Muppet Babies v Sarah and Duck

I’m conducting a comparative study of children’s TV programmes in the eighties and children’s TV programmes today. Impressive, non? Non. It’s a posh way of saying I’m trying to decide whether the children’s TV I watched was more or less utterly ridiculous than that which The Toddler now watches. In order to answer this all important question, I am comparing Muppet Babies with Sarah and Duck in five scientific* categories. Each of these categories has been meticulously formulated** to assess the relative levels of ridiculousness between these two shows. Once the outcomes of the five categories are combined, I will be in possession of clear, indisputable evidence conclusively proving*** which generation watched the more ridiculous TV Programmes.

(*Stupid. **Not at all. I made them up on a whim. ***Not even slightly.)

Category 1: Random Animals

Sarah’s best friend is a duck. Due to the complete absence of parents/guardians/responsible adults around to set her right (see below), she appears to believe this is normal.

Of course, at least half of the Muppet Babies were random animals and, frankly, who on earth knows what the rest of them were.

Still, ill-advised as it may be to put a baby bear and a baby pig in the same nursery, Sarah takes a duck to the library. And the doctors. We all know the saying. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…it is not suitable company for a child at the doctors. Because it’s a duck.

Sarah and Duck is the most ridiculous programme in the random animals category.

Category 2: Random Animals Aside, What on Earth is Going on with the Characters?

Okay, so The Muppets, as babies or otherwise, have always been a little on the weird side.

However, let us just take a moment to consider a few of the characters featured in Sarah and Duck: a seven year old girl; a duck; a rainbow; a wool wrapped lady with a talking bag; a talking bag; a donkey; a cake; a flamingo; a girl with a plate; an umbrella that is scared of rain; and some shallots.

I think we can all agree no more needs to be said. Sarah and Duck is the clear winner here, too.

Category 3: Parents and Guardians

The whereabouts of the Muppet Babies’ parents was never addressed. However, the Muppet Babies were being cared for by Nanny. Nanny had her weaknesses. She was just a torso and a pair of legs. That seemed a little odd. Mary Poppins would certainly have frowned upon that sort of thing in the nannying world. But, in all fairness to that torso, it was there for those muppet kids. It was a torso and a pair of legs more than is supervising Sarah and that duck.

Yes, Sarah and Duck are wandering around town without a single parent or guardian in sight. To make matters worse, the one adult who appears at all is Scarf Lady. Hardly the epitome of a responsible adult. She’s called Scarf Lady; has a pet donkey; and her talking knitting bag helps her when she gets confused. Though evidently not when she got confused and thought a donkey was an appropriate pet.

Sarah and Duck is once again most ridiculous.

Category 4: Stupid Names

Sarah and Duck has Scarf Lady, Ribbon Sisters, Plate Girl, Scooter Boy. Yes, you don’t want to be called Plate when you have to go to school (not that anyone in this programme has any parents to send them to school) but, to be fair, these names are accurate descriptions. It therefore just doesn’t seem quite justified to call them stupid names. Stupid characters, perhaps. But with pertinent names.

Over to Muppet Babies: Fozzie, Rowlf, Gonzo, Animal, Beaker.

Muppet Babies takes this one.

(Interestingly, both programmes have a Scooter. Scooter is a cross-generational daft name.)

Category 5: Plot (or What Are They Doing?)

The Muppet Babies lived in a nursery and went on imaginary adventures, with songs, before returning to Nanny and reality. They played hide and seek, tried to cure fear of the dark, performed Snow White, and avoided the dentist. Actually, this is all relatively normal behaviour for young children (or young whatever they were).

Sarah and Duck also go on adventures. Not imaginary. Surreal, but not imaginary. They go to the zoo because Duck wants to be a penguin (of course he does). They photograph birds (yes, that’s a duck photographing birds). They learn to bobsleigh (Cool Runnings 2: The Child and The Duck). Their bus gets diverted and makes some underwater stops. They make soufflé (a seven year old and a duck, weirdest Come Dine with Me ever). Imaginative? Yes. Different? Yes. Ridiculous? Absolutely.

Obviously, Sarah and Duck wins in this category.

By four categories to one, children’s programmes of today are declared more ridiculous than those of the eighties. So, there you have it. Children of the eighties may have believed nannies didn’t have heads, and to this day think the word ‘beaker’ is hilarious, but at least we weren’t asking our parents for pet ducks. Or, indeed, ignoring the very existence of any such thing as a parent, and making a soufflé with a small aquatic bird of the anatidae family (i.e. a duck).

Tune in next week for the epic smack down that is Rentaghost v Mr Tumble.*

(*This is not happening. Do not buy foam fingers.)

A Cornish MumPost Comment LoveMami 2 Five


  1. Mim says:

    I just want to say that you are really REALLY funny – that is all. Except I am also a little disappointed that you were not serious about next week’s edition :) Mim x

  2. I’ve never had the pleasure of Sarah and Duck and may now have to catch an episode as I’m intrigued. As for Muppet Babies… anything that involves Muppets stops me dead even now… please tell me you have Mahna Mahna downloaded on your iPod too?

  3. My husband is worryingly obsessed by Sarah and Duck. I think he loves it more than my son does – he quite frequently wanders about the house muttering “Sarah and Duck. *Quack*.” under his breath. Apparently Wikipedia says it has quite a cult adult following though, so that makes it OK… Great post :-)

  4. Lol, this is brilliant. Sarah and Duck is definitely quite surreal and I’m glad I’m not the only one who has pondered the ridiculousness of it all. I only have a very hazy memory of the Muppet Babies though as I didn’t really watch a lot of it as a child.

  5. Emma says:

    I haven’t decided if I like Sarah and Duck. I don’t think my kids care much for it so we don’t watch it much.

    Ah but Muppet Babies. That was a great show!

  6. Min says:

    Love it! I was a huge fan of Muppet Babies back in the day. In fact, I still know all the words to the theme tune (and sing it regularly with my brothers whenever the mood takes us. We are all in our 30s). I haven’t watched a great deal of current children’s TV yet as Piglet is only just about getting his head round the In the Night Garden group dance, but I find it hard to believe that there is anything on the same scale of brilliance as Count Duckula or Dogtanian and his Three Muskahounds.

  7. Rosie says:

    Sarah and Duck is decidedly weird and has led to calls for a pet duck in my household. (Thank God for stuffed toys!) I do think Abney and Teal is weirder though and don’t get me started on the Night Garden! Looking forward to reading about Rentaghost and Mr Tumble (was a bit disappointed when I realised it might not happen, but keeping my fingers crossed)

  8. Mrs H says:

    This post is genius. Little Miss H (and Mr H and I) absolutely love Sarah and Duck. It is the best programme ever. It is completely ridiculous in every way. But amazing. As far as awesomeness is concerned, Sarah and Duck wins hands down. Thanks for linking up to #SundaysStars. I am sorry it has taken me so long to comment. I have just moved house and been without WiFi forever. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

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