« How you can tell you've been working too much lately | Main | It's like wearing pimp clothes, only without the sexism or the stereotyping! »

Wednesday: Also, the CAP Alert guy accuses Piggy of "gamming." Unfortunate pun, really.

So, I'm talking to Eric. I'm not sure how it happened that he confessed unto me the egregious sin of not having seen The Muppets Take Manhattan, but there it was. Shaaaaaame on him.

He tried to placate me. "I did see Muppets In Space," he said.

"Muppets From Space," I replied.

This man needs education. I think that you should know that.

Anyhow. The salient point is that we're now confused about what makes Muppet cross-species romance acceptable in some situations, but freaks us out in others. While trying to sort out what other films or specials Eric might not have seen, we realized that the coupling of Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog is something we just take for granted, but Gonzo's relationship with Camilla still verges on the distressing (and, in point of fact, it has been rather heavily downplayed over the years). "That's different. They're never going to breed," asserted Eric.

What of The Muppet Christmas Carol? "Those kids are adopted. Robin's one of them."

What of the pig daughters? Look at those eyes. Those are frog eyes. Those are little figs. "True. Although those could be contacts. They're Miss Piggy's children; they'd be taught the value of accessorizing."

I throw it open. Is it the power of denial? Is it whether or not the Muppets in the pairing register to us as human? Camilla doesn't speak, although she communicates well and she plainly understands English. Does this make her a little less easy to identify with? Or is it just Gonzo's initial carnality (and, to some extent, promiscuity -- for a while, their relationship was at least somewhat open, if fraught with jealousy) that's bothersome?

Also, why are we willing to excuse the fact that, charming as she is, Piggy's an abusive spouse?

Are chickens just funnier, on average?

It's really no wonder Sam gets so het up. I'm surprised he lasted that long.

Posted by Wednesday Burns-White at September 24, 2005 3:02 PM

Comments

Comment from: TroyHickman posted at September 24, 2005 3:37 PM

Yeah, the Piggy as abusive spouse thingy bothers me, too. Tremendous double standard there. If the much more diminutive Kermit were to haul off and whack her, I have no doubt there'd be a very vocal outcry, but Piggy seems to have been given a license to thrash...

Comment from: Ardaniel posted at September 24, 2005 4:13 PM

I really think it's that Camilla appears incapable of consent, being, you know, Much More Obviously A Chicken than, for example, Kermit is a frog. It just makes Gonzo look like a big ol' alien zoophile.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at September 24, 2005 4:35 PM

I watched about half of Muppets Take Manhattan, does that count?

(though to be fair, I've also watched The Muppet Movie (which should be required viewing), The Great Muppet Caper, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, and more episodes of the Muppet Show than is probably healthy for me.)

To me, what makes Gonzo's chicken fetish more disturbing is the fact that, as has been me tnioned, Camilla is very Obviously A Chicken. She's still chicken-sized, still talks in clucks (though she apparently understands english 100% OK), and still apparently engages in normal chicken-like behavior. (Plus, there's also the fact that Gonzo is Definitely A Weirdo, which plays into that quite a bit). In contrast, Kermit and Piggy are much more anthropomorphized, so that bit of interspecies relations is viewed as being Fine And Dandy.

As for the abusiveness of Miss Piggy? Not touching it. I don't feel like being HIIII-YA'd into the nearest wall.

(Oh yes, and since no mention of the Muppets should go without this, Mahna Mahna.)

Comment from: Miklon posted at September 24, 2005 5:12 PM

Muppets don't procreate.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at September 24, 2005 5:25 PM

Miklon: Then explain Robin and Scooter. Each of them has an on-show uncle. What with all the begatting that goes on, surely there is a great deal of good will towards Muppets.

Denver-fu trumps Mahna. Say, did you know that John Denver's real name is Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.?

Comment from: Wednesday posted at September 24, 2005 5:27 PM

Speaking of Denver-fu, this just became way more ominous-sounding:

"Just a minute. Just a minute. Why stop there? Now, I think it should say, 'Peace on Earth, good will towards men, women, and chickeeeeens.'"
"Uh, how about bears?"
"I think it should say, 'Peace on Earth, good will towards men and women and chickens and bears? And Dizzy Gillespie.'"

Comment from: Miklon posted at September 24, 2005 6:00 PM

Wednesday: Um... Bunson Honeydew used a portion of Robin and Scooter's "uncles" DNA in order to create them... maybe?

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at September 24, 2005 6:03 PM

What bugs me about the Muppets is that there were two cuts released to theaters of The Muppet Movie in 1979, and only the abridged version is ever released on home video. And the difference can only be about five minutes.

(My stepson plays Sarah McLachlan's Rainbow Connection to his newborn and his stepson.)

I'm pretty sure The Muppets Take Manhattan was the last Muppet movie I saw. That's the one with the opening titles over a balloon ride, and all the fourth-wall breaking all movie, innit? I have always wanted to see Christmas Carol though.

But to answer the questions? Piggy's violence is no more worrisome to me than Tom and Jerry's. And I don't think I ever thought Gonzo-and-Camilla was weirder than Piggy-and-Kermit, excepting only to the degree than anything Gonzo does must be weird.

"'Good grief, the comedian's a bear!'"

Comment from: Wednesday posted at September 24, 2005 6:07 PM

Paul: No, the fourth wall breaker/balloon opening is The Great Muppet Caper.

"No, he's-a not, he's-a wearin' a neck-a-tie."

Comment from: Wednesday posted at September 24, 2005 6:09 PM

And... hrm. They're reissuing The Muppet Movie again in November, with all kinds of shinies, so it might be worth a bit of digging to confirm whether they're using the usual home video edit.

Comment from: quiller posted at September 24, 2005 6:22 PM

On the other hand, in Gonzo and Camilla's favor, they are both quite fowl. Whereas Amphibians and Mammals are pretty darn removed on the evolutionary spectrum.

"The little patter of soles! The little feet of tadpoles!"
"Uh, tadpoles don't have feet, Fozzy."

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 24, 2005 6:43 PM

It's the anthropomorphic question. When two anthropomorphic animals want to get together, it's okay. but when one anthopormorphic thing wants to get together with an animal that isn't, that's when it feels queasy to some folk.

"What's wrong with the drummer? He seems a little crazed."
"Oh, he's just upset about missing the Monet exhibit at the museum."
"Renoir! Renoir!"

Comment from: DocN posted at September 24, 2005 7:08 PM

You know, I don't think I ever gave the least moment's thought to any of that 'til just now. Please pass the brain-bleach, thanks.

It was just part of the gag, like Pepe le'Pew going after the painted black cat, or Elmer Fudd's robot "falling" for Bugs who is dressed in a bucket and trash can. Hell, Tweety once got amorously involved with Sylvester's thumb, just because he'd painted eys and lips on it.

Was it all any more or less believable than somebody taking an anvil to the skull or swallowing a stick of dynamite, and surviving?

Doc.

Comment from: Shawn L. posted at September 24, 2005 7:29 PM

To comment specifically on the "spousal abuse" thing, well, I think thats simply explained. The age range that the muppets are emulating, and to a certain degree targeting, are at the age where, if I a girl liked you, she'd be just as likely to wallop you as to hug you.

Just how seriously does one take muppets, anyways?

Comment from: Alan Sharkey posted at September 24, 2005 7:33 PM

If they've got a gun aimed at you, very seriously.

Those were some tense times down at the Muppet Show.

Comment from: MasonK posted at September 24, 2005 7:59 PM

Muppets Take Manhattan is one of two Muppet movies I don't own. It's also my favorite of them all, barely beating out the first and best.

I need to correct that, someday.

(The other is Muppet Christmas Carol, which I could take or leave.)

Comment from: thok posted at September 24, 2005 8:00 PM

To comment specifically on the "spousal abuse" thing, well, I think thats simply explained. The age range that the muppets are emulating, and to a certain degree targeting, are at the age where, if I a girl liked you, she'd be just as likely to wallop you as to hug you.

Huh? I always thought Miss Piggy was supposed to be parodying a Hollywood diva type and not a ten year old. (Not that you can tell the difference half the time.) The Kermit-Miss Piggy pairing isn't that different from say Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Also, would Piggy have been viewed as abusive back in the day, rather than just overly assertive and self-absorbed?

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at September 24, 2005 8:17 PM

For my money, it was Muppets From Space that made the Gonzo/Camilla thing weird. Beforehand we pretty much assumed that he was some weird cross between a turkey and a mosquito. And yes, that in itself is harrowing, but that would be an explaination for how messed up Gonzo is. Now that its revealed that he's an alien, it throws a whole new light on that, though now that I mention it I can't seem to remember if Camilla was in Muppets from Space. In any case, I think it's worth noting that Camilla does seem to speak a language that Gonzo understands. Which means that as far as all that is concerned it would be the same as a relationship between a human and a wookie... which would be disgusting... so yeah.

I always thought that the Kermit/Piggy relationship was bad news, and species never entered into it. It just seemed like Piggy held the cards in it and abused the fact on all fronts

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at September 24, 2005 9:05 PM

Piggy started out as a visual riff on Loretta Swit.

Muppets don't seem to really have multiple species...the various morphologies are more akin to races, both in terms of being interfertile and how some react to relationships. It's somewhat racy, perhaps, but not sick. Some races are more clannish than others.

It's when there's something between a Muppet and a human that it gets sick. Plushies.

Comment from: Sundre posted at September 24, 2005 9:23 PM

But muppets do reproduce. Asexually, via budding.

Comment from: UrsulaV posted at September 24, 2005 10:06 PM

I have always felt, on some deep instinctive level, that muppets should not be sexualized. And then I saw "Meet the Feebles" and dear god, now I know WHY.

Kermit was definitely too good for Piggy, but I never really gave it much thought beyond that. But obviously they had to reproduce, or where did the accursed Muppet Babies come from?

Comment from: John Duncan posted at September 24, 2005 10:21 PM

Kermit was definitely too good for Piggy


It's not easy being green.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at September 24, 2005 10:44 PM

where did the accursed Muppet Babies come from?

A rather bizarre musical number from Muppets Take Manhattan in which Piggy fantasized about what it would've been like if they'd all known each other since they were really little. (I at least watched enough of Muppets Take Manhattan to get to that part, at any rate.)

Comment from: Shaenon posted at September 24, 2005 11:01 PM

My friend Karoline posited that Miss Piggy is a drag queen. This would explain a lot.

Comment from: Kate Sith posted at September 24, 2005 11:05 PM

[blockquote]And then I saw "Meet the Feebles" and dear god, now I know WHY.[/blockquote]

::sigh:: I love that movie. Such good memories. It takes a special kind of film to make you go "what the FUCK?" even after sitting through an entire box set of freaky fetish hentai (Cool Devices, if you must know). Such good times.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at September 24, 2005 11:42 PM

A rather bizarre musical number from Muppets Take Manhattan in which Piggy fantasized about what it would've been like if they'd all known each other since they were really little. (I at least watched enough of Muppets Take Manhattan to get to that part, at any rate.)

I remember that. I have seen MTM after all.

And... hrm. They're reissuing The Muppet Movie again in November, with all kinds of shinies, so it might be worth a bit of digging to confirm whether they're using the usual home video edit.

I think I remember reading of that and entertaining the same hope. I'm trying to think of an example of something to look for to know whether it's the long version or the short version, but it's been too many years. Well, I recall that the recap when Dr. Teeth is reading the script in the church has actual flashbacks in the long version but is truncated to little more than a quick voice-over in the short version, but I can't recall any specific shots of flashback that would signify restoration of the long version. Sorry; I only know I'll know it when I see it. God, I loved that movie. Saw it ten times that summer - got me through a rough patch.

Comment from: Thomas Blight posted at September 25, 2005 12:08 AM

I never actually saw all of any of the muppet movies... Except maybe a Muppet Christmas Carol or whatever it was called. I should go find those...

"Sir, they can't hear you wiggling your ears on the radio"

Comment from: Sean McCulloch posted at September 25, 2005 12:33 AM

One of the things I really dislike about the whole post-Jim Henson Muppets is the Kermit/Piggy relationship. In the Muppet Show, Piggy was absorbed in Kermit, but also forgot about him and jumped all over any hot male guest star around. Kermit did his best to deflect or ignore Piggy, but would use her interest if it helped the show to go on.

Even the "marriage" at the end of Muppets Take Manhattan fits this mold. Piggy wants something, and Kermit agrees to it mainly because he's in front of a giant audience watching the show.

Oh well. Muppets Tonight could've been a really good idea, but the feel (and crappy new characters) was wrong. I would've loved to see a Prince episode, for example, where everyone is walking around as "The Muppet Formerly Known As.."

Comment from: Sean McCulloch posted at September 25, 2005 12:34 AM

Forgot my quote- it's lame, but cracks my wife up whenever I say it..

"It's a good thing frogs can hop, otherwise I'd be Gone With the Schwinn"

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at September 25, 2005 12:47 AM

Are the muppets furries?

Comment from: kirabug posted at September 25, 2005 1:06 AM

They also cut huge chunks of the Muppet Christmas Special when they released it on VHS a few years ago. Fortunately, my dad's still got a taped version from the early 90s (including ads - talk about a movie that causes nostalgia no matter what) that's still complete.

I still have problems listening to "Bein' Green" - of course, I'mnot alone.

As for Miss Piggy, I thought she was a Dolly Parton clone. Either way I always hoped Kermit would eventually shake her and find someone good for him -- but then, his life would get awfully boring.

"Hello hello hello gimmie presents!.... Ah. Pig."*drops phone*
-Animal

Comment from: Wednesday posted at September 25, 2005 1:16 AM

One or the other of the DVD releases for that Christmas special restores at least some of the missing footage. I don't remember whether it's the R1 barebones version or the R2 double bill with A Christmas Toy, though (my family has both). It's not so much that they cut it for VHS as that they were given the edited-for-cable version; I think there's some music rights issues as well as time edits bound up in there.

I need to see if my copy of The Muppet Movie has the right Dr. Teeth footage -- I know what edits are being referenced as well, but would have to see them. I'm also wondering if it's got the grasshopper drink order.

Rewatched the mad doctor scene tonight. I'd forgotten how brilliant that was. "I despise the surfeit of provincial laughter."

Comment from: siwangmu posted at September 25, 2005 2:12 AM

Re: the "Miss Piggy: ten-year-old or movie star" thing, oddly I find that what her appearance most strongly evokes is a ten-year-old dressed as a movie star. With the boa, and the colorful make-up, but it all kinda looking childish and wrong...

That could just be me.

Comment from: ormond_sacker posted at September 25, 2005 4:20 AM

I can't really go to the not-yet-existant season 2 DVDs to verify; but didn't one of the pre-Camilla episodes have Gonzo checking out an actual fershluggin' chicken? As in a flesh-and-blood, non-Muppet G. Gallus that had turned up to audition? That's just all kinds of unsettling.
Less unsettling than the Feebles, mind you.

Comment from: Freak posted at September 25, 2005 11:33 AM

This just keeps reminding me of that pseudo-outtake from Princess Rouge. "I had a role in the new muppet movie. Two days before the shoot, I was replaced by a sock."

Comment from: Ian K. posted at September 25, 2005 1:40 PM

I've always been a little bit more disturbed by the Kermit/Piggy relationship than the Gonzo/Camilla relationship, actually.

Now that you have me thinking about why that might be, though, I don't think the species thing entered into my mind. Gonzo/Camilla is, well... really funny to me whereas with Kermit/Piggy, I always end up thinking "Why are they together?" or more specifically, "Why is he with her?" Because I love Kermit but I find Miss Piggy to be reprehensible.

For street Cred - I've met the LaChoy Dragon and, for Halloween once, I dressed up as Angus McGonagal the Gershwin Gargling Gargoyle.

Comment from: BadgerGirl posted at September 25, 2005 2:39 PM

I always found Gonzo and Camilla really cute!

Also, maybe Eric's condition is better than mine and my friend Derek's... We spent from 11:30 at night to midnight in a Rogers, rhapsodizing about The Muppet Show to employees before impulse-buying it. I also have stuffed animals of Gonzo, Beaker and Animal.

My favourite segment from the original has to be the one with the folk singer muppets talking about getting to Tomorrow today.

Comment from: BadgerGirl posted at September 25, 2005 2:39 PM

Oops, meant to Morrow. That's what I get for not hitting preview.

Comment from: Clodia posted at September 25, 2005 3:10 PM

I've never been very impressed with any of the Muppet movies except for the Muppet Christmas Carol. It is my favorite version of A Christmas Carol simply because it does not take itself too seriously, thereby trivializing the story due to camp. Also, Michael Caine is one of my favorite actors of all time and I adore Gonzo, so seeing him as Charles Dickens just makes my day.

Comment from: abb3w posted at September 25, 2005 8:55 PM

Sexualized muppet-like things can be funny, too. Track down the Soundtrack for the musical "Avenue Q" from Amazon or the like, or check out the (unauthorized) flash animation by feeding "The Internet is for..." into Google. (NB: The musical is NOT put out by the Henson or Sesame Street team... although many have attended as patrons. See the musical's website.)

My favorite classic Muppets skit was where Paul Williams is singing "Old Fashioned Love Song"... in three part harmony with his two Muppet doppelgangers.

And since no-one else has put out the obligatory Muppet discussion response yet...

"Do doo be-do-do, be-do-do, be-do-do, be-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!"

Comment from: Aerin posted at September 25, 2005 9:41 PM

Ah, Avenue Q. The cutest Broadway show that ever made the baby Jesus cry.

"Grab your dick and double-click for porn, porn, porn!"

Comment from: Paul A. posted at September 25, 2005 11:13 PM

I find the Kermit-Piggy relationship a lot easier to take because I've never believed for a moment that there's anything to it. I mean, she clearly has a thing for him, but equally clearly it's entirely one-sided, and I don't believe it's ever gone anywhere off-stage. All the indications to the contrary are just the studio publicists playing up to the romantic notions of the fans: Kermit and Piggy are the Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont of Muppets.

(Yes, I know they got married in The Muppets Take Manhattan. But The Muppets Take Manhattan is only a movie.)

Comment from: gwalla posted at September 25, 2005 11:27 PM

Meet The Feebles is required viewing.

The Sodomy Song is genius.

Comment from: TheNintenGenius posted at September 25, 2005 11:32 PM

And since no-one else has put out the obligatory Muppet discussion response yet...

"Do doo be-do-do, be-do-do, be-do-do, be-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!"

What'chu talkin' bout? I was all over that Mahna Mahna action in my post up above.

Comment from: abb3w posted at September 26, 2005 12:21 AM

"Do doo be-do-do, be-do-do, be-do-do, be-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do!"
What'chu talkin' bout? I was all over that Mahna Mahna action in my post up above.
"Mahna Mahna" comment, yes; but no-one had made the proper "be-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do" response yet.

Now, everybody get ready for a round of "I'm just Wild about Harry"....

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 26, 2005 7:30 AM

Damn, I don't remember the words to that song. Is it okay if I go with "Cabin Fever"?

Comment from: quiller posted at September 26, 2005 2:04 PM

I'm just embarassed I misquoted the Muppet Movie so badly that I replaced Ralph with Fozzie. It's apparently been entirely too long.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at September 26, 2005 2:10 PM

Rowlf, surely. :)

(Why does everyone call him Ralph?)

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at September 26, 2005 2:11 PM

We've got cabin fever// Its burning in our brains// We've got cabin fever// Its driving us insane

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 26, 2005 2:44 PM

Cabin fever has ravaged all aboard
This once proud vessel has become a floating psycho ward
We were sailing, sailing headed who knows where
And now though we're all here
We're not all there

I'd just like to mention that the last two lines work in any number of group situations.

Comment from: jpcardier posted at September 26, 2005 8:16 PM

I've heard the arguement that Gonzo was originally supposed to be a chickenhawk, but that it got dropped. On the other hand, I do not remember seeing anything to back up that hypothesis, watching a good deal of the Muppets shows a couple of years ago.

Some of my personal favorite episodes:

Alice Cooper. This was sooo cool.
Paul Williams. The man is practically a Muppet himself.
John Cleese. Can you go wrong with Cleese?
Nureyev. Someone who you would never expect to be able to take a joke.
Vincent Price. Another just cool show.

"Phenomon!"

Comment from: Paul A. posted at September 26, 2005 10:01 PM

I think you mean "Phenomena". (do doo be-do-do)

(And you should see what happens when I say, "Shave and a haircut"...)

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at September 27, 2005 10:05 AM

"He's got to be crazy as a Toon if he thinks that's gonna..."

Comment from: Paul A. posted at September 27, 2005 11:58 AM

"Nose? That don't rhyme with 'walls'."

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 27, 2005 4:58 PM

Christopher Reeve.

"I didn't bring it with me."

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at September 27, 2005 7:22 PM

"How do you think my eyes got this way?"

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 28, 2005 3:38 PM

The Muppet Christmas Carol cracks me up, particularly the new guy, da Rat, Rizzo. The byplay between Gonzo and Rizzo helps take this tale, oft overdone and almost cliche, and make it fun and silly all over again.

and for my Muppet reference, a quote from an mp3 currently playing in my ear...

"Tit willow. tit willow. Tit willow."

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at September 28, 2005 3:49 PM

And I said to him, "Dickeybird," (see, that's you, Sam. You -- you play the part of the dickeybird.) "W-why do you sit, singing --!"

"...dickeybird." *sigh* "Willow. Tit willow. Tit willow."

Pissed me off to learn that was G&S. I'm way too trash to be allowed to like that.

Rizzo's actually been around for a good while. He was among the group of rats in that style from the last season of The Muppet Show and Great Muppet Caper, but gets better established in Muppets Take Manhattan. The Gonzo/Rizzo thing's pretty much a device to deflect attention from Steve Whitmire's gradual mastery of Kermit, though.

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 28, 2005 4:45 PM

Oh, aye, I discovered that Rizzo'd been around a while.. LONG after I saw the Christmas Carol. However, as I'd been pretending to be a grown-up and hadn't been watching the muppet films as they came out (of course, I could never hide my love of the show or the original film), so when I saw the Muppet Christmas Carol, Rizzo was an unknown to me. Thus, he's still "the new guy" in my head. Either way... the bit with the jelly beans... and the kiss? priceless.

Re: Muppet Treasure Island... my nephew went around for months saying "Not bad for an Aunt Vivian" in confusion for "not bad for an amphibian." Thus assuring that movie's place in the family history books for-evah.

Comment from: Paul A. posted at September 30, 2005 9:57 AM

A Caribbean Aunt Vivian?

Comment from: larksilver posted at September 30, 2005 12:05 PM

AUTHOR: larksilver
EMAIL: larksilver@hotmail.com
IP: 207.231.32.2
URL:
DATE: 09/30/2005 12:05:54 PM
AUTHOR: larksilver
EMAIL: larksilver@hotmail.com
IP: 207.231.32.2
URL:
DATE: 09/30/2005 12:05:54 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?