Family Favorite: “The Frog is Stayin’!”

M: As C mentioned in the Adventure Films post, we feel we’ve been a bit TV-heavy lately.  That’s bound to happen at the start of the season, but we’re not going to let that be an excuse to deprive you, our readers.  So that, plus a strange little product I discovered in the men’s room of my office (more on this in a minute, and no, you won’t be grossed out), have led us to the next installment of Family Favorites… The Muppets Take Manhattan.


muppets_take_manhattan_posterAs we’ve mentioned before, we were raised watching classic films.  We were also raised watching the Muppets.  For E and I, who are older, that meant the Muppet Show, while for C it was more of the movies, and the cartoon Muppet Babies. The humor of the Muppets was (E: is!) right up our alley.  Of course we loved the stupid puns, corny jokes and the physical comedy, but we loved the wit and intelligence that they brought, too.  The jokes often times went over our heads as children, but that’s part of what makes the Muppets so remarkably re-watchable; you can find little bits of humor in them that you didn’t see the last time, or the last 20 times, you watched.  (E: Some of the little throw away lines are genius!) The show itself, airing in the late 70’s and early 80’s, was able to catch the end of the country’s appetite for variety shows.  Jim Henson ended the show at the height of its popularity, and moved on to other projects, which included the Muppet movies.  While we all love and adore each of the movies, (well, each of the movies made before Henson passed away, at least  C: And The Muppet Christmas Carol!) the one that we really wore out was The Muppets Take Manhattan.

C: When I was little this was the comfort movie I watched whenever I was sick, because, based on empirical testing, I determined that there was exactly nothing wrong with it.

M: There’s a constant stream of fantastic cameos, from Art Carney to Gregory Hines, Joan Rivers to Brooke Shields, and even the Mayor of New York (at the time) Ed Koch. (C: Plus Elliott Gould and Liza Minnelli...)

And there’s the ridiculously fantastic idea that not only did the Muppet characters all decide to go to college, but they all got into the same college, and took over the theater department entirely, writing and putting on their own play.  Because, you know, that could happen, right?

E: Well, maybe that school had a pro-Muppet admissions office?

M: Good point, I wasn’t considering Muppet affirmative action!

C: Few colleges make that quota.

E: The new college graduates arrive in the Big Apple, sure that mere hours separate them from Broadway stardom.  Instead they end up sleeping lockers in Grand Central Station.

C: “I’ll trade with anyone who has a jacuzzi!”

E: Their search for a producer to put on their play leads them to a lot of slammed doors and a fantabulous crook played by Dabney Coleman (with Dr. Beverly Crusher as his receptionist! M: In her film debut, no less!).  Most of the Muppets return to their home states and various unfulfilling jobs (revealed hilariously through a series of postcards, none more brilliant than Rolf the dog’s soul-killing stint checking other dogs in at a kennel) while Kermit holds the fort down in NYC, famously yelling “the frog is STAYING!” off the top of the Empire State in NYC (M: with “staying” done in Jim Henson’s best Peter-Brady-voice-cracking impersonation).

Kermit finds work at Pete’s Diner, a marvelous little joint run by Pete (perhaps the most quotable human in any Muppet offering), his daughter Jenny, and Rizzo the Rat.

C: Who gets to deliver the unforgettable line: “Do you believe in interspecies dating?”

Ocean Breeze Soap will get you cleanM: To which Brooke Shields replies “I’ve dated some rats, if that’s what you mean.”  Then there’s the remarkably well-written scene that helped inspire this post, where Kermit, afflicted by amnesia and looking for work, stumbles on another highly likely scenario, three frogs with rhyming names running a small ad agency, brainstorming slogans for a product: Ocean Breeze soap.  (C: What is all this talk about “likelihood”?  They’re Muppets.  They are beyond such sordid concerns as realism.)  Their best efforts before his arrival are “Ocean Breeze soap, for people who don’t want to stink” and the all time classic “Ocean Breeze soap: it’s just like going on an ocean cruise, only there’s no boat and you don’t actually go anywhere.”  On Kermit’s advice they instead go with “Ocean Breeze Soap will get you clean,” though one of them croaks: “Just say what the product does?  Nobody’s ever tried that before!”

So with that exchange firmly etched into my permanent memory, I found myself in the mens’ room looking at the new “Air Neutralizer,” which I’m guessing is the new marketing name for an air freshener.  Anyway, it was Ocean Breeze brand, and its slogan is “Smells clean, is clean.”  At least in my mind, there’s no way that’s a coincidence!

E: I still cannot believe there is such a thing as Ocean Breeze soap. That kills me. If I’d been you I probably would have ended up hyperventilating on the bathroom floor from laughing too hard.

M: I nearly did!

E: Now I know what to get you for your birthday. 😉

M: Much appreciated.

C: The movie is filled with a hundreds of hilarious moments, which I’m always reminded of at odd times during my life (like when my doctor taps on my knee with a little hammer, for instance).  It’s got something else we haven’t mentioned yet, too: wonderful music.  What’s not to love about “Together Again,” or a team of chickens doing their impression of Tony Bennett singing the “William Tell Overture“?  And if “Saying Goodbye” doesn’t make you tear up, be concerned that your soul might be broken.

E: This movie, in the end, is about living your dream, and even more, about friends becoming family, and the benefits of showing kindness to strangers.  But mostly, it’s good, clean, incredibly clever and incredibly silly and incredibly joyous fun.

M: Still, I think it needed exploding socks.


14 comments on “Family Favorite: “The Frog is Stayin’!”

  1. Brian Malaquias says:

    In my opinion, this is the best Muppet movie hands down. Yes, I did like, “The Muppet Movie” with great lines like, “Bear right, frog left.” I also liked, “The Great Muppet Caper” with the great line, “You throw the fish away, and the fish comes back to me”, but The Muppets Take Manhattan takes the cake. Other great quotes from the movie are

    Bill the Frog: I’ll pick up the bill today, Gil.
    Gil the Frog: Would you like something from the grill, Jill?
    Jill the Frog: No, meat makes me ill, Gil.

    [Kermit, suffering from amnesia, doesn’t remember he is engaged to Miss Piggy]
    Kermit the Frog: Me? In love with a pig? Wait ’til I tell the guys in marketing.
    Kermit the Frog: Maybe you expected me to go HOG-wild? Perhaps you could bring home the BACON! Ahhh… the sounds of love: su-EEEEE! Oink, oink!
    Miss Piggy: Cancel the show! Hi-yah!
    [Karate chops Kermit]

    Pete: Big city, hmm? Live. Work, huh? But. Only peoples. Peoples is peoples. No is buildings. Is tomatoes, huh? Is peoples, is dancing, is music, is potatoes. So, peoples is peoples. Okay?

    Ronnie Crawford (Nephew from “Dirty Dancing” The pachanga scene. LOL: Dad! Dad! I’ve got great news!
    [Bernard sees Kermit]
    Bernard Crawford: If you two are in love, I don’t wanna know about it.

    [after contorting Kermit’s legs, arm and mouth]
    Kermit’s Doctor: No doubt about it; you’ve got amnesia.

    Janice: [to Gonzo] Listen, I don’t take my clothes off for anyone, even if it IS “artistic.”

    Statler: Hey, look, Waldorf. It’s the frog and the pig.
    Waldorf: Yeah, it looks like they’re in love.
    Statler: Yeah.
    Waldorf: Kinda makes you sick, doesn’t it?
    [they laugh]
    Waldorf: Woo-hoo!
    Statler: Hey, lovey doveys!
    Waldorf: Hubba, hubba!

    [the Swedish Chef is the popcorn vender at a movie theater showing a 3D film]
    The Swedish Chef: Yaa da poppin’ corn is…
    [throws popcorn in the air]
    The Swedish Chef: 3D! Da corn is popping in your face inna…
    [throws popcorn in his own face]
    The Swedish Chef: 3-D!

    Gonzo: Mr. Mayor! Mr. Mayor, I’m looking for a frog who can sing and dance!
    The Honorable Edward I. Koch: If he can balance the budget, I’ll hire him!

    [On seeing Beth]
    Fozzie Bear: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know this cave was co-ed.

    Mr. Skeffington: Snookums prefers the rubber Wall Street Journal to the rubber Washington Post.
    Rowlf: Don’t we all?

    Miss Piggy: I spy because I care!
    Kermit the Frog: Well I care, too!
    Miss Piggy: Well why don’t you say so?
    Kermit the Frog: I JUST DID!
    Miss Piggy: ALL RIGHT!
    [They start screaming, then try to catch their breath]
    Roller Skater (Gregory Hines): Keep the skates. Keep the skates. I don’t use ’em anyway; I just like to run around in shorts.

    Gonzo: Maybe we should add more special effects like exploding socks.

    [Martin Price holds a gun on Gonzo’s chicken]
    Martin Price: Get back or the chicken gets it!
    Police Officer: That’s a threat?

    [Gonzo uses mouth-to-mouth resuicitation on his chicken]
    Miss Piggy: Gonzo, is Camilla all right?
    Gonzo: Yeah, but I think we’re engaged!

    Miss Piggy: Oh, dear Lord! Not jogging!

    [at the beginning of the movie during the play, Animal chases a young lady up a seating aisle]
    [he turns around and looks at the audience]
    Animal: WOMAN! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

    [after Mr. Skeffington is done talking baby talk to his dog]
    Rowlf: It’s amazing. You speak Chinese like a native.

    [the Muppets have shacked up in bus station lockers]
    Janice: I’ll trade with anyone who has a Jacuzzi.

    Policeman: Hey! Watch it!
    Kermit the Frog: Oh, sorry. I gotta get a contract so I can go out and kill ’em.
    Policeman: [dismissing his suspicion after a moment] Nahhhhh!

    Baby Kermit: [Muppet Babies, singing] She’s gonna be a movie star. And she wants to learn to drive a car; gonna be a vet’rinarian, too.
    [to Kermit]
    Miss Piggy: And I’m gonna always love you-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh!
    Fozzie Bear: Well, she’s gonna be a singer, whoa whoa whoa!
    Scooter: And she’s gonna learn to fly a plane!
    Rowlf: She’ll be a doctor of diseases and help you with your sneezes…
    Gonzo: …and practice neurosurgery on your brain!

    22.Pete: Rats want job. Frog want job. What next, penguins?
    [a group of penguins peek through the door]
    Penguin: Do you have any jobs available?
    Pete, Kermit, and the Rats: No!
    Penguin: Well, excuse us for living!

    Dog in kennel: Does Snookums Wookums want a boney woney?

    What was missing.

    Fozzie Bear: Hey, Kermit. Can our friends watch the show from backstage?
    Kermit the Frog: What? No! No, they cannot watch the show from backstage. 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!

    Wow, this was long.


  2. Matt H says:

    And, honestly, what’s better than Miss Piggy with an awesome ’80’s perm??

  3. thepresidentrix says:

    ‘Friends hug! Friends do not spy!’

  4. […] the four so far, and the next one’s name, The Angels Take Manhattan, is not only a play on a family favorite, but it is Amy and Rory’s last episode. I’ll be more sorry to see Rory go, actually, as […]

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