Marni Hill – The Muppets are the physical definition of individuality. There are few franchises that can lay claim to having the spectacular diversity that The Muppets do. But then again, there aren’t many franchises out there that have 6-foot tall wise-cracking Talking Carrots or man-eating furniture either. We all know that Kermit and the troupe are all about embracing the different and unusual, but how do the Muppets deal with the not-so-tolerant world around them? What can they teach us about loving ourselves and each other? After Episode 12 of The Muppets: ’A Tail of Two Piggies’, I decided to take a closer look at three prime examples of The Muppets tackling this particular issue.
It’s Quite Easy Bein’ Green:
One of the earliest lessons comes from the leading amphibian himself. In 1970, Sesame Street composer Joe Raposo wrote one of Kermit’s most prolific songs ‘Bein’ Green’. This tune has won many hearts with its strong moral of being accepting of who you are. It’s also been covered by multiple artists over the years, indicating that its universal message can be felt around the world.
Throughout the years, Kermit has turned to this song to remind himself that being a small frog isn’t a flaw, but a gift. This includes the Peter Sellers episode of The Muppet Show in Season Two when Bunsen’s teleporter sent Kermit to his wits end.
“When I think it could be nicer, being red, or yellow, or gold, or something much more colourful like that….”
Within the song, Kermit contemplates how changing an aspect of himself could possibly improve his life, something everybody tends to do at one point or another. We all want to change something about ourselves that we don’t particularly find attractive.
“And Green can be big, like a mountain. Or important, like a river. Or tall like a tree…”
“I am Green, and it’ll do fine. It’s beautiful- and I think it’s what I want to be…”
Perhaps the best thing we can do for ourselves is to highlight the aspects of what we love about our bodies and personalities. On a personal note, I don’t particularly like the way one of my eyes constantly turns outward in a very creepy way, but I do love the shade of blue in my irises.
The Weirdo Factor:
Born out of Dave Goelz’ insecurities and oddball sense of humour, never has there been a more unsettlingly accepting-of-oneself character like Gonzo the Great. The Whatever is a walking enigma and most of the time, he is extremely proud of it. Gonzo started out in Season 1 of the Muppet Show being extremely downtrodden, but even in those first few episodes, he was certain that what he considered to be ‘art’ was just misunderstood. His stunts were jeered and booed throughout the show, but he simply waved it off.
If the stunt were to actually be successful, that’s all good and fine. However why would anyone want to do it right when there is pain to be enjoyed and art within failure?
As for Gonzo’s looks, once again, he simply doesn’t care about his oversized nose, chilli pepper shirts or floppy arms. Why should he? All the better to stand out with! Dating a chicken or two, why not? We could all learn a thing or two from Gonzo about not relying on the opinions of others to fuel our self-esteem. If you’re content with yourself, that’s all you really need to be happy in life.
The Lady is a Pig:
When hasn’t Piggy been an advocate for positive body image? In her warped, unconventional way, anyway? Miss Piggy is the self-titled mistress of inflating one’s ego and self-assurance in the face of fighting off insecurities. While all of Frank Oz’s characters were conceived from his personal fears and flaws, Piggy is the most dramatic of them all. Frank has been known to say that Piggy developed from pain. She is a ‘truck driver impersonating a woman’, which could not be a more perfect analogy as far as I’m concerned.
Tough but vulnerable, bold yet graceful and ego-centric but loving, Miss Piggy is a diva trapped in a pig’s body, an animal not usually associated with beauty. Her attempts to be the superstar she sees in her imagination is often laughed at, but she does her best to ignore it. Take into consideration that being a bit chunky is quite healthy for a pig to be. This is something I’ve always believed Piggy accepts, which is why she has never seen herself as being chubby compared to the standards of the Hollywood elite.
Piggy is constantly in her own reality and expects the real world to play along. She frequently disregards the Muppets around her and is oblivious to their wants and needs. So you can’t blame some people for not quite understanding what her appeal is, including myself. What can a self-centred, egotistical pig possibly teach us about self-acceptance?
It turns out the answer is quite simple. Live your truth; even if it comes from somewhere false because that is who you have made yourself to be. Does Piggy have her head in the clouds? Yes, but you can’t say it hasn’t got her anywhere in life. She is currently the host of her own talk show in addition to being the leading lady in one of the world’s most well-known comedy troupes. Not to mention that she has succeeded in being a fashion icon.
I certainly wouldn’t suggest that you take on all of Piggy’s traits, but there is certainly no harm in reminding yourself that you are fabulous, strong, powerful and worthy of being a superstar. If anyone tells you otherwise, forget them. They’re really not worth your time.
“You shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for who you are. No one should. I think we all have something about ourselves deep down we wish were different. In a way, we all have a curly pig tail, right?”– Kermit the Frog, Episode 12, The Muppets
‘A Tale of Two Piggies’ pretty much summed up one of Jim Henson’s main messages to the world: Each Muppet is flawed, whether it’s Fozzie Bear’s lack of self-confidence or Animal’s lack of self-control, they all have something that they wish they could get rid of or change. But that’s okay. It really is!
Your flaws are what make you a human being (or frog, or pig, or bear, or whatever, or-) and that is something quite wonderful! Sometimes it’s better to welcome your drawbacks with open arms and embrace them. It’s cliché to say, but no one is perfect. Quite frankly, you should be glad of that! Imagine how boring the Muppets would be if they were perfect; the same goes for all of us too!
So love yourself and learn to appreciate those amazing individuals around you because you never know when you will stumble across your next best friend. Embrace your curly pig tails and show the world just how sensational, inspirational, celebrational and Muppetational you are!