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When Kermit Met Piggy...

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by Speed Tracer, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Here's a little insightful remark from Luke, a golden oldie or MC, which I picked up from another thread...Food for thought.

    Gigglesock, it's so great that you loved Kermit after The Muppet Movie!
  2. Speed Tracer Well-Known Member

    I've said it before, but... man, this thread is great.
  3. Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Thrilled by your enthusiastic response (grateful you haven't told me to hush up and sit down), I thought I'd put my philosophical mood to good use (or at least, some use) and wax on about my favorite topic.

    What, exactly, made the muppets so attractive to, well, everyone when The Muppet Show came out, and what has happened to them since?

    First of all, let me shout that Jim was right about--well, most things--but I was talking specifically about the point that the muppets are not entertainment for children. In the spirit of Edgar Bergen Charlie McCarthy--who DID NOT, I'd like to point out, make a living doing children's birthday parties--the muppets were never intended as television solely for children. While Sesame Street certainly high-lighted the talents of the muppets and the amazing muppeteers who brought them to life, it was only a small facet of what was possible. Even when Jim secured agent Bernie Brillstein, he had a hard time getting past the sterotype of puppets as something that entertained children. Jim wanted more, and how lucky are we that he got it!

    Still, he was unable to get backing from American television stations for a show for adults which featured puppet-thingys. Stations, which, I'd like to point out, were happy to run The Jetsons and The Flintstones a decade earlier. Undeterred (but probably exasperated! Anybody but me want to imagine Jim waving his arms above his head and having a fit?), Jim looked for free-thinkers elsewhere, securing the help and support of the wonderful Lord Lew Grade, who believed in Jim and his dream. A television show was born, and the rest was smooth sail--no wait. It DIDN'T go smoothly. Having gotten a green light on the show, there was still the problem of convincing high-paid adults with security issues (um, ACTORS) to appear on the show. The first year was actually a little wobbly, but adults kept tuning in, liking what they saw. Eventually, EVERYBODY wanted to be on the muppets, and most of them had a character they were dying to work with.

    Never one to do one thing when he could do twenty, Jim wanted to make muppet movies, and those were sandwiched into the schedule to allow work on the series and the movies at the same time. By the time they filmed the third movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan, the mania for things muppet was so huge that news of the The Frogs upcoming nuptials caused a furor that would have put Britney Whoever right off the front page. This was a BIG DEAL, the culmination of everything we'd seen so far.

    Right after TMTM wrapped, Jim moved on to The Dark Crystal, probably one of his least understood undertakings. I don't know what to say, except that Jim seemed to NEED to flex his wings and to push the envelope of what was possible in his craft. Did he intend to leave the muppets for a bit, to leave Kermit and Piggy in happily wedded bliss while he did something else. It looks that way to me. I'm not suggesting that Jim was abandoning the muppets, but that, as a performer, he needed to do SOMETHING ELSE for a bit. (As a parent, I can sooooo understand this impulse.) The muppets continued to do specials, but it would be eight years before they reappeared in a movie.

    Since I am sooooo an advocate of the frog-pig union (ahem), I'd like to point out two quick things. During the 30-year anniversary, we get to see Piggy and Kermit acting quite lovely dovey, and Piggy even referes to Kermit's transformation into a "happily married frog." Kermit DOES NOT argue, but looks pretty darned pleased with himself. I'm guessing married life held more than a few surprises, and most of them were good! The second thing is that, when we do see Kermit and Piggy again, they are portraying a married couple. If you've ever doubted Piggy's ability to be domestic, then watch this movie again. It's worth a thoughtful look to see them acting so...so happily settled with each other. Okay--end of rant--back to the topic. (What WAS the topic?)

    Oh! Oh, right. Well, when we see the muppets in a movie again, Jim is gone. I don't know about the rest of you, but I sat in my movie seat in a paroxysm of agony wondering if I would know Kermit when I saw him again. Happily, I did, but I burst into tears when he began to sing. I had heard Kermit sing many times, and the difference was just pronounced to remind me that Jim was, indeed, gone. This movie met with mixed success. Some say it is because it wasn't an "original" movie. To that, I say, "pooh." In addition to being a dedicated muppet fan, I'm a Scrooge-o-phile, and I have about every movie version of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol I can lay hands on. (Two years ago, I got TMS:Season 1 and three--count 'em, THREE--versions I didn't have!) If there's a more heartwarming story to bring the muppets own peculiar charm to, I don't know what it is. But I imagine that this was a different experience all around for everyone who worked on the film. It wasn't just that Jim's Kermit was gone--but the author of this particular, peculiar universe was gone, and while the ship didn't sink, it was, in some respects, not charting a strong course.

    Let no one accuse me of disparaging the work that was done. God bless 'em, I say, for the hard work and wonderful moments that have come after Jim. But no one--NO ONE--can truly continue someone else's dream--only their version of it. Happily for us, their version included the amazing pairing of Rizzo and Gonzo, shown to stupendous effect in MCC, and many other magic moments in this movie and others to come.

    Four years later, we got MTI. I am going to abandon rationale thought for a minute and say, "Any excuse to see Piggy in leopard print and purple feathers is okay with me." Again, a classic tale (should that be tail?) that uses the talents of The Muppets in some unpredictably funny ways. Once again, let me point out that Kermit's interaction with Piggy--or, I guess I should say, Captain Smollet's interaction with Benjamina Gunn--is very tender. This is a Kermit I want to pat on the head and say, "Good boy," not smack in frustration.

    Gee, I'm getting long-winded again.
    Rizzo: What do you mean, getting?
    Me: Okay, okay--keep your shorts on. I'm getting there.
    Rizzo: I'm not wearing any shorts.
    Gonzo: Me either.
    Me: (fleeing room) TMI! TMI! (too much information!)

    So, here is where I'm going to leave it for a bit. But the question that dangles in the air as obviously as Piggy's voluptuous leopard-print form is: When, exactly, did it become open season on Piggy and the validity of her relationship with Kermit? Everything was fine so far, although there was the usual amount of tension between Piggy, who wants to bask in Kermit's presence 24/7 and Kermit, who has a pretty full plate.

    Everybody chime in now! And if you don't tell me to put a cork in it, I will return and wax, poetic or eloquent or something later about what happened, when it happened, and why.
  4. BeakerSqueedom Active Member

    Wow, I am speechless. You described everything with extreme details. Now it does not seem that their relationship has died but instead has continued.

    *Has read your explanation 3 times* XD I loved it.
  5. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Actually, The Dark Crystal came before The Muppets Take Manhatan. Were you confusing this with Labrynth?
  6. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    What do you mean by this?
  7. Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    Oh, I must have misunderstood the notes I took from the Smithsonian exhibit. I looked it up, and you must be correct--I suppose I was thinking of Labyrinth, which came out just after. The Dark Crystal came out BEFORE TMTM. THe internet is a wonderful place, but it can be very inspecific. Case in point, you can find out when movies were released, but not when filming started. Muppet Wiki says that work on THe Dark Crystal actually predated work on The Muppet Movie, but I can't find a specific filming start day for any of the muppet movies. Anyway, thanks for the clarification!

    Oh, and the other is not even that interesting. I collect versions of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol." I have one with Mr. Magoo, one with Fred Flintstone, Mickey Mouse, Kelsey Grammar, etc. I got three new versions of "A Christmas Carol" in movie form the same year I got TMS: Season One.
  8. minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I think planning for The Dark Crystal began in the 1970s, but production didn't begin until after The Great Muppet Caper. I think that planning for The Muppet Movie began in 1977 or 1978 (at the very least a deal was made for the Muppets to star in a movie by that point).
  9. Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Muppet Christmas Carol was amazing. There was Kermit, and Piggy, happily married as they should be. Yes, they were playing parts. But the domestic bliss settled nicely on my soul. I was upset that Piggy's role in the movie was so slim (Not that she was slim herself...don't give her my number), but it was great. She played emotion and humor off each other, and it worked.

    I'm with Ru on the subject of MTI. Piggy...costumes...h'oh boy. She had a great role in that movie, and I remember reading a transcript of interviews surrounding MTI in which Piggy explains how difficult it was to play a scene in which Kermit was, perish the thought, supposed to have left her at the alter. "Remember that scene, Kermie?" she croons. "Down by the water, with vous e moi?"

    Well, well, well. Then we got Muppet's From Space.

    I don't know what was going on in that movie. There is no rational way to explain that movie. Anyone care to chime in?

    All I can say is, thank goodness for VMC bringing back the love.
  10. tiggergirl19 Member

    The one that I know is true for Kermit & Piggy

    I have watched the Muppets take Manhatten a lot of times and even when it was on TCM, when it was one of the movie award show time seasons, and in that Piggy and Kermit are ridding in a horse-drawn carriage in the park in NYC, and Piggy is remember or telling Kermit that it would be strange if they were in love or hade their relationship even when they were babies and then it goes to the Muppet Babies sence with them all singing in the nursery and Piggy trying to get Kermit away from all of the guys. :) :halo:
  11. Ruahnna Well-Known Member

    If I might hazard a short guess--and YES, I can be brief--I would say that, belive it or not, it was an attempt to be safe. Who doesn't love Gonzo? And with the wonderfully talented Dave Goelz at hand,n and an established, loved character ready to star, it must have seemed like a shoe-in. It also allowed them (sortof) to side-step the Kermit-Piggy relationship, which just wasn't going like it should. Steve seems fine with Frank as Piggy in TMI, but here, it's as though Kermit and Piggy had never met before except on stage. Maybe Steve's voice as Rizzo--which was so well-featured here, interfered with him developing Kermit at this point. Kermit's not himself in this movie--he's passive and not supportive of Gonzo like the Kermit that would allow Gonzo to eat a tire to the tune of "Flight of the Bumblebee."
    Okay--for ME, that IS short.

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