He was introduced in the Muppet Labs sketches during the second season of The Muppet Show. Kermit the Frog describes Beaker by saying, "If somebody has to get hurt, it's almost always Beaker." Whenever Bunsen's experiments start to go bad, Beaker has been the recurring victim, mostly blown up and deflated. He only speaks in high-pitched "mee-mee-mee" noises.
The Muppet Show
Prior to Beaker's debut, Dr. Honeydew appeared in the Muppet Labs segments by himself, thus being the victim of his own inventions. The timid assistant added a new level of comedy to the sketches. Dr. Honeydew's experiments and inventions always seem to go awry and Beaker is their perpetual victim. He has been shrunk, cloned, punched, deflated, zapped, turned invisible and blown up, but he always comes back for more.
Movies and specials
Some of Beaker's more memorable roles in the specials have been in The Muppets Go to the Movies, in which Beaker plays the role of "The Angel of Death" in a foreign film and in The Muppets at Walt Disney World, where he gets a bucket stuck on his head throughout the special.
In Muppets Most Wanted, Dr. Honeydew creates the Bomb-attracting vest. During the film's climax, Constantine tries to blow up the Muppets, but Beaker is able to plant the bomb in the Thames River, saving everyone. Beaker survived.
In a 2004 Internet poll sponsored by the BBC and the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew were voted Britain's favorite cinematic scientists. They beat Star Trek's Mr. Spock, their closest rival, by a margin of 2 to 1 and won 33 percent of the 43,000 votes cast.
In July of 2008, Beaker starred in the popular, award-winning viral video "Ode to Joy." Beaker performed the song in a split-screen number: playing violin, timpani, metronome, and vocals (replacing the lyrics with extended "Meemeee"-ing). Inevitably, disaster ensues. The video was nominated in the Music category of the 2009 Webby Awards, as well as the 'People's Voice' award. Beaker won the Webby Award and accepted the award at the June 8th ceremony.
In 2010, Beaker recorded a performance of Dust in the Wind, accompanying himself on guitar, but he is interrupted by a cascade of critical YouTube-style popup comments.
Beaker normally communicates through a series of high-pitched "mee-mee-mee" noises. (In books and merchandise, it's often spelled as "Meep".) In some of his earlier appearances, Beaker's language sounded more like that of someone who was too terrified to get any real words out of his mouth. His "meeping" language began in episode 219. He did manage to muster "Bye Bye" in the Banana Sharpener Muppet Labs segment. In The Muppet Movie, his words were the closest they ever got to being real words, as his line "Sadly temporary" (echoing Bunsen) was quite clear, as well as his line "Make-up ready!" and his "Radiant Wonderfulness" line from The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. He re-used the "Sadly temporary" line in Muppets from Space. In The Muppet Christmas Carol, Beaker let out an "Oh, dear!" He also muttered an "Oh no!" before falling head first in episode 107 of The Jim Henson Hour. In the video game Muppet Monster Adventure, during the opening cutscene where Robin is told that his friends were turned into monsters, Robin says "Oh no!". Then Beaker replies "Oh yes!" While he was at WWE, Beaker was able to say "Santino", "Sorry", "Yeah" and "Wow." In their "ESPN Challenge Bracket", Beaker was able to say "selections", "Mike Wazowski", "fiddle", and "bracket". Also in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, he is clearly heard saying "No!" when Dr. Honeydew was about to put Beaker through another test.
One key element to Beaker's development was that, unlike Bunsen, who was rarely seen outside the Labs, Beaker took more of an involvement in the show. He was often seen backstage and had cameo bits in other numbers and sketches. He also served as an assistant stagehand to Beauregard as well as an assistant video DJ to Dr. Teeth on the compilation video "Rock Music with the Muppets".
Beaker's eyes have the ability to light up on occasion. Usually, these instances are the product of electrocution. Examples include:
- The Muppet Show episode 522
- The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show
- The Great Muppet Caper
- "Ode to Joy"
- The Webby Awards (2009)
- Give a Day. Get a Disney Day. (James Denton spot)
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2010)
- America's Funniest Home Videos (2010)
- Underwriters Laboratories (Christmas spot)
While no direct Muppet Relatives of Beaker have been pictured in the canon of Muppet projects, multiple Beaker clones were featured in episode 514. In an appearance on the Halloween episode of WWE Raw, the wrestler Sheamus reveals that he is a relative of Beaker, but will be unable to attend the annual family reunion but reminds Beaker to tell Aunt Teresa hello. In The Muppet Show Comic Book: Family Reunion arc, it was revealed through Bunsen's Genebuster that Beaker was related to Gary Mayo, a famous TV panelist, as well as an Aunt Dolly.
- Richard Hunt - from The Muppet Show (1977) to Muppet*Vision 3D (1991)
- Steve Whitmire - from The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) to WE Day (2016)
- Kevin Clash - The Muppet Show Live (2001)
- David Rudman (2017-present)