Deep Dive: Kermit the Frog is a bad boyfriend

You may need to sit down for this, but it needs to be said: Kermit the Frog is a toxic ex. The Muppet is not someone you should date or marry ladies, because he’ll deny your love—and he’ll do it publicly. He did it to Miss Piggy for years, and my heart crumbles every time I think about him, bathed in the glare of media, slandering that pig’s undying love for him. Second-hand embarrassment for Miss Piggy is more than I can withstand, and I live with it every day.

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Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog married in 1984. Thirty years later, in 2015, they separated, ending their 40-year-relationship. In those intervening decades Kermit dragged Miss Piggy in interviews. Dissonant, and frankly, kind of mean, Kermit’s repeated downplaying of their relationship opposes the values of the Muppets and Kermit himself. It’s weird and I don’t like it.

Funny, thoughtful, nurturing, calm, level-headed Kermit always leads the Muppets to success. So why is he so cruel to his former partner? Amidst his relentlessly positive Twitter feed he got in a dig against Miss Piggy as recently as May 9, offering Riverdale’s Lili Reinhart the opportunity to field his calls. Frog-up and talk to your ex, Kermit. It’s probably about business, anyway.

Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog married in 1984, at the end of The Muppets Take Manhattan, the third and undeniably best Muppet film. The staged wedding becomes a real one, though, when a minister steps in for Gonzo and marries the mismatched pair in a church filled with frogs, pigs, chickens, the Muppet gang, and the non-human cast of Sesame Street. (Big Bird, the best witness to a wedding!) “What better way could anything end, hand in hand with a friend,” Kermit sings before the credits roll. His sweetness is akin to Leslie Knope’s wedding vows, “I love you and I like you.”

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Kermit was called a “happily-married frog” one year later in the one-hour CBS special The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years. In 1993 Miss Piggy told Larry King, with Kermit sitting next to her, “The truth is that we are married.” She explained that the denials were for his fans, but in their private life, they live together “and are deeply happy.” My god, the conviction! She told King her married name is Mrs. the Frog, as further evidence of their marriage. (I remain surprised that she’d change her name.) In 1996, during an episode of Live! with Regis and Kathy Lee she affirmed their marriage again. Kermit did not contradict his wife during Larry King Live, but in 2005, in a video for the series Pepe’s Profiles he denies ever having a relationship with Miss Piggy at all. Wow, dude.

This is de rigueur for Kermit: he plays hot and cold with Miss Piggy and their relationship. In an episode of The Muppet Show Kermit gave Miss Piggy a diamond, changed his mind, and took it back. The plot of the unreleased 1983 Atari game Miss Piggy’s Wedding asks the player to get Kermit through a series of obstacles, out of a church, and into a waiting taxi (standing up his betrothed). I expect that from Drake, who was accused of hiding a secret baby (Bob Dylan did it too!) but not from a fictional character that showed up this year rap battle with compliments. (Miss Piggy, the embodiment of coming to win, not make friends, took the Drop the Mic trophy.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VPjOTtl9jAIn interviews with Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon in 2011, Kermit begrudgingly admits to being together but not married. He lied to Ellen that same year and accused Miss Piggy of planting tabloid stories. Sure, that’s a classic Miss Piggy strategy, but we saw the wedding video with our own eyes! Kermit’s reluctance to commit is so ingrained that in 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted (the second worst Muppets feature film) Miss Piggy is able to determine—the saddest Judgment of Solomon—which of two identical fuzzy green frogs is Kermit because the fraud is eager to marry her and the true Kermit is not. He sounds like a reluctant boyfriend, spineless and happy to string Miss Piggy along; weak in her love for him, she always agrees to stay. Jim Henson, Muppet creator, loved it: In 1984’s The Muppets Character Encyclopedia he relished the back-and-forth between Kermit and Miss Piggy, which included the tidbit that Miss Piggy carried her marriage license around as irrefutable proof of their marriage for anyone who asked. Oh, my husband said we’re not married on TV again, here, take a look at this, Miss Piggy cries, thrusting a crumpled, yellowed paper into the sky.

And then they broke up.

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It was a bid to promote their docuseries The Muppets, but it hurt. In a 2015 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kermit was cruel to Miss Piggy. Discussing his new girlfriend Denise, Kermit boasted, “Let’s just say she’s old enough.” Ew. When Kimmel asked if Miss Piggy was dating anyone, Kermit answered for her, “Yeah, that’s it, she’s dating anyone.” It put Miss Piggy on the defense, explaining that she likes to go out, but has standards—and what modern pig doesn’t?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdOj7HlahikI know Miss Piggy isn’t perfect. She’s tricked Kermit into marriage twice. She has a history of responding to insults with karate chops. Intimate partner violence doesn’t hold up in 2019, but her professional successes (late night host, fashion model, Vogue editor, best-selling author) do. She’s also the only major female Muppet, making the assignations all the more hurtful. After all this time, doesn’t she deserve better?

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