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TMS fic: Growing Together

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Slackbot, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thanks, guys. One thing I forgot to mention: Janken's song can be sung more or less to the tune of There's a Fine, Fine Line from Avenue Q.
  2. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    It IS good to finally see some actual "couple" behavior with those two! I gather that although they've considered themselves a couple for a long time, they haven't really explored what that means?

    Although I have shared a snuggle with someone whom I wasn't interested in...and snuggles with significant others with nothing more than sleeping going on...I find it curious that after that deep and personal a discussion, Scooter and Janken would kiss and snuggle and...sleep? No, I don't need a graphic description; maybe these two are just less physical about expressing their feelings, and that's fine. But I would like to see them really start enjoying couplehood, now that the conversational ice has finally broken! Good for them and I hope you develop that further. :)

    Piggy's interaction with Weird Al was hilarious. I never envisioned that song as a duet but it works! And it's good that Gonzo has decided to expose his child to the world -- now how does Camilla want to handle that?

    And hooray for being yourself on a date! This seems difficult for most folk, but must be trebly so for showbiz couples, so I'm glad Kermit and Piggy both liked what they saw in the other.

    I also hope Janken grows more comfy performing...music, after all, ought to be shared, and who does music better than Fraggles, right? :excited:
  3. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Janken and Scooter have been a couple on their own terms. Neither is terribly experienced, and Janken is kind of a wembler. What they've had has suited them so far, but it looks like they're ready to move on. And, yeah, all they did was snog before sleeping. I guess when you're used to stopping there it's not a problem.

    (Snog. I love that word. It's so cute and weird-sounding.)

    Gonzo and Camilla have discussed Billie, believe me. Camilla isn't as protective of her as Gonzo is because she doesn't have the same background he has. She's glad that he's finally loosening up a bit.

    Despite what I often say, I'm enjoying bringing Kermit and Piggy together in a way that I think is healthy and stable. They really do need to drop their masks if they're going to have a real relationship. More on that coming soon... :)

    I don't know if Janken will ever want to take the stage. He's always had performance anxiety. He tried to be a storyteller, and quit after a single non-successful attempt. When he was following the minstrels around he never sang or played his ocarina. He wants to be a part of it, and doing the cameras lets him fulfill that ambition without making him face an audience. He never plans to be an onstage Muppet, but it's possible they might find a happy medium.
  4. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the penultimate chapter of...


    Growing Together
    Part 12: Try a Little Harder for Your Friends
    by Kim McFarland


    Late that morning Janken arrived at the Muppet Theater. Each Monday they viewed the weekend's acts and decided which ones they would use in the TV episode, then came up with and filmed the backstage story. There were plenty of Muppets hanging around backstage, plus one tall human being. Weird Al didn't need to come for the first part, but he was enjoying being around the Muppets, and they welcomed him.

    Janken crossed the stage and switched on the camera console, and while that was warming up he went out to the auditorium. A drop cloth hung from a board was suspended in front of the curtains. Good. Janken went back to his console, flicked some switches, started a playback, then walked out again. The opening theme, as performed on Friday, was playing on the drop cloth. He went back to the console and turned the playback off.

    Soon the other Muppets began coming over to backstage left to watch the playbacks on the monitors. Kermit asked Janken, "Is it set up?"

    Janken replied, "Yes. I just tested it."

    "Good." He raised his voice and spoke to the rhubarbing Muppets. "Everyone. Hey, everyone! We're going to try something different. Let's go to the seats."

    Everyone went out the side of the stage and to the audience. Then they saw the makeshift screen, and guessed what was going on. Kermit sat on the rim of the orchestra pit facing the other Muppets and said, "Hi ho, everybody, and welcome to the rushes for episode 201 of The Muppet Show. We'll be doing this the same way as before, except we'll see it on a screen instead of all crowding around the monitors backstage. So let's get started!"

    Janken had one camera trained on the front of the audience. He wasn't recording; he had it set that way so Kermit could give him directions without shouting himself hoarse. Scooter's headset didn't come close to fitting Kermit. He started the playback for the Friday opening welcome and the first song, I Will Comply.

    The Muppets in the auditorium watched that, and then the other two nights' versions. It was pretty clear that Saturday's take was the most popular, thanks to Sweetums' assistance. Kermit made a note on the checklist that Scooter had left for him, then looked up and said, "Okay, next."


    They ran through the acts fairly quickly. They rarely had to debate which takes were best to use on television. Good or bad, whichever was most entertaining was the one they would use. Still, to go through three shows' worth of skits and songs did take time.

    They were about midway through when Janken was grabbed from behind in a stealth hug. Janken yiped, then when he saw that his assailant had orange hands and green sleeves he leaned back and pressed his cheek to Scooter's. "How'd you do?"

    "Great!" Scooter replied. "I aced it, no problem."

    "I knew you would."

    They kissed for a moment. Then Janken had to start the next playback, and Scooter grabbed his headset and went out to the auditorium. He sat on the side of Kermit that hadn't been claimed by Miss Piggy and asked, "How's it going?"

    Kermit handed Scooter the clipboard with the checklist. "Pretty well. People pay more attention when they can see the acts this way. It's going faster. Good idea, Scooter."

    "Thanks, boss."

    The second playback of The Judgment of Solomon finished. There had not been much difference in the reactions between the two. Which wasn't surprising, as there wasn't much difference between the acts. Kermit stood and said, "Okay, first one or second one?"

    Over the general murmur Clifford said "Toss a coin."

    "Anyone have an opinion?" Apparently nobody did. Kermit said, "All right, the first one." Scooter made a note, then said into his headset's mouthpiece, "Next."

    "Do I have to?" Janken replied, but he had already started the playback of the jug band number.

    The three takes were musically almost identical, but Janken's nervously wriggling tail, which the other Muppets found hilarious, tipped the balance for the first one. He hadn't been quite as frightened the second and third time. He could see now that the act was pretty good, but he still cringed when he watched it because he remembered how frightened he had been.


    Eventually they had gotten through all the acts. Janken came out from backstage and sat beside Scooter. Kermit perched on the edge of the pit again and said, "Now that we've got the acts, let's have thoughts on backstage stuff."

    "Moi has a few little notions," Miss Piggy said.

    "Do tell."

    "Moi hears that Monsieur Yankovic has asked to do a love song with Moi. Moi, of course, accepts, assuming him to be a man of devastating good looks and taste. Moi does not see him until the number itself. That will lead into the song turning into a fight, ending in an, ahem, reconciliation."

    There were chuckles. "Where does she come up with these ideas?" Pepe said behind two of his hands.

    Kermit nodded. "All right, that's a starter. What else?"

    Rowlf remarked, "The jug band. Janken's the odd man out there. Maybe something showing him getting pulled in at the last minute? And, you know, we could bring him in as a backstage character."

    Scooter began, "I don't think-"

    Janken spoke up, surprising Scooter. "Um, I really don't want to be in the show itself. I get the worst case of stage fright. But I think I could do backstage stuff if you need me to, since it's just cameras. Those I can deal with."

    Kermit said, "All right. Now, what else?"


    The Muppets threw ideas around for a few minutes. Then of their own accord they formed little clusters, hammering their ideas out into workable skits. Weird Al was at the intersection of several clusters, throwing in his ideas as well. Quietly Scooter said, "Jan, you sure you want to do a backstage skit?"

    "Well, no, I'm not sure. Sort of. I'm nervous. But I think I can do it. I want to try, at least."

    "All right. Why don't we do it now? Nobody else'll be ready to film for a while."


    The two went to the backstage left area. Janken set up one of the portable cameras they used for the backstage scenes and checked the framing, then said, "Okay. Um..what should I say?"

    Scooter took off his headset and said, "Let's just ad-lib it. Play it like it happened, but for laughs."


    "Turn on the camera and let's go."

    Janken tapped a few buttons, then said, "Recording." He started pretending to mess with the console.

    Scooter rushed into frame. "Janken, the jug player didn't show up! I need you to fill in for him!"

    Janken said, "Me? But I don't go onstage! I work the cameras!"

    "There's a first time for everything. Here's the costume." Scooter held out a hat and vest.

    "But..." Janken froze, drymouthed.

    "Cut," Scooter said.

    Janken tapped a button to stop the recording and said apologetically, "Sorry, I'm no good at this."

    "Don't worry. Let's try it again."

    They did, and this time Janken began stammering. After Scooter called "Cut" again Janken said unhappily, "Maybe this isn't a good idea. I belong on the other side of the camera."

    Miss Piggy, standing in the wings, said, "Moi has an idea. Start again, and I'll come in."

    "All right," Scooter said. He told Janken, "Third time's the charm."

    Janken wasn't so sure. Screwing up in front of Scooter wasn't fun, but screwing up in front of Miss Piggy would be humiliating. But he didn't dare say no to her. He took a few deep breaths to regain his composure—he had to look calm at the beginning of the scene—then said, "Okay," and pressed the button.

    Scooter rushed into frame. "Janken, the jug player didn't show up! I need you to fill in for him!"

    Janken said, "Me? But I don't go onstage! I work the cameras!"

    "There's a first time for everything, and nobody else can play the jug. Here's the costume." Scooter held out a hat and vest.


    Miss Piggy entered the scene. She said gently to Janken, "Now, dear, I know how nervous you must be, going in front of all those people on short notice."

    He gulped and nodded silently.

    "There there," she said sweetly as she patted his back. "It may be a little scary onstage, but-" she grabbed him by the collar with both hands and hauled him out of his chair, then snarled point-blank into his face, "-if you don't get your purple behind out there it's going to get a lot scarier back here!"

    Wide-eyed, Janken whimpered to Scooter, "Gimme the costume!"

    Brightly Scooter said "Here ya go."

    Miss Piggy released Janken, who scampered off, threading his arms into the vest. Miss Piggy brushed her hair back and said, "Sometimes actors just need to understand their motivation," before making her exit.

    Janken came back and tapped the button to shut off the camera. Scooter said, "Let's see how that looked."

    Miss Piggy, Scooter, and Janken watched the scene. Even Janken had to grin when Miss Piggy threatened him. He looked utterly terrified. When it finished Scooter said, "I think it's a keeper."

    "Moi aussi."

    Janken nodded. It was good, and that meant he wouldn't have to do it again. "Thanks, Miss Piggy. I needed that."

    She smiled at him. "Think of it as a lesson in method acting. And now I must steal Scooter away from you. Don't worry, I'll give him back when I'm finished with him."

    Scooter flashed Janken a look of mock fear as he put on his headset, then grinned. Janken smiled as Scooter walked off with Miss Piggy, who was already describing the scene she had in mind. If it had been up to Janken, he would have given up after the first take. But Scooter and Miss Piggy had made him stick with it, simply assuming that he could do it. And, somehow, they had been right. Janken thought that if he didn't have much faith in himself, he would have faith in his friends.


    All characters except Janken and Weird Al Yankovic are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC. Weird Al Yankovic is, of course, copyright © himself. All copyrighted characters and people are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken is copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com), as is the overall story. Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
  5. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    You know... That's good writing. Not only working in the title of a Fraggle song into the chapter, but the end sentiment by the one Fraggle in this story. It harkens back to pointers other people have echoed in when working with Jim, that he encouraged you to do your best. And if you were nervous or afraid to do it, he'd give you a little nudge confident that you'd be able to do it, so that if you didn't have faith in yourself you'd have faith in others having faith in you instead.

    Thanks, post more when you can. :jim:
  6. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Count. I was thinking of that very thing when I planned out the scene with Piggy, Scooter, and Janken. Jan's one of those people who needs to be pushed, and Muppets certainly are pushy enough. ;)

    I was wondering, did Janken's discussion of friendship/love in the previous chapter make sense? I don't know if it was clear or if I cut it too short. I didn't want it to read like a lecture.
  7. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm, not sure. Maybe others can chime in on that? :confused:
  8. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Lovely! The notion of them actually filming these things, rather than just setting a camera up and catching it all candidly, is entertaining in itself. A group consensus is exactly what Jim would've done, from what I've read about how he worked with the other Muppeteers, so good call.

    Piggy "motivating" Janken is funny as heck...and it's nice that he feels comfortable enough around the Muppets to get into the spirit of the show. Good for him! Being able to look wryly at one's own mistakes and embarrassing moments is vastly important for one's own ego -- especially when there are people around laughing without making the person feel smaller. Bravo.

    And yes...the friendship/love as done by Fraggles made sense to me, at least. :news:
  9. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    Good bit! I love the idea that the Muppets film their onstage show first and then work out the backstage plot. :D
  10. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Heh, thanks, that's something I was going for. The Muppets are used to chaos, foul-ups, SNAFUs, and the like. If the messups are entertaining, it's all good. Fozzie is very aware of this, which is why (as of my stories) he welcomes Statler and Waldorf's (and Jack Black's) heckling. It may frustrate him, but if the audience laughs then he's happy.
    Whew, good. I was afraid Jan was getting too tongue-tied. Ever see a Fraggle with his tongue tied up? It's a sad sight.
    Thankee! I figure that would be the easiest thing for them, since owing to the chaotic nature of the show, they are never sure how the acts will go off. Might as well write the story to play off all the little incidents rather than try to arrange SNAFUs to fit a story, eh?

    And here's a little clip for the next chapter. I'm hoping that somebody will get this gag...


    There was general laughter. Kermit said, "And let's welcome Janken. He's been a Muppet since he joined us last year, but as of now he's an onscreen cast member."​

    The other Muppets applauded and cheered for Janken. Gonzo started tapping his soda can on his chair arm and chanting, "We accept him, one of us! We accept him, one of us!"​

    The chant quickly spread. "Gooble gobble, gooble gobble, we accept him, we accept him, one of us, one of us!"​

    Janken's blush had turned his face maroon. He stood and faced the rest of the Muppets, who were laughing and chanting. He was nervous, but told himself to fight it back. They were his friends. He had seen the movie they were quoting, and knew the proper response. He shouted in mock outrage, "You dirty...slimy...Muppets!"
  11. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    What better day to post the 13th and final chapter of this story than Friday the 13th? So here's the wrap-up to...


    Growing Together
    Part 13: Just One Person
    by Kim McFarland


    It had been a long day of filming. Fun, but long. They had filmed all the extra bits that would go into the show—backstage scenes, reaction shots, and the like—and Janken had put all the usable footage together to send to the editors who would assemble it into a television episode. The Muppets plus Weird Al were now hanging out, recording ad-libbed gag scenes just for the heck of it with the traveling cameras, and generally messing around. Kermit thought that there would be no dearth of extras for this DVD.

    The call Scooter had been waiting for came. He said into his cell phone, "Yeah. Out front? Be there in a moment." He put it away, then glanced around. "Hey, Beauregard, can you give me a hand?"

    "Sure, Scooter!" The janitor applauded enthusiastically.

    "Uh, thanks. Now, come with me. I need an extra pair of hands."

    Bo followed obediently, saying, "But your jacket only has two sleeves."


    Several minutes later Bo and Scooter returned carrying stacks of pizza boxes, cans of soda, and bottles of water. They began setting them out on whatever flat surfaces were available. Scooter didn't bother to call the others; by now they would be hungry and alert for the smell of food. True to form, before he opened the third box the first pizza was under attack.

    Gonzo asked, "Did you get my special order?"

    "Sure thing."

    "Great! Thanks!" Gonzo looked around, then waved to Weird Al. "Hey! I got a pizza you'll really love. It's got eggs, spam, sausage, beans, spam, and spam!"

    Al was impressed. Gonzo really had been going all out to make him feel at home. However... "I appreciate it, but, actually I'm a vegetarian."

    "Really?" Gonzo said, surprised, then assured him, "Well, don't worry, we don't judge. In fact Janken's a vegetarian too. He's the purple guy over there. He'll know what's safe."

    Janken, having heard his name and caught the end of the conversation, beckoned Al over. Al came over, saying, "We haven't met, have we?"

    "No. I work the camera back there." He pointed across the stage to backstage left. "Pleased to meet you. I really enjoyed your songs."


    They each took a slice of a pizza that was liberally decorated with mushrooms, peppers, olives, tomatoes, and other garden produce. Janken said, "This pizza's actually vegan. The cheese isn't real. I hope that's okay."

    Al assured him, "That's fine. I try to avoid dairy products too."


    After everyone had helped themselves to pizza and drinks they went out to the audience area and sat. Scooter claimed two seats in the front. Once again footage was projected onto the dropcloth in front of the curtains. This time it was the opening theme. By the time they got to Gonzo's trumpet gag Janken had come back from the console and sat next to Scooter.

    Everyone munched pizza as they watched the rough cut of the episode. Janken had strung the skits and backstage scenes together in the order they would appear on TV. Reaction shots, changes in camera angle, and other such complexities were not included; the professional editors would work all that into the final version. This was just to give them a preview.

    Everyone was pleased. Even Janken had to laugh at himself on the screen. His out-of-control tail was funny, and Piggy had set the scene up so that he appeared to be more afraid of her than of performing onstage.

    Scooter was happy. This was a show he'd wanted to do for a long time. Getting Weird Al had been a major coup, and he had been so much fun to work with. Everything on the screen looked great. It would start off their second TV season off with a bang.

    When the last act finished everyone applauded. Kermit sat on the edge of the orchestra pit and said, "Wonderful job, everyone! And let's all hear it for our fantastic guest star, Weird Al Yankovic!"

    All the Muppets turned toward Al and cheered, applauded, and otherwise expressed their approval. When he could make himself heard he said, "Thanks, everyone. I've been wanting to do this show ever since your check cleared."

    There was general laughter. Kermit said, "And let's welcome Janken. He's been a Muppet since he joined us last year, but now he's a full-fledged cast member."

    The other Muppets applauded and cheered for Janken. Gonzo started tapping his soda can on his chair arm and chanting, "We accept him, one of us! We accept him, one of us!"

    The chant quickly spread. "Gooble gobble, gooble gobble, we accept him, we accept him, one of us, one of us!"

    Janken's blush turned his normally purple face maroon. He stood and faced the rest of the Muppets, who were laughing and chanting. He was nervous, but told himself to fight it back. They were his friends. He had seen the movie they were quoting, and knew the proper response. He shouted in mock outrage, "You dirty...slimy...Muppets!"

    That broke the chant up into laughter. Still blushing, he said, "Thanks, everybody. I'll do my best."

    Fozzie said, "That's the spirit! And if ya mess up, mess up funny!"

    "Thanks," Janken said again, and sat back down, still smiling. Scooter put his arm around his shoulders and gave him a one-sided hug.

    After that everyone started chatting amongst themselves. Weird Al went to the front with his phone and said, "Kermit, would you mind saying hi to my daughter, Nina?"

    "I'd be happy to," the frog replied.

    Weird Al dialed. While he was waiting for an answer Gonzo felt someone tap his shoulder. He looked over and saw a face very similar to his own, but purple instead of blue and with a pointier nose. "Brian!"

    The alien said, "Yep! Nobody answered the door, so I let myself in."

    Billie, who was standing in the seat next to Gonzo, was staring wide-eyed at Brian, "Like daddy!" she exclaimed, pointing.

    Gonzo agreed, "Yes. He's like me."

    "I'm Billie!" she announced.

    "Hi, Billie. I'm Brian," he answered, grinning.

    "Hi, Brine!" she said.

    Gonzo said to Brian, "Camilla and I made our decision. Um... want to come to our dressing room?"


    "Just a minute." Gonzo picked Billie up and glanced around. Then he went up to the front. Miss Piggy was talking into Weird Al's phone. Gonzo waited until she signed off with a kissy-kissy and handed the phone to Fozzie, then said, "Miss Piggy, would you mind watching Billie for a minute?"

    "Not at all," she said cheerfully.

    "Piggy!" Billie exclaimed happily as Gonzo handed her over. Billie liked Piggy, and it was mutual. Miss Piggy had a maternal streak, and he liked to let her indulge it.

    Camilla was already leading Brian to the dressing room she and Gonzo shared. When they were in Gonzo shut the door. Brian asked, "What did you decide?"

    Gonzo put his arm around Camilla and said, "We talked about it. And, well, it would be nice to have another chick... but we don't think we'll take you up on your offer." Camilla nodded and clucked softly.

    Surprised, Brian said, "Oh. Of course, that's your right, but mind if I ask why?"

    Gonzo and Camilla exchanged glances. Gonzo said, "It seemed like Billie came along at just the right time, and, well, we're happy as a family. We don't really need another chick right now. Who knows, maybe we'll get lucky again when the time's right. But if we don't, well, that's fine."

    Brian nodded understanding. "I understand. And the idea of having someone else make a kid for you kind of squicks you, doesn't it?"

    Gonzo said, "Well, I wouldn't have said it that way," but Camilla nodded emphatically. Gonzo glanced at her. She clucked to him. He said, "We'd rather do it the usual way if we can."

    Brian said, "It's all right, really. A lot of planet dwellers feel the same way. I'm not going to try to change your mind, but I want to tell you it's not creepy. We use science to gene-engineer babies, but we don't manufacture them. It's people who do the work, and people who care for the children before they're ready to hatch. It's not cold or impersonal at all. Heck, my parents were gene samples." He smiled. "I hope your luck strikes again. But if it doesn't, and you change your mind, the offer will still be open. I won't say anything more about it, so you tell me when and if."

    "Okay," Gonzo said, a little relieved that the matter was resolved so simply.


    When they returned Miss Piggy was singing Frère Jacques in a silly falsetto with Billie. Billie knew some of the lyrics, and filled in nonsense syllables. Scooter said to Kermit, "Boss, I had an idea."

    "Will it hurt or cost a lot?"

    "No, not at all," Scooter said. "I've been lurking on some message boards and reading the feedback on the live show. It's been really good! But some people have been saying they miss the backstage stuff they see on TV."

    Kermit agreed, "I know. But there's no way to do that during a live show."


    Kermit knew Scooter well enough to recognize this approach. "Unless you have an idea."

    "I did have a few thoughts."

    "Imagine that."

    Scooter looked at the dropcloth. Kermit followed his glance. Scooter said, "Why not prerecord some backstage scenes and project them on a screen left of the stage? People know that's the place where stuff happens. It'd be like letting the audience see through the wall. It'd give us more time to change sets, too." He turned to Janken. "We could rig up something like that, couldn't we?"

    Of course Scooter already knew they could; he had checked with him earlier. He answered, "Sure. Just wire a projector up to the bottom of the balcony on that side and have those bits ready to go, it'd just be the tap of a button."

    Scooter turned to Kermit. "It seems doable to me."

    Kermit countered, "But we'd have to hang a screen there all the time, or have it come up and down. Think about what that would look like."

    Scooter said, "Maybe not. Maybe there's something we can project it on that won't look like a big white rectangle."

    Fozzie, who had been listening in, leaned over the backs of the chairs and said, "I think it's a great idea! And even if we can't use a screen, we could do it like a radio play."

    "A radio play?" Scooter said.

    "Sure! Just the sound, no video. Like a microphone or the intercom was left on by accident."

    Enthusiastically Gonzo said, "I like it! It'd sound like they were hearing what was really going on backstage. They wouldn't know if it was real or not."

    Kermit turned to Piggy, who was still playing with Billie. "What do you think?"

    She looked up. "Huh?"

    Scooter said, "We were talking about maybe recording some backstage scenes and playing them between acts, or 'leaking' some audio stuff."

    It sounded weird to her. But it would allow them to bring some of the backstage drama to the stage show, and thus would increase her presence. "I like it."

    "So can I look into it, boss?" Scooter asked.

    Kermit replied, "You're going to anyway, so go for it. If you come up with something good we'll try it out for a show or two."

    "Thanks!" Scooter chirped.

    Billie held her arms out to Gonzo and said "Dada!"

    As Gonzo picked her up he said, "Thanks for looking after her, Miss Piggy."

    "It was no problem. Bye-bye!" She wiggled her fingers at Billie, who waved back.

    Piggy said to Kermit, "Little children are so cute. It's a pity there's only one at the house, isn't it?"

    He knew exactly what she was driving at. I'd make a good mother, wouldn't I? He stammered for a moment, then said, "Robin should be coming for a visit soon."

    She looked him straight in the eyes and said, "You know what I mean." There was no anger in her tone, thankfully. Then she said, "Moi is going to go change. Be back soon."


    Miss Piggy had finished getting back into her street clothes—which, for her, was clothing that didn't need to be dry cleaned—and was brushing out her hair as she thought about things. She had not had time to go into any depth when she heard a knock on her door. "Entrez-vous," she called out.

    Kermit came in. "Got a minute, Piggy?"

    She turned in the chair to face him. "For vous, always."

    He closed the door behind himself and said cautiously, "I've been wanting to ask you something for a while, and I don't want you to get upset about it. If you don't want to answer me, that's all right, just say so."

    "What's this about, Kermie?" she asked, puzzled.

    It's, well, lately people have been printing pictures of you when you were little. They're beautiful pictures, Piggy. Why don't you like them?"

    She looked away. This was not a question she wanted to answer. Not now, not ever. But... Kermit was the only one who asked her how she felt rather than assuming she'd be flattered. She said, "They were all taken during pageants."

    "Yes. So?"

    She met his eyes again. "What do you know about pageants?"

    Kermit thought said, "They're beauty contests, aren't they?"

    "That's right. Ever since I was a little piglet my mother entered me in pageants. Did you see the picture with the ribbon?" He nodded. "I was only a year old then."

    "Yeah," he said, waiting for her to continue.

    She looked away for a moment, then said, "Do you know what it's like to be a pageant child? Sure, it looks like fun, and sometimes it was, but sometimes you just want to play, but you can't, because all those other girls who could've been your friends aren't, because they're the competition instead, and you always have to be prettier than they are. And even if you want to be friends, maybe they don't, because you are the competition. And sometimes you don't want to spend all day dressing up and having your hair styled and your face made up so you can walk around in the bright light in shoes that hurt wearing a big fake smile on your face."

    There wasn't another chair in the dressing room, so Kermit sat on a box. "That doesn't sound like much fun," he said quietly.

    She snorted. "You better believe it. And when you don't win, Mommy will be so disappointed. Because being the most beautiful and winning is what matters. Once, when I won third place, she threw away my prize." Her voice caught. Kermit waited while she fought to regain her composure. When she looked up again she told him, "It's not a part of my life I like to remember."

    He nodded and said gently, "I understand."

    Angrily she continued, "And they print those pictures and people think they're oh, so adorable! I'd love to ban those stupid kiddie pageants and give all those pageant moms what for!"

    Kermit just nodded, listening sympathetically.

    She sniffled, then said, "But it's so silly, isn't it? Getting upset about something that happened long ago and doesn't matter anymore."

    "No, it's not," he told her. "It matters to you."

    There was a long pause. Then she said quietly, "Thank you."

    They stayed like that for a while, not speaking, just looking at each other. Then Miss Piggy said, "I haven't shown this to anybody..."


    She took one of her long, satin gloves by the fingertips and slid it off. Beneath it her hand was smooth-skinned and dainty... and her fingers were tipped with black. He held out a hand, and reluctantly she reached out and touched it.

    Her fingernails were not nails, but hooves. She had shaped them to look like fingertips beneath her gloves. She said, "They make me look like I was born in a stinkin' sty."

    "So you have... hoof-nails," Kermit said, stroking her fingers with his thumb. He believed her when she said she had never shown her hands to anyone else. She had worked so hard all her life to be beautiful and perfect, and treated this quirk like a deformity. She had been wearing gloves since she was a piglet. Had her mother told her that her hands were ugly and had to be concealed? Could any parent do that to their child?

    "I never could file them down enough to make them look like fingernails. Now you see why I wear gloves," she told him.

    "Yes, I do. Piggy, there's nothing wrong with your hands." He looked at her hand. "They're kind of cute."

    Miss Piggy's first impulse was to get angry, to snatch her hand away from him and tell him not to patronize her. It was easier to get angry than to admit to feeling pain. But, right here and right now, she didn't want to. She wanted to believe what he said. She wanted to have believed it years and years ago. She whispered, "You're the only person I've shown my hands to."

    He nodded calmly. He knew that she was baring more than just her hand to him. He wasn't sure what else to tell her. So he just clasped her hand and held her gaze.

    It was just the right thing to say.


    When they came back down some time later, the party was winding down. The pizza boxes, a few of which bore the marks of Animal's teeth, were stacked in the garbage bin. The rats were doing a quick sweep of the seating area just in case anyone had dropped anything edible. Bo was warming up the bus for the trip home. Scooter was relieved to see no evidence of a recent fight between Kermit and Miss Piggy. In fact, they were holding hands, which was very unusual for them. Scooter guessed that something had happened between them. Well, good for them. He went up to Kermit and said, "Al caught a cab to the airport. He said to say thanks for everything."

    "Oh, thanks, Scooter."

    He and Piggy were preoccupied, so Scooter decided to leave them alone. He said to Janken, "Let's go."


    They went backstage. To Janken's surprise, Scooter picked up a backpack full of books. "What are you doing with those? I thought you'd have sold them back."

    "I came straight to the theater after finals. I'll do that tomorrow, I guess."

    "If you open one of those in my presence within a month, I'll throw it out a window!" Janken warned.

    "What if we're outside?"

    "I'll throw it in a window."

    Scooter grinned. "Don't worry. I'm studied out forever and ever. The next time I go break my brain, it's gonna be on something useful."

    "Like a screen for backstage scenes?"


    "So, want to know what you're doing tomorrow?" Janken asked.

    Scooter gave him an odd look. "I didn't know I had plans other than not studying."

    "Let's go to a show. I have tickets."

    Pleasantly surprised, Scooter said, "Which show?"

    "Street Z. Gonzo told me all about it."

    "Oh, I know that one," Scooter said, grinning. "Heck yeah, I'd like to see it. When is it?"

    "Three o'clock."

    "It's a date. Um, mind if I come home with you again tonight?"

    Surprised and pleased, Janken replied, "Huh? Of course I don't mind."

    "It's just, I think we've got something to talk about."

    Janken looked at him quizzically for a moment. Then he smiled broadly. "Yeah, we do," he said.

    They went to the back, walked their bikes out of the theater, and left together.


    All characters except Janken, Billie, Brian, and Weird Al Yankovic are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC. Weird Al Yankovic is, of course, copyright © himself. All copyrighted characters and people are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken, Billie, and Brian are copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com), as is the overall story. Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
  12. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    :): And that brings us to the ending of another Slackbot Muppet fanfic! (We are sure that it's the end, right?) But before we go, let's have a round of applause for the wonderfully touching scenes where :concern: and :cluck: tell Brian their decision about a second hatchling, the fun/sillyness of shop talk during pizza lunch, and the bearing of :mad:'s long-held secret to the frog.

    We'll see you next time on the fanfic boards!
    *End music starts playing.
  13. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Count. Glad you liked it. Yes, that was the final chapter, so it's all over 'cept for my usual parting shot. ;)

    BTW, it's true that the creator of the Twinkie Dog, Weird Al Yankovic, is a vegetarian. (He also avoids eggs and dairy products when possible, but he calls himself a vegetarian rather than a vegan, so I do too.) He became so in 1992, presumably after the aforementioned junk food abomination was created.
  14. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    Very sweetly done. I particularly love the scene between Kermit and Piggy. Yes, I'd always suspected she was thrust into the beauty-pageant scene at an early age. And that's a beautifully sad explanation of why we always see her with gloves on...and a just plain beautiful acceptance on the part of the frog. Good for them!

    I like the concept of "backstage stuff" being seen by a live audience during a live show. Neat, whether faked or not!

    And it seems Scooter and Janken are drawing closer together, and possibly going for some real intimacy, emotional even more than physical...good. They need that.

    Overall...lovely. Brava!
  15. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Glad you liked the bit with Kermit and Piggy. Frank Oz said that Piggy's father had died early and her mother wasn't too nice to her; she made ends meet in beauty pageants and the like. From that I imagined her as always having been onstage, judged on her appearance and manner. It's so ingrained in her that that's how she sees the whole world. Kermit's only now getting an inkling that that's what's been going on. He just wants her to know he doesn't expect or want her to be gorgeous and fabulous all the time. It'll take a while for that to really sink in.

    I don't know how Scooter's little brainstorm will work out. Given how chaotic the show can be, I can see them filming backstage bits, and then having them not fit the show at all because acts got swapped around, someone came down with cluckitis, or any of the zillion other things that typically go wrong. The radio play idea would be safer...but then, can you see them trying to steer the show so it still fits with the backstage bits? Or Jan getting confused and playing the wrong scenes, or the right scenes at the wrong times? Hee hee.

    Scooter and Janken have been emotionally close for a long time. Jan's been trying a little too hard to act the way he thinks he should without understanding why, and is relieved at having been called on it. Thankfully they got it sorted out before it went too far. I think that they've planned to finally break the ice. Heh, Jan'll bring an icepick, and find that Scooter has a blowtorch, metaphorically speaking.
  16. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    I keep forgetting to post this. In case anyone was wondering what was up with Gonzo's "We accept him" shtick, it's the chant of the Freaks from Tod Browning's 1932 movie Freaks:

  17. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    Great end to another great fic! Can't wait for the next one!
  18. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Puckrox! Dunno what the next one will be, but I have a few ideas floating around in my noggin.

    And now, last and least...


    Growing Together
    Extra Features: Bloopers & Outtakes
    by Kim McFarland


    [Kermit, Fozzie, and Scooter are backstage during a rehearsal. Fozzie is in a state of tie-wringing anxiety.]

    Fozzie: I can't believe we're going to have Weird Al Yankovic on the show! He's the funniest guy in the music biz, and he's going to be right here!

    Scooter: Yeah, this'll start the season off with a bang. Can't wait to meet him, huh?

    Fozzie: I-I don't know if I can! I mean, he's so funny! Compared to him, I'm not funny at all.

    [Kermit, looking at something on his desk, frowns.]

    Fozzie: Ah, Kermit, your line.

    Kermit: "Kermit: [muttering] Compared to a cinderblock, you're still not funny"? I'm not saying this.

    Fozzie: [Surprised and a little hurt] Ouch!

    Scooter: [to the camera] Who writes this stuff?


    [Kermit hops out in front of the curtains.]

    Kermit: Welcome to The Muppet Show! Tonight we have a real treat for you. Our guest star is Weird Al Yankovic! He- [glances around the stage as if searching for someone] Weird Al?

    [Fozzie Bear, wearing a frizzy perm wig, looks out from the wings.]

    Kermit: Fozzie, what're you doing? Where's Weird Al?

    Fozzie: The check hasn't cleared yet.


    [Kermit and Miss Piggy are in Miss Piggy's dressing room.]

    Miss Piggy: I haven't shown this to anybody...

    Kermit: What?

    [Miss Piggy takes one of her gloves by the fingertips and slides it off, revealing a hand with black, hooflike fingernails. Kermit holds out his hand. Reluctantly she puts her hand in his.]

    Miss Piggy: They make me look like I was born in a stinkin' sty.

    Kermit: Now I see why your karate chops hurt so much.

    [Miss Piggy's hand closes around Kermit's in a crushing grip. Kermit yelps with pain.]

    Miss Piggy: Stick to the script, frog!


    [Janken and Scooter are asleep spoon-fashion, Scooter behind Janken. Scooter suddenly startles awake.]

    Scooter: Awk!

    Janken: [barely awake] Mnh?

    Scooter: [patting Janken's shoulder] Jan, turn toward me.

    [Janken turns to lie on his other side, facing Scooter. He smiles suggestively.]

    Janken: Wanna snuggle s'more, mmm?

    Scooter: No—I just can't sleep with you facing away 'cause every time you wag your tail you hit me right there.


    All characters except Janken are copyright © The Muppets Studio, LLC and are used without permission but with much respect and affection. Janken is copyright © Kim McFarland (negaduck9@aol.com), as is the overall story. Permission is given by the author to copy it for personal use only.
    miss kermie and Puckrox like this.
  19. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member


    I love these. Talk about Meta! I think the Muppets would approve.

    Tail hitting him right there...W00T!
  20. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Yeah, laugh it up! You're not the one getting swatted in the crotch in the middle of the night. That's surprisingly unromantic.

    I wonder how Fraggles cope. Do they just not spoon?

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