I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me
La da da di da da dum da duh da da dum di da ohhh
— Kermit The Frog
By now, you’ve heard the news: Miss Piggy and Kermit The Frog have split up. We thought they’d last forever, those two, but it was not to be.
They both seem happy. Miss Piggy, the BBC news service earnestly informed the world last month, “is in a relationship with the actor Topher Grace.” A human male.
Kermit, meanwhile, goes googley-eyed every time Denise, the marketing manager, saunters by. Did we mention she’s a pig?
Kermie has tweeted a denial of any relationship. Still, there’s definitely something there. Is Kermit’s choice of a skinnier pig a form of fat-shaming? Is his interest in a red-head good PR for gingers, who are often ignored and even bullied? Is it okay to have a “type”? And what about Denise?
We’ll find out the answers to these questions (or not) next week, when The Muppets return to weekly television. The first episode’s at 8 p.m., and parents be warned: It’s supposedly not for the youngest of your kidlets. It is, critics are saying, “edgier” (“they are taking The Muppets out of their traditional family based audience”). The setting is a late-night talk show.
“The show’s going to be all about our personal lives, you know, behind the scenes! Our relationships. Sort of an adult Muppet Show.” So said Kermit as he announced the launch to a roomful of felted critters.
All this is good news for older fans. Muppets, after all, have spanned multiple generations.
Many of us started as wee ones watching Sesame Street, which taught us letters and cooperation and The Count’s counting and Cookie Monster’s food fetish and… and… and everything. And still, our newest generation can snuggle up with a grown up and read about their favorite Muppets thanks to the Sesame Street Book Club (most 1991 to 1993, and filed in the Lennoxville Library’s children’s section at C-106). Ernie’s Neighborhood features Ernie’s efforts to mail an envelope for his pal Bert in time for the late afternoon pickup, although there are many distractions along the way. Elmo’s Alphabet also stars Big Bird, with the two happily considering the Yo-yo, the Rocket, the Kite, and 23 more… A Day In The Life Of Oscar The Grouch is hilarious (and grumpy). The perfect brekkie consists of orange rinds, rotten eggs, burned bacon, and stale bread crumbs. “What a great meal!”
Don’t miss The Case Of The Missing Duckie, in which Ernie enlists the aid of Sherlock Hemlock, the detective, when Ernie’s bestie goes missing: “You know, Rubber Duckie, you are my very best friend. I could never take a bath without you. Who would I talk to if I felt lonely? Who would cheer me up if I got soapsuds in my eye? Gee, Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you.”
Yet in 2014, Sesame Workshop was $11 million (US) in the red. A five-season deal inked last month with the premium-pay channel HBO may just allow the non-profit company to survive. (PBS will continue to air Sesame Street, but nine months later.)
Kermit The Frog is one of the very few crossover critters who can be seen on both Sesame Street and The Muppets. Multiple variants of The Muppet Show ran in the 1970s and the early ‘80s, with Kermit starring as variety showrunner and host. His human, of course, was Jim Henson, who created it all. (You can request 2011’s Jim Henson: The Man Who Played With Puppets, by Kathleen Krull, via interlibrary loan; find The Muppet Wiki, with its 28,326 pages of “everything related to Jim Henson, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and The Muppets Studio,” online at muppet.wikia.com/).
As we wait for this new Muppet Show with crossed fingers and hopes of continued glory, remember the villain in the very first Muppet Movie: “[A]ll my life I wanted to own a thousand frog-leg restaurants, and you’re the key, greenie.”
Cue Kermit: “Yeah well, I’ve got a dream too, but it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with.”
This new Muppet Show, though, might well add the reply that sharing frog legs make people’s tummies very, v-e-r-y happy.
If the new Muppet Show is not for the very young, you can still get them hooked on puppets. Try I Can Make That! Fantastic Crafts For Kids (by Mary Wallace, 2014, filed at 745 WAL C-550); Wallace has also written I Can Make Puppets (1994, at 745.59 WAL C-540). Or check out Make Your Own Performing Puppets by Teddy Cameron Long (1995, at 745.59 LON C-540).
— Eleanor Brown, September 18, 2015