We have been chatting for less than a minute and Miss Piggy is already satirizing me and Kermit the Frog for misunderstanding something.
A stormy look has passed over her face and I sigh with relief that we’re talking about Zoom so she can’t hit me. Kermit walks away and almost disappears from the screen.
I asked about diva behavior from the many famous guests of The Muppet Show, and Kermit mistakenly said there was ‘no diva in the bunch’. Now Miss Piggy looks really thunderous. “Except company,” stammers Kermit.
The stars certainly seem excited to meet Miss Piggy on the new Muppets show, which launches this week.
The Muppets return in a new Disney + show. Picture: Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang in the new show
As always, celebrities will interact with the Muppets, like comedy actor Seth Rogen, who gives Fozzie Bear tips on how to be funny and gives drag queen RuPaul costume advice.
“RuPaul and I exchanged wardrobes,” Miss Piggy reveals.
“We are the same size, you know,” before I conspiratorially add, “I have a closet full of clothes that I hardly ever wear because I prefer to work naked.” Yikes.
It’s great to have them back where they belong, on TV, and Miss Piggy is very excited that the new show, Muppets Now, is streaming on Disney + instead of regular TV. “Oh, it’s très au courant, don’t you know?” she says.
“Streaming is different,” says Kermit.
“Not for you,” Miss Piggy mutters. “You grew up in a stream.”
Kermit sighs. “I grew up in a swamp and this is different. It means that people who get Disney + can watch us whenever they want. “Miss Piggy screams with pleasure.
“Can they watch moi whenever they want?” she beams. “Oh, this is great news!”
Disney purchased the Muppets for £ 70 million in 2004 and debuted in 2015 with two films and an adult version of the show. Picture: Jim Henson and some of his creations
So yes, the Muppets are back on TV. It is, of course, the medium where Jim Henson’s dolls first gained fame with their massive hit The Muppet Show, which ran from 1976 to 1981.
Since Disney acquired the Muppets for £ 70 million in 2004, the company has been trying to find the right way to use them. The 2011 movie The Muppets was a box office hit, but the sequel, Muppets Most Wanted, fared less well three years later.
A 2015 primetime series by The Muppets, billed as an adult version of the show – complete with Miss Piggy and Kermit both finding new lovers – was received even worse.
Now they have gone back to base. Muppets Now is family friendly and wonderfully funny. Miss Piggy still knocks people over, the Swedish chef still sets everything on fire and Dr. Lund’s scientific experiments Honeydew and Beaker are still going wrong.
MEET JOE THE LEGAL WEASEL
Kermit said that new characters on the show are Joe (pictured right, with Kermit) who is a weasel and a lawyer
Kermit says there will be new faces diving into the Muppet madness in the new show.
“At the Muppets, we have always believed in welcoming everyone with a dream in their hearts …” he says with a melancholy look on his face. Miss Piggy intervenes and definitely looks less dreamy, “… even if they have no talent at all.”
Kermit looks rather stunned. “Everyone has a hidden talent. For example, one of our new cast members is Joe. He’s a weasel … and a lawyer. ‘
“What kind of talent is that?” Miss Piggy asks.
Kermit sighs. “He took you out of that deal to sell timeshares on Mars.”
Miss Piggy nods recognized. “Oh, Joe, the legal weasel!” she screams. “It’s fantastic. You will love him. ‘
But the show now has a hi-tech split-screen look that’s not much like a Zoom call to appeal to the modern computer-savvy youth.
“Muppets Now is something special for us,” Kermit reveals. “It is the first time that the Muppets have made a production without scripts.”
It’s quite something to stay popular as long as the Muppets are, I suggest.
“I think people like us because we love what we do and keep doing it,” says Kermit. “As long as the world needs a singing, dancing group of frogs, pigs, bears and whatever, the Muppets will be here.”
Although kids today grow up in a very different world than the original fans of the show, Kermit is convinced they still have the same sense of humor.
“I don’t think TV has changed that much,” he says. Viewers still want to be surprised, laugh, enjoy. That never changes. ‘
Miss Piggy is sure there is another reason. “They want to see which designer I will wear and how I will entertain even more fantastic with each appearance. That never changes either. ‘
All the old favorites make a lot of noise again, drop things and fight in the series, which is like a doll magazine show with style, cookery, science, comedy and chat. The poor old scooter, the stage master, tries again to prevent the pandemonium from breaking out.
“They couldn’t wait to be back,” says Kermit. “Fozzie, Gonzo, Scooter, the Electric Mayhem, everyone is here. Dr. Honeydew and Beaker have a scientific segment. The Swedish chef cooks with great chefs, Pepe the King Prawn has a game show … ‘
“… And I have a lifestyle show,” says Miss Piggy. “Where you learn to live la vida diva.”
Of course, the real stars remain Miss Piggy and Kermit, who are magically untouched by signs of age. And fans will be happy to know that we see a lot of it.
(Kermit claims that his good skin is due to pond foam. “Good news, you’re getting older slowly. Bad news, you’re turning green.”)
“We do have chemistry on the screen,” Kermit admits.
“Yes,” Piggy sighs, throwing her trotters into the air. “Like Bogart and Bacall, Tracy and Hepburn …”
Kermit frowns. “I thought Laurel and Hardy …”
Their relationship has gone on and off like a light switch over the years. Despite plans to get married – at least from Miss Piggy – things get complicated, like between a pig and a frog.
Miss Piggy and Kermit (photo, in 2011) revealed that they are both open to opportunities to get there
“We are currently non-committal,” says Kermit when I ask if they are dating again. ‘Yes. We leave our options open, ‘Miss Piggy agrees.
“At the moment we are both open to all the possibilities that come our way …” Kermit explains.
“… but willing to interest each other if the mood is right,” Miss Piggy giggles.
Who knows what’s going on between them? I wonder if they regret showbiz after all their years. Usually they answer in very different ways.
“No,” insists Miss Piggy. “I personally have no regrets. I have a publicist and a lawyer who handles them for me. ‘
Kermit: “I don’t believe in regret either. You go for the best and then continue. Keep believing. Keep pretending. ‘
Muppets Now will be available on Friday + on Disney + (£ 5.99 a month or £ 59.99 a year on disney.com).