Well, it finally happened. If the mainstream entertainment press can be trusted, you and Miss Piggy are officially kaput. Mind you, I’m still a little skeptical – when it comes to celebrities, the pen can be a dirty business, never mind the pigpen. But so far, you and she have backed this one up.
I wish I could say I was surprised.
I’m sorry if that sounds a little harsh. My sisters and I grew up on you, after all. We watched “The Muppet Show” religiously during its original run, objecting loudly when Mom wanted us to miss an episode for some silly reason like taking Dad to the emergency room. OK, granted, he had just fallen on the ice and needed several stitches in his forehead, but still – Muppets!
The show had it all. Good music. Intelligent humor. Projectile fish. To this day, I can quote several of the sketches by heart, and know that if I ever call out “Mahna Mahna,” someone in the room will respond with “Doot doo, do doo doo.” Classics do that to you.
But even then, I think we could all see the tension between you two.
Oh, the movies made a lot of the “meant to be” romance; Hollywood does that. But on the original show, it was pretty obvious what was going on. Half the time, Miss Piggy would chase you harder than Batman pursuing a villain of the week. The other half, she’d flirt non-stop with any cute guest star that caught her eye. (John Denver seemed to be a particular object of porcine passion – I suppose there’s something to be said for country ham.(
You? You were usually caught up in the latest drama of the moment, oblivious to – or even mocking of – any attempts at romance that were less subtle than a karate chop to the gut. Which you caught, more than once.
I hate to imagine the medical bills.
This isn’t a formula for long-term romance. Two people – or whatevers – who aren’t truly engaged with each other aren’t a couple, even if they share the same room most of the time. It takes attention and commitment, even when times are chaotic. Maybe especially then.
But we all wanted to believe. And for a long time, you seemed to make it work. No relationship is perfect and there’s something to be said for trying and trying and trying again. As I’ve said before, weddings are easy and marriages hard, even without storylines that regularly blow up your supporting cast.
But when the two of you were headed back to television, with its daily pressures – well, a storyline like this was kind of inevitable.
Did that sound skeptical? I’m sorry. Maybe it’s because it fits the general pattern of life in the old “Muppet Show,” where things always just barely came together in the nick of time, night after night. Jim Henson used to say that if the show were a basketball game, the final score at the end of each episode would be Frog 99, Chaos 98.
So having this tension coming in at the start of a new Muppet series is kind of dramatically convenient. You can’t start a story on a happy ending, after all. There has to be some sort of conflict, some challenge that takes a struggle to overcome. If it involves the leads, so much the better.
Funny enough, if it is just one big plotline, you’ll make a lot of people very happy. They’ll get to watch their favorite pair strike sparks again in their natural environment: utter insanity. Hey, it worked before.
And if it’s not – well, you’re professionals. You can work together even if it isn’t exactly hog heaven, right?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’d better let you hop. There’s a karate chop out there with my name on it, and I’d really hate to be here when it arrives. There’s got to be less painful ways to bring home the bacon.
Always a fan,