Written by Juliette Burton

Voices

Why I want to marry Gonzo

It’s not easy being weird, but Juliette Burton knows it’s always an adventure being with a weirdo, which is why the love of her life is a blue, furry, honk-nosed puppet.

Gonzo with a chickenI grew up in front of the TV. I can chart my development as a person in Muppets: Sesame Street and Muppet Babies ages three to eight; The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper ages nine to 11; The Muppet Show box set ages 12 to 17; and rewatching everything 18 to present day.

There were of course the obsessive phases: learning every Muppeteer voice in every film, the Muppet parody calendar I hung in my dormitory at school, and drawing in fine detail copies of the Muppet VHS movie covers. As an adult, I even had my very own Muppet made as part of my research for my 2013 show When I Grow Up. Julieuppet and I toured Australia together for three months in 2014 and even got to meet Jim Henson’s son Brian.

Miss Piggy is my role model: strong, feisty, feminine. But, perhaps shockingly, she isn’t my favourite Muppet. While Piggy was fawning over a little green heartthrob there was another who adored her from afar and whose advances were always brushed aside like pigswill. A Muppet who stole my heart in childhood.

Let me explain to you why I want to marry Gonzo.

Gonzo is a handsome little weirdo. He is undefinable. Most other Muppets are still identifiable as a species: frog, bear, pig. But Gonzo wasn’t even broadly categorisable. In various films and episodes he’s been called a “whatever”, “a little like a turkey”, “an alien”. He never found his place.

He’s adventurous, always the daredevil willing to experiment with new horizons. Whether it’s being shot out of a cannon, clutching balloons as they drift over the American countryside or eating a tyre to the tune of Flight of the Bumblebee. How cultured! He could’ve eaten that tyre to the tunes of Donny Osmond, Westlife or One Direction but he didn’t. He chose classical music and introduced his fans to deeper cultural appreciation.

“Life with a weirdo will always be an adventure. Weirdos think outside the box. Weirdos aren’t even aware there’s a box within which we’re supposed to think in the first place.”

He’s fiercely loyal. He loves his friends, never deserts them and in The Muppets (2011) he gave up a successful business to help out his friends again.

He’s less obvious, perhaps, than Kermit as a romantic or heroic lead, but he actually has the most poetic soul of all the Muppets. Sure, Rainbow Connection is a belter, but it’s no I’m Going To Go Back There Some Day. Gonzo’s heartbreaking song moves me to tears, even when I just catch myself humming it. When he sings, “Is that a song there, and do I belong there?” he’s singing about a loneliness, a sense of being drawn somewhere, a feeling for something bigger in store for us. “Part heaven, part space, or have I found my place?” I have found your place, Gonzo, and it’s as my furry husband.

Maybe you think I’m being weird. I mean, most women only realise that they fell for a muppet after the break-up, and here I am hoping to spend my life with one.

But I think it’s important to celebrate the weirdness in our lives. Trust me, if you find a weirdo, never let them go. They’ll surprise you; they’ll have no expectations; they’ll bring out the weird and the wonderful in you. They’re irreplaceable because they’re unique, and their excitement for life is intoxicating.

Gonzo with a balloonI used to be scared to reveal my weird because I was scared of not fitting in. But all along I wish I’d noticed Gonzo’s lesson: be proud of your weird. Now that I am, I bring out the weird in my friends and I love laughing about how weird we are, how weird life is.

I’ve been told I’m hard work. Yep, I am. Because I am part Miss Piggy and part Gonzo. But you know, life with a weirdo will always be an adventure. Weirdos think outside the box. Weirdos aren’t even aware there was a box within which we were supposed to think in the first place. Embracing my weirdness has led me to meet other weirdos just like me. And they’re all awesome. They make me laugh; the weirder they are the more they help me laugh, the more they help me feel less alone. I love being weird. Being weird is honest, unafraid and real.

So Piggy can keep her Kermit. I respect him and The Muppets need him (let’s face it, he is rightfully the hero to every story), but without a big ol’ dose of blue fuzzy, big-nosed, outright weirdness, Kermit’s adventures would be a bit dull.

I’m just putting this out there: if Piggy continues to turn down his advances then Gonzo can get his fuzzy blue hands on my bacon any day.

@JulietteBurton

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Written by Juliette Burton

Juliette Burton is a docu-comedian, actor, writer, thinker, dreamer, doer and person. She has a history of mental health problems and loves The Muppets. These two things are in no way linked.