Is she Mrs. Piggy if she married Kermit?
With the recent announcement that Kermit & Piggy separated, I have done a lot of thinking about them as characters. It bothered me, and it has bothered me since the 2011 movie came out and how they portrayed the muppets there… they felt “wrong” and it is only in my attempts to wrestle with this fictional break-up (as a writer it kept gnawing at the back of my mind) that I think I’ve figured out my problem: the writers currently scripting Kermit & Piggy don’t understand their characters’ psychology.
Kermit is an extrovert. Oh this isn’t to say he doesn’t occasionally go off by himself to talk it out – but think about it. Even in the Muppet Movie (1979) when he freaks out and runs into the desert. What does he do – he talks to himself. Literally. He conjures up an image of someone else to talk through his dilemma. He doesn’t sit and stew. He doesn’t quietly conjure up a plan. He isn’t even pensive. He is active and engaged. In Muppets Take Manhatten, he only thinks his play will be great if he can include everyone:
That’s it! That’s what’s been missing from the show! That’s what we need! More frogs and dogs and bears and chickens and… and whatever! You’re not gonna watch the show, you’re gonna be in the show! Come on, everyone!
At the end of the day, Kermit gets his energy and his inspiration from the people around him. He also gets so many different opinions and voices that at some point he has to tell them to all go away and make a decision, but not because he doesn’t want them around.
Miss Piggy is actually an introvert (in my opinion). She may be outgoing and flamboyant, but she truly opens up to very few. Her true emotions are reserved only for those she trusts, and she needs a lot more truly alone-time than Kermit. Think how many times she trounces away from the group. How often she is working alone on a project. She doesn’t seek out others constantly. In fact, she often tells them to leave her alone.
I think the new writers have lost some of the depth of Kermit and Piggy because they didn’t look carefully at these motivators for the characters. Yes, Kermit is a sensitive, imaginative dreamer – but where does his inspiration come from? His friends and loved ones. Piggy is much more personally driven, much more self-sufficient. She actually doesn’t need the praise of others (although she expects it!) and wants fewer, more intimate relationships.
This dynamic is part of what made the Kermit+Piggy relationship work. Kermit helped Piggy to meet more people while Piggy provides stability for Kermit. I know that sounds weird; but seriously, look at how often in the older movies and such Kermit turns to Piggy when he’s stressed – because she has an unshakable faith in him. And now they don’t have each other… and it kind of breaks my heart.