the body politic

The Muppets Should Not Be Having Sex, People

Denise and Kermit.
Denise and Kermit. Photo: Andrea McCallin/ABC

Please stop talking about fucking Muppets. I don’t mean “fucking” as an adjective, as in “those fucking Muppets”; I love the Muppets. I would never refer to them as “fucking Muppets.” What I mean is please stop talking, writing, and otherwise promoting the upcoming Muppets television reboot by alluding to them actually fucking. They are Muppets.

ABC, apparently concluding that what the Muppets really need to boost their latest incarnation is a dose of eroticism, launched its campaign for the new season by announcing that lead amphibian Kermit the Frog had broken up with his on-again-off-again sparring partner of 40 years, Miss Piggy, and is now dating someone named “Denise.” Denise, who is notably also a pig, appears to be a younger, thinner pig than Piggy, which upon reflection is weird because how is it obvious that one Muppet is younger than another anyway? The “Denise” development launched a thousand think pieces, many of which wrung angry hands on Piggy’s behalf. Few of them seemed to account for the fact that, according to ABC’s promos, Piggy has already gotten it on with Liam Hemsworth, Topher Grace, and Nathan Fillion, who, not for nothing, all happen to be white guys, so I guess whatever her predilections are, they have taken her in a direction away from her former (green, frog) swain.

But hang on a second, because when I write that that these promos have indicated that the stuffed puppet we know as Miss Piggy has “gotten it on” with some human actors, I’m being serious. One preview for the show includes Piggy telling her co-star Grace, in advance of their date, “Take a long nap, big boy, you’re really going to need your strength,” followed by an extended make-out session, which is observed by Gonzo, who murmurs, “Cool … Go Topher,” as if mesmerized by man-on-Muppet porn. The ad that nods toward a tryst with Fillion, meanwhile, does so by showing him leaving her trailer with his shirt and pants in disarray, which seems to indicate that he has just had sex with Miss Piggy. Meanwhile, a popular GIF from the preview spots shows “Denise” having eye sex with Kermit during a meeting while suggestively mouthing a pen; that trailer concludes with Kermit describing his life as “bacon-wrapped.”

Yack! Again: I love the Muppets. I love Kermit. I do not need to imagine his felted member encased by hog flesh. That, after all, is what the non-ABC-affiliated internet is for. (Seriously: Don’t Google Muppet sex.)

I also love cultural criticism and close readings of television, and I appreciate critics teasing out messages about body image and power dynamics between children’s characters, the finest of which was Julie Klausner’s early, seminal “Kermit the Frog is a Terrible Boyfriend,” a perspective I agree with more strongly than the New Republic’s recent argument that Piggy was a domestic abuser because, look, they are Muppets; their interactions are necessarily limited to talking and hitting each other. And, oh wait, now also having sex.

The appeal of the Muppets has always been that it’s a program for kids that winks and nods at adults, and those of us who enjoyed the show as kids now bring our adult sensibilities to the same characters, but there are adult sensibilities and then there are “adult” sensibilities; there are winks and nods, and then there are pigs blowing pens.

The worst part is that the spirit of Muppet sex seems to be catching, like the chlamydia these puppets are probably giving each other, plus Nathan Fillion. This weekend, I settled in with my public-defender husband to watch John Oliver’s great segment about public defenders, and there, in the midst of our righteous lefty humor, was a brief monologue by Oliver in which he rated the Muppets in order of fuckability, starting with Fozzie the Bear, and moving on to Rowlf, the Swedish Chef, and Sam the Eagle (“because, you know, he’s into some freaky business”).

First of all, oh my God, stop talking about having sex with Muppets. Second, any list of fuckable Muppets that does not include Animal, Zoot, and Camilla the Chicken is garbage. (Though Oliver was obviously correct about Sam the Eagle.)

In conclusion: Please, everyone stop talking about fucking Muppets. Or maybe just: Please stop fucking, Muppets.