
Over the decades, the Muppets franchise has produced a large number of supporting characters that have been semi-regulars in various TV shows and movies. Uncle Deadly has been around a pretty long time, though many might not be able to place him easily.
Uncle Deadly first popped up on The Muppet Show in the ’70s as a riff on The Phantom of the Opera. A failed Shakespearean actor, he haunted Muppet Theater for awhile before emerging to join the ensemble. His distinctive look and voice make him a nice contrast character to some of the zanier Muppets.
The character pretty much had no profile for a couple decades, until he turned up as a henchman in the 2011 Muppets movie. He switched sides and had a small role in the Muppets Most Wanted sequel.
On The Muppets, Uncle Deadly has been well-placed on the show-within-a-show as Miss Piggy’s wardrobe supervisor. That affords him lots of opportunity for droll commentary on the insanity surrounding his porcine boss. As voiced by Matt Vogel, his asides and withering observations have become one of the best parts of the show. Quick hit bursts of wit that serve as effective embroidery of the action.
Uncle Deadly frequently finds himself in the position of Miss Piggy’s wrangler. Weaving a web of deceit to keep the diva from knowing her own size. Frantically attempting to wave off Fozzie from bringing up Piggy and Kermit’s breakup. Shepherding Miss Piggy through the five stages of grief after a backstage disaster ruins her new wardrobe.
It’s a clever way to use an existing character. Uncle Dudley’s look and deportment suggest something sinister. So deploying him as Piggy’s wardrobe guru is almost genius. Even for a show whose supporting characters and throwaway gags often outshine the main plots, Uncle Deadly is a standout.
When you’re as cool a Muppet as Uncle Deadly, you don’t need a lot of time on screen to have maximum comic impact.
Originally published at thunderalleybcpcom.ipage.com on December 11, 2015.