Buzzfeed Muppet Quizzes: An Inquiry
On March 12, 2018, Ali Velez published an article with the encouraging title, “Everyone has a Muppet Matching Their Personality—Here’s Yours.” It was shared widely among my peer group. In our late thirties and forties, we are young enough not to be embarrassed by our attachment to the idols of our infancy, but our brains, gingerly balanced on the precipice of dotage, have entirely forgotten Buzzfeed’s widely shared “Which Muppet Are You?” quiz from January 14, 2014.
Neither quiz is perfect. The first of Velez’s seven questions requires pattern selection. This seems both random and revealing, as presumably the colors and shapes will take the respondent out of their ego-driven left-brain and into their more visceral right-brain. Unfortunately the options are hopelessly flawed. Of the six choices, only three would ever be selected by Muppets. Why make half the patterns rejects from Target’s Threshold housewares collection?
This reveals more, I’m afraid, about Velez, than it does about the poor, curious soul taking the quiz, which Velez tacitly acknowledges in the quiz’s design, by making the pattern selection almost inconsequential. When I took the quiz sincerely, I selected the best pattern, the top center stained-glassy choice, and got Janice. Paisley took me to Gonzo, but I would argue that taking the paisley path should lead to no one but Janice. The rest led to Gonzo, save the green wavy lines, which gave me Kermit for what I can only imagine is the most superficial reason possible (it’s green, get it?).
Jen Lewis’s earlier quiz, with the more straightforward title, “Which Muppet are You”* contains ten questions, each with nine choices rather than six. Obviously this a more rigorous quiz, and yet in some ways it seems more obvious. In the “Pick a Word” section, the choices include “meep” and “wocka,” which seem transparently designed to allow the respondent to cherry-pick their result. Other questions are similarly flawed, particularly “What Would You Want as a Pet,” which allows would-be Gonzos to choose chickens (though I think those are more appropriately his companions or life partners) and aspiring Crazy Harry’s to pick fish, which is a food or projectile, not a pet. Finally, the sheer number of choices and questions allows Lewis to get lost in the weeds. This was my result.
Can I recommend one quiz over another? No. Both are pleasant enough if you’re nostalgic for a fuzzier time, but I as a researcher I’m chary of endorsing either one.
My Muppet personality, the Muppet that I am, is Rowlf the Dog. I could not find a path to this result on either quiz, thus they are both, from a scientific perspective, booty.
*This is a lucid example of what the business types call “first-mover advantage” or FMA.