I agree with you completely. Ernie looked pretty dopey, Bert was too angry-looking, the Anything Muppets weren't really...anything, and you needed sunglasses to look at bright orange Oscar. And don't even get me started on the ragtag, hick-like Big Bird. I wonder if he got involved with certain 1960s countercultural practices before SS? But what I really think put the ugliness over the top were the monsters. Think about Beautiful Day Monster, the Snerfs, Fuzzyface, and the pre-Cookie Monster, whom I shall now call "Floppyface" whenever referring to the original puppet. Not to mention there was also Scudge, Splurge, and Fred the Dragon! Yikes! Personally, I don't think the Muppets' look was really polished until around Season 5-6, once Snuffleupagus and the Count became regulars on the Street. Remember how Snuffy first looked? He was even more terrifying than the first Big Bird! The voice didn't help, either...he sounded like a stoned Eeyore. "Heeeeelllllloooooooo, Biiiiiiirrrrrddddd..." Thankfully Jerry kind of changed the voice, and then Marty Robinson took over. I really like Marty's voice better...it's more upbeat and versatile. On a different topic, was it really Caroll's decision to change the character, or did the writers do it? I know that the premise was a visit to a day-care center or something like that, and Caroll ended up performing the Bird as a six-year old instead of a goofy, dimwitted adult.