It’s probably been at least 20 years since I looked at, or even thought about, the Muppet Movies, and today I stumbled across The Great Muppet Caper on cable and decided to watch for five minutes. I was hooked, laughing more than I do at most comedies, and found myself blown away by the creativity, production value (complete with Busby Berkly style production numbers) and hip, double entendre laden charm. What a hoot!

During the 80’s, when my kids were all small, VCRs of the Muppet Movies, ET, and others of that ilk got us through overseas life in Moscow and the Philippines and kept us connected to the faraway USA. So today, faced with watching a Little League World Series game whose score had gotten out of hand, or Champions Tour golf (yawn), I started channel surfing and landed for a moment on the Great Muppet Caper in the middle of the scene where Miss Piggy, impersonating Lady Holliday (Diana Rigg), is taking Kermit on a lickety split tour of Lady Holliday’s home, trying to get Kermit in and out before anyone notices they are there. John Cleese, in a hilarious cameo as the butler, chases them throughout the house (Kermit is unaware; Piggy sees him and is eluding him) until finally Piggy drags Kermit into a closet. Cleese finds them — there is a frozen moment when he pauses, wondering what to do, then says: “Is there…..anything I could help you with?” Piggy stares at him, takes this in, then says: “Yes, a nice restaurant.”

Here’s a clip that kind of captures the fun of it – -Jack Warden in a cameo as a grumpy newspaper editor giving Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo a hard time:

I think a lot of the charm has to do with how the muppets — handpuppets here, no CGI, thank you — interact seamlessly with humans who accept them as a normal part of the landscape. And the writing — really, truly funny, clever in that way that lets kids get what they need, but provides adults with another level of humor that doesn’t get in the way of the kiddy fun.

The other thing that is just quirkily hilarious is the way Miss Piggy believes she’s a stunner — and everyone reacts to her as if she is. In the Great Muppet Caper, she stuns the Dubbonnet Supper Club with a dance number that has Charles Grodin in her spell: “Isn’t she stunning?” he asks Diana Rigg.  I found a scene that captures this — and a hilarious Busby Berkly Musical sendup that includes synchronized swimmers, the works:

I got to thinking about that, and owndered about Miss Piggy’s bio — rooted around the internet and found this:

In an interview with the New York Times in 1979, Frank Oz outlined Piggy’s biography: “She grew up in a small town in Iowa; her father died when she was young, and her mother wasn’t that nice to her. She had to enter beauty contests to survive, as many single women do. She has a lot of vulnerability which she has to hide, because of her need to be a superstar.”

In The Muppet Movie, she has just won such a contest (Miss Bogen County) when she first meets Kermit and joins the Muppets.

In The Great Muppet Caper Piggy proves she has a talent for tap dancing, seemingly without knowing it. She and Kermit also kiss (on the lips, yet slightly covered) while Miss Piggy is a prisoner in jail; Miss Piggy ends up wearing Kermit’s fake mustache, while Kermit has X-marks on his upper lip.

Eventually in the films, Kermit started returning her affections and (unwittingly) marries her in The Muppets Take Manhattan, though subsequent events suggest that it was only their characters in the movie that married, and that their relationship is really the same as ever.

In 1987, Miss Piggy was a guest star on Dolly Parton‘s musical variety show, Dolly, singing and performing with Parton, while at the same time secretly attempting to steal the show from her host, mostly by sabotaging Parton’s musical segments and attempting to trick producers into giving her more solo spots. Parton, annoyed at being undermined by Miss Piggy, told another of her guests, Juice Newton, that they might be “having ham sandwiches after the show”.

Miss Piggy starred in the TV movie The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, appearing as all four witches.

Miss Piggy has a pet poodle, Foo-Foo.

Miss Piggy sang with the Jonas Brothers as “Joan S. Jonas”, with Ashley Tisdale during the number “Bop to the Top” dressed as Sharpay from High School Musical, and with the Cheetah Girlsperforming “Dance Me If You Can” from The Cheetah Girls: One World as a part of Studio DC: Almost Live. A running gag from those first two episodes involved Miss Piggy looking for “Zacky” Efron.

In The Muppet Show episode 106, Piggy is referred to by the full name “Piggy Lee”, and in episode 116 Piggy tells guest star Avery Schreiber that Piggy is short for “Pigathius”, which is “from the Greek, meaning ‘river of passion'”. However, there is no evidence to support that this is part of her name. It is more likely that this is a fictitious name Miss Piggy invents as part of her plan to make Kermit jealous. In another instance, Piggy explains that her first name is actually the more feminine-sounding version of Pigathius, “Pigathia”.

When she is asked what sign she was born under by guest Jim Nabors in The Muppet Show season 1, episode 6, she replies: “I wasn’t born under a sign, I was born over a sign. Becker’s butcher shop. I moved as soon as I could.”


There are enough funny quotes from this one movie to keep you smiling for awhile — here are some of the best, courtesy of IMDB.

[Kermit is sitting on a bench – a man and his daughter walk by]
Girl: Look, Dad. There’s a bear.
Father: No, Christine, that’s a frog. Bears wear hats.

Miss Piggy: [to Nicky] You! It was you! Kermit was right! You’re a phony. You’re a phony! Yes, you are! And you know what, you can’t even sing! Your voice was dubbed!
Miss Piggy: [Lady Holiday has just given Miss Piggy the entire backstory for the movie] Why are you telling me all this?
Lady Holiday: It’s plot exposition. It has to go somewhere.
Charles Grodin, Diana Rigg and the main muppets in an original Theatrical Still from The Great Muppet Caper

Truck Driver: What are you doing here?
Oscar the Grouch: A very brief cameo.
Truck Driver: Me too.

Kermit: We’re going to catch those crooks red-handed.
[Beauregard raises his hand]
Kermit: Yes, Bo?
Beauregard: What color are their hands now?

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew: I suggest we jump.
Fozzie: Are you crazy? That’s at least a hundred feet!
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew: I didn’t say it was a *good* suggestion.
Beauregard: Maybe we could jump part-way.

Beauregard: Takes awhile to get to know the town.
Fozzie: How long have you lived in London?
Beauregard: All my life.
Kermit: How come you don’t have an English accent?
Beauregard: Hey, I’m lucky to have a driver’s license!

Pops: Hey, how’re you guys fixin’ to pay?
Kermit: What are our choices?
Pops: A: Credit card; B: Cash; C: Sneak out in the middle of the night.
Fozzie: We’ll take C.
Pops: Very popular choice.


Gonzo: Stop the presses!
News Editor: Why? What happened?
Gonzo: I don’t know. I just always wanted to say that.
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Fozzie: What does “BSC” stand for?
Kermit: I don’t know.

Kermit: I hate to be rude, but we’re trying to do a movie here.

Statler: Hey, Waldorf. Wake up. Here come the bikinis!
Waldorf: Oh, boy! We better synchronize our pacemakers.

[Piggy’s truck runs out of gas]
Miss Piggy: What am I? A glutton for punishment?

Kermit: We were wondering if you could recommend a nice hotel. Actually, a cheap hotel.
British Gentleman: How cheap?
Fozzie: Free.
British Gentleman: Well, that narrows the field a bit.
[reading from his guide]
British Gentleman: Let’s see. “Places where you can park your carcasses.” Bus terminals… River banks… The Happiness Hotel…
Kermit: Happiness Hotel? That sounds great.
Gonzo: What’s wrong with bus terminals?

Fozzie: Uh, excuse me, Mr. Holiday, sir. Would you let Kermit go? If you hold him too long, he’ll just give you warts.
Miss Piggy: [about Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem’s playing] They don’t have to play this loud.
Kermit: That’s okay, they don’t mind.

Nicky Holiday: Miss Piggy… You’re a very different looking woman. I’m so tired of the same type, those tall thin creatures with the long legs, the aquiline noses, the teeth like pearls, soft skin…
Miss Piggy: Yeah, well I can see where that might make you sick to your stomach.

[Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo are in wooden boxes on an airline flight]
Fozzie: Kermit, can you reach the hostess call button? I’m hungry.
Kermit: They don’t serve food in 9th class.
Fozzie: What? Twelve dollars and we don’t even get a meal?

Sam the Eagle: You are all – WEIRDOS.
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[In a hot-air balloon]
Gonzo: I’d like to try this without a balloon.
Kermit: Try what? Plummeting?
Gonzo: Yeah.
Kermit: I suppose you could try it once.


Prison Guard: Miss Piggy.
Miss Piggy: What?
Prison Guard: Your lawyer is here to see you.
Miss Piggy: Lawyer? I don’t have a lawyer.
Prison Guard: Och, sure you do. Little green guy.
Miss Piggy: [short intake of breath] Kermie. Oh. No wonder he hasn’t come by to see me. He had to finish law school.

Kermit: What’s wrong with the drummer? He looks a little crazed.
Zoot: Oh, he’s just upset about missing the Rembrandt exhibit at the National Gallery.
Animal: Renoir!

[Pops is driving the bus with Electric Mayhem in back]
Pops: [to Kermit and friends who want to get on the bus] You’ll have to sit in the front seat, the back’s been quarantined.

British Gentleman: For once the forecast was right. It said it was going to rain cats and dogs.
Kermit: No, no. We’re bears and frogs.
Gonzo: And Gonzos.

Fozzie: [sighs] It was nice of the Chronicle to pay for our flight home.
Pops: Yeah, but a man should be treated better than his luggage.
Scooter: Yeah, well, my luggage was sucked out the door. Luckily my radio is frozen to my wrist.


Kermit: Quiet!
[all fall silent except Janice]
Janice: “Look, Mother. It’s my life. OK. So if I want to live on a beach and walk around naked… Oh.

Delivery Man: Mr. Holiday, did you order a gross of flowered socks?

Lady Holiday: Give Stanley a tip, Nicky.
Nicky Holiday: For complimenting you on your necklace?
Lady Holiday: No, because it’s customary.
Nicky Holiday: I haven’t any change.
Lady Holiday: Then give him something bigger.
Nicky Holiday: *Bigger*? I left my wallet at home.
Lady Holiday: You left your wallet in college.
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Lady Holiday: Carla, the neckline on that gown is too high, don’t you think?
Carla: I rather like the effect.
Lady Holiday: You like looking like an ostrich?
Carla: [miffed] Of course not, Lady Holiday.
Lady Holiday: And Marla. Too many frills and furbelows, I don’t think we should strive for the fan-tailed pigeon look, do you? And you, Darla, that outfit’s the pits. Loose where it should be tight and tight where it should be loose, like the folds on a turkey’s neck. Why would I design such atrocious looking clothes?
[sitting down with a heavy sigh]
Lady Holiday: I *must* be getting senile.
[she presses a button on her desk]
Voice over intercom: Yes, Lady Holiday?
Lady Holiday: We have to make drastic changes in the new line before the show tomorrow, all my girls are going around looking like barnyard animals.
Miss Piggy: Ahem!
Lady Holiday: Good heavens, who are you?
Miss Piggy: My name is Miss Piggy, and I would like to be a high-fashion model!
Lady Holiday: Doesn’t surprise me. Seems to be the way we’re headed.
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Miss Piggy: Oh, Kermy! Oh, I’ve missed you so!
Kermit: [stiffly] Please, the name is Rosenthal.
[lowers voice]
Kermit: I’m your attorney, that’s the only way they’d let me in here.
Miss Piggy: Oh, right! Oh, I’ve missed you so… Rosenthal. It’s been an eternity.
Kermit: [puzzled] It’s been forty-five minutes.
Miss Piggy: Time goes slow in the cooler.
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Rowlf: Let me talk to them. Woof woof. Woof woof.
[guard dogs start to heel]
Rowlf: It helps to know a second language.
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Fozzie: Kermit, are bears allowed in those fountains?
Kermit: [bewildered] What?
Fozzie: Are bears allowed in those fountains?
Kermit: No, I don’t think so.
Fozzie: I need a bath.
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[Kermit, Gonzo, and Fozzie are in a hot air balloon, flying through the opening credits]
Gonzo: Gee, a lot of people worked on this movie!
Kermit: Oh, this is nothing. Wait ’til you see the end credits.
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[Kermit, Gonzo, and Fozzie are in a hot air balloon, flying through the opening credits]
Fozzie: Nobody really reads those. Do they?
Kermit: Sure they do. They all have families.
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Prison Guard: TWO MINUTES PIG!
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Gonzo: [after taking pictures of pigeons outside] Local poultry.
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Pops: [banging on bathroom door] Hey! What’s goin’ on in there? Lotta folks out here need to use the restroom!
Kermit: Well, we’re developing these pictures, we’ll be out as soon as we finish. We’re trying to catch a jewel thief.
Fozzie: A jewel thief!
Pops: Well, catch him in another room, people are dancing up and down on one leg out here!
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Fozzie: [going over check list] Wax lips?
Zoot: [checking his pockets] Man, I just had them!
Dr. Teeth: Did ya leave ’em in your other pants?
Zoot: I don’t have no other pants!
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Fozzie: [going over checklist] Whoopie cushion?
Rowlf: I think it’s on the bus.
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Kermit: How are we supposed to cut through the bars if nobody brought stuff to cut with?
Floyd: I brought some hot mustard, maybe that will eat through the bars.
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Kermit: [on the plane] Someone’s coming.
Fozzie: Oh, maybe they’re bringing hamburgers.
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News Editor: Did you read these headlines? Huh?
[reads newspaper]
News Editor: “JEWEL HEIST ON MAIN STREET!” And it’s nice bold print, isn’t it?
Kermit: Yes, it’s very easy to read.
News Editor: Shut up now.
Kermit: [sheepish] Sorry.
News Editor: “Lady Holiday’s Jewels Stolen,” that’s what it says in The Times. And here’s The Herald, “Fashion Queen Of London Robbed.” And last, but not least
News Editor: here’s our cute little banner story, “Identical Twins Join The Chronicle Staff.” Now I ask you, which would you buy?
Fozzie: I read the one that has “Dear Abby.”.
News Editor: OH!
[News Editor pounds fist into desk in frustration, causing Gonzo to jump with fright up to a light fixture]
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Fozzie: [pleading] We’ll do better next time.
News Editor: Next time? Next time!
[pounds fist into desk]
News Editor: What makes you think there’s gonna be a next time?
Kermit: Well, if there isn’t it’s gonna be a real short movie.
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Kermit: [on the plane to England] I think I’ll read for a while.
[turns on his light and looks around]
Kermit: Uh, I wish I had a book.
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Gonzo: [going over the Thames] What’s the name of this river?
Kermit: I don’t know.
Fozzie: I believe it is the English river.
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Fozzie: [Gonzo takes a picture on the bus] Oh did I get my elbow in the shot?
Gonzo: Don’t worry it adds human interest.
Fozzie: But I’m a bear.
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Kermit: [standing outside the Mallory Gallery] How do we get in?
Fozzie: I suggest we ring the door bell.
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Fozzie: I sure could use something from one or more of the basic food groups.
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Gonzo: [looking at the models] Hubba hubba!
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Miss Piggy: Adios, mon cherie.
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Nicky Holiday: [Lady Holiday’s necklace has just been stolen] What do you want me to do? I just spilled ketchup all over my cummerbund.
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Dorcas: What would you buy if you were bored?
Neville: Uh… a jar of calf’s foot jelly.
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Miss Piggy: [at the supper club] Well, what a delightful menu!
[Kermit looks at the menu and gasps]
Miss Piggy: What?
Kermit: [nervously] Oh, hah, nothing, it’s just sort of amusing that the roast beef is the same price as an Oldsmobile.
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Kermit: [the Muppets are in a frenzy about Kermit’s date] Fozzie, this is all very embarrassing!
Fozzie: Don’t worry Kermit, it won’t leave this room.
The Muppet Newsman: Here is a muppet newsflash! Kermit the frog to date Lady Holiday! Details at 11.
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Fozzie: Hey, Kermit, I’m getting hungry.
Gonzo: Call room service.
Kermit: There’s no phone.
Rizzo the Rat: That’s OK, there’s no food, either.
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Kermit: [he, Fozzie, and Gonzo are stuck in the bed, which has closed into the wall; he talks muffled] Could somebody turn out the light?
[bulb drops to the floor]
Kermit: Thank you.
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Kermit: But… Nicky, why are you doing this?
Nicky Holiday: Why am I doing this? Because I’m a villain. It’s pure and simple.
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Kermit: Piggy? Piggy, you’re overacting.
Miss Piggy: What?
Kermit: You’re overacting. You’re hamming it up!
Miss Piggy: I am not! I am trying to save this movie.
Kermit: Yeah, well save your performance instead!
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Miss Piggy: Well, as you can see from this small sampling, modeling is my life. It is my destiny, I shall accept nothing less.
Lady Holiday: I can offer you a job as a receptionist.
Miss Piggy: [jumping up and down and shouting] AAAAAAAHHHHH! I’ll take it! I’ll take it! Oh, thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh, you won’t be sorry, I promise. I can type, I can take shorthand, I can make coffee, I can do it all!
Lady Holiday: Sit.
[Miss Piggy immediately sits down and calms herself]
Miss Piggy: I can sit. I’m very good at sitting.
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Sam the Eagle: It’s times like these, I’m proud to be an American.
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Gonzo: Photography’s an art. You gotta have the right film, you gotta have the right exposure, and you gotta scream just before they get the food to their mouth.
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[last lines]
Gonzo: Wait a minute! Hold it right there. Don’t go home yet.
[holds up his camera]
Gonzo: Say cheese!
[takes a picture and the screen goes black]
Gonzo: I’ll send you each a copy.
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[going over the checklist]
Fozzie: Peanut butter?
Floyd: Animal ate it.
Animal: Sorry!
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Kermit: Excuse me.
Pops: [awakes from his nap abruptly] What?
Kermit: We’d like a room.
Pops: Really?
Kermit: Yeah, we’d like to check in.
Pops: Somebody’s checking in!
[dings his service bell]
Happiness Hotel Guests: [emerging from their rooms] SOMEBODY’S CHECKING IN?
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Pops: [after Beauregard crashes his cab into the Happiness Hotel] You can never find a cab when you need one.
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Fozzie: [drinking champagne] You know, if you put enough sugar in this stuff, it tastes just like ginger ale.
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Lady Holiday: Nicky, that’s my new secretary dancing out there.
Nicky Holiday: Which one?
Lady Holiday: The pig.
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Fozzie: [going over a checklist] Wax lips?
Zoot: Aw man, I just had ’em.
Dr. Teeth: Did you leave ’em in your other pants.
Zoot: I don’t have no other pants.
Fozzie: [going back to the checklist] Yo-yo?
Janice: Fer sure.
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Fozzie: [in hot air balloon] What if there’s a storm? Or we get hit by lightning?
Gonzo: That’d be neat!
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Gonzo: I wonder how far you could plummet before you blacked out.
Kermit: Uh, don’t try it, Gonzo. We need you for this movie.
Gonzo: Sure is tempting.
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