Muppetology 101: Relationship Paradigms of the Muppet World


Ryan Dosier – It’s that time again! Time for everyone’s favorite class (which is unfortunately not worth any credit): Muppetology 101. Today we had planned to discuss Jerry Nelson’s characters from The Muppet Show and their recasts, but then we realized that today is February 14th, Valentines Day. So, instead, we’re taking a look at some of the greatest (and strangest) couples from the world of the Muppets. We’re hitting everywhere from The Muppet Show to Sesame Street to Fraggle Rock… so try and keep up!

  • Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy
    • First appeared as a couple in The Muppet Show Season 1: Episode 101 (1976)
  • The most famous and well known romantic couple in the world of the Muppets is, obviously, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Many questions about the true definition and nature of their relationship linger due to various comments made by both parties. One thing is certain, Miss Piggy loves Kermit more than almost anything–and when she loves, she goes whole hog. In her first appearance on The Muppet Show, singing in the Muppet Glee Club, Piggy’s love for Kermit shown through as she broke from the group to practically pummel him with adoration. From then on Kermit and Piggy were something more than co-workers. They transcended the “will they/won’t they” dynamic by having a “will he/have they” effect instead due to Kermit’s reluctance to accept her advances. These advances and confusions continued for almost a decade through two feature films, finally climaxing in the biggest confusing moment of all in The Muppets Take Manhattan when the film ended with a wedding between Kermit and Piggy. Whether this was a wedding between the characters playing off-canon in the movie or Kermit and Miss Piggy’s actual personas is still a major debate and dividing point among Muppet fans. Are they married? Are they in a committed relationship? Is it just professional (as Kermit says, “I’m a professional and she thinks we’re in a relationship.”)? Will we ever really know? Nope. Probably not. But for over 35 years this relationship has been a driving and defining point for the Muppets–one that is not likely to go away anytime soon.

  • Gonzo and Camilla
    • First appeared as a couple in The Muppet Show Season 3: Episode 318 (1978)
  • The weirdest of relationships features the weirdest of Muppets. Gonzo the Great and Camilla the Chicken are two star-crossed lovers, somehow bonded by… who knows what. First seen together in Season 3 of The Muppet Show, Gonzo’s fetish for fowl first developed as a throw away joke in Season 2, in which he mentioned that a chicken had nice legs. This spiraled into the development of Camilla, a semi-steady chicken girlfriend for the weirdo. Camilla and Gonzo were seen together romantically in The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan and throughout The Muppet Show. Like any relationship, however, theirs is not without confusion. Dave Goelz used to say that Gonzo couldn’t tell the chickens he was with apart, so he assumed they were all Camilla (a joke played out in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years). But more romantic fans like to think that Gonzo is faithful to Camilla and she is the same chicken (most) every time–including her role in The Muppets in 2011 as Gonzo’s faithful secretary. Gonzo and Camilla have been romantically entangled for over 30 years.
  • Floyd Pepper and Janice
    • First appeared as a couple in The Muppet Show Season 2 (1977)
  • Floyd and Janice and probably the hippest couple featured here. Janice has been implied as Floyd’s main squeeze since roughly Season 2 of The Muppet Show (not-so-coincidentally when Richard Hunt took over Janice). They were first romantic in The Muppet Movie when Floyd calls Janice “momma” and “my woman;” he rushed to her defense and told the others not to yell at her in The Muppets Take Manhattan, and the two of them presented Muppet Music together in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years. After Richard Hunt’s death, Janice was barely seen so opportunities for Floyd and Janice to be seen together were slim. Now that she has been recast to David Rudman, perhaps we’ll see more interaction between the two.

  • Gordon and Susan
    • First appeared as a couple in Sesame Street Season 1: Episode 0001 (1969)
  • The first couple to be seen together in the Muppet universe was the wonderful pairing of Gordon (Matt Robinson, Hal Miller, currently Roscoe Orman) and Susan (Dr. Loretta Long) on Sesame Street. From the very first test pilots for the show, Gordon and Susan were shown as a married and loving couple. Gordon is a science teacher and Susan is a nurse, proving that a couple doesn’t have to be a working husband and a stay-at-home wife. In Season 17, the two made Sesame Street and television history by adopting a child, Miles, who would continue to grow up as a character on the show. Susan and Gordon are still married and together on Sesame Street, even though Susan doesn’t appear nearly as much as she used to. But one thing is certain, after 43 years of marriage onscreen, it’s impossible and unthinkable for this duo to part ways any time soon.

  • Luis and Maria
    • First appeared as a couple in Sesame Street Season 19: Episode 2404 (1988)
  • Perhaps the most important and revolutionary coupling of all is Luis (Emilio Delgado) and Maria (Sonia Manzanno) on Sesame Street. For many seasons in the early years of Sesame Street, Maria was in an implied relationship with David (Northern Calloway). However, in the show’s 19th season, it was decided that Maria and Luis would become a pair. The first fell in love in Episode 2404, even kissing each other in the Fix-It Shop at the end of the episode. In Episode 2455 that same season Maria and Luis get engaged (after prodding from Big Bird, Oscar, Elmo, and Telly). Finally, in Episode 2485, history was made as a preschool television show showed two people getting married. It was a truly major event in both the life of Sesame Street and children’s television as a whole. It didn’t talk down to children… it was real with them. Maria and Luis love each other, they share everything, they always want to be together, so Maria and Luis got married. They remain together as a couple, with a daughter, Gabriella (whose birth on the show provided another revolutionary episode in Season 20), and have for over 20 years.
  • Pa and Ma Gorg
    • First appeared as a couple in Fraggle Rock Season 1: Episode 102 (1984)
  • Dysfunctional? Perhaps. Slightly crazy? Yeah, that’s true. But in love? You’d better believe it. Pa and Ma Gorg, the King and Queen of the Universe, respectively,are able to survive almost anything in their relationship–especially the antics of their bumbling son Junior. The first time they appeared in an episode of Fraggle Rock was the second episode of the show, “Wembley and the Gorgs,” in which Ma captures Wembley and Pa treats him as an adoring subject. Since then they have been loving, arguing, and singing together. They’ve also been canoodling by Kissing Rock and a certain pond… but we shouldn’t talk about that. They celebrated their 513th wedding anniversary in Season 4 (1987) by singing the ballad “I Give to Thee.” By that logic, Ma and Pa Gorg have currently been together for 538 wonderful years. I wonder what sort of theme that anniversary has.

So there you have it, students! The most popular and loving relationships in the Muppet world. Hey, if you can find a pig or a frog or a chicken or a whatever or a Gorg that loves you for who you are… I say go for it. Happy Valentines Day, all! See you next week!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier,

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