Kermit and Piggy’s Marriage is a Sham
Posted by Chad Quandt
Kermit and Piggy aren’t really married. We need to nail this down for my Muppet Christmas Nativity set (Robin plays Baby Jesus, it doesn’t make complete sense). We have six months!
You may think that The Muppets are fictional, collections of felt and wires manipulated by master muppeteer. You’d be wrong. You may think that Kermit and company are exactly how they’re portrayed in the films and show. You’d be even more wrong, mostly because you watch the shows and should know better. If you aren’t tracking the genealogy of Camilla the Chicken, then I don’t even know who you are. It’s like a prince trying to make conversation with a pauper.
The cold reality, and brace your children who are clutching their little Fozzie dolls as you read this to them: The events in The Muppets movies and shows are not reality; they are actors, living different lives that the ones on-screen. Kind of.
According to an old Jim Henson article, Kermit and Piggy are separate entities outside of the shows. They are living things that live their lives when not doing movies about aliens or evil restaurant owners.
In the show’s course there’s a wedding, led by a little, old man who acts as minister… As the film ends, it’s apparent that Kermit has married Miss Piggy. Kermit says – and will continue to say – on interviews and such, “I’m just an actor and when two actors marry on stage, they’re only acting.” But Miss Piggy continues to bring in this minister as evidence that they’re really married. So, the argument will continue on hopefully into — I don’t know what — we’ll wait and see.— Jim Henson, August 1984
So thinking Piggy and Kermit are married is as ludicrous as assuming Ray Ramano and Patricia Heaton were together. Now, they may have hooked up in the light room between takes, but that’s just an understood industry standard: if you act as a couple, you’re allowed to bang without any fear of consequence in the real world. This is the main reason Catherine Zeta Jones allowed herself to marry Michael Douglas; she knew she’d be getting sweet A-list and B-list action regularly guilt-free. Things in Hollywood are starting to make a lot of sense now, aren’t they?
The word “meta” is thrown around too much now (thanks Community), but it’s rather impressive to see that Henson made another level to The Muppets existence. Even if it was just to make television talk show appearances entertaining, there’s an air of care and thought put into The Muppets “off-screen” alter-egos. It even sets up a wonderful running gag that Miss Piggy thinks Kermit and her are married because they got hitched in The Muppets Take Manhattan, while Kermit has to fend off her advances off the set. The only thing that could make it more complex is if the muppeteers for the frog and pig got together (which would’ve been Frank Oz and Jim Henson for most of the time).
It sets up so much wonder about their world; does Kermit have a thing with Janice when the cameras are off? Has Rowlf done blow with John Belushi backstage? Is Animal really just a committed method actor who lives a quiet life with three adopted children? All black just to make the imagery even more touching somehow?
This is how Henson didn’t fuck around; I have not gotten the impression that there is more than one Kermit. If there’s a performance and the right muppeteer can’t make it, the audience is given an excuse such as “Kermit is in NY for the VMAs”. There’s never any winking along with the adults and parents that “Oh yea, we know this isn’t real”. There’s a commitment to it, and that makes the entire thing a lot more fun. Mickey Mouse has coasted on nostalgia love for years; old folks thinking back to a time when they grew up watching his cartoons. On a Disney cruise, when Mickey comes out, it’s known by everyone that it’s a suit. I remember knowing this as far back as age eight, thinking “Well, that’s actually some guy name Carl who doubles as the omelette cook at this restaurant, he’s not talking because his real voice sounds like cigarettes run through a sausage machine”.
I’d like to share the only version of Kermit and Piggy’s movie marriage I could find. Someone please explain what this was for. How was this an inside joke for an ultimate frisbee group?