Miss Piggy, circa the early 80s I think
As a girl I loved Miss Piggy. I loved the Muppets in general, really, and I wouldn’t say I loved Miss Piggy best of all or more than most or anything. I was partial to her because she was pretty much the only girl, and because for a pig she’s quite pretty, and because she’s funny – speaking her pretentious French, alternating between “Kissy-kissy” and “HIYAA!”, all that jazz.
Growing up, I’ve maintained a healthy love for Miss Piggy, and over the years been a little disappointed with how her characterization has shifted as the Muppets’ movies have passed around and the Muppets themselves became a bit directionless post-Jim Henson. (I’m not going to make this a rant about post-Jim Henson. I COULD, but I won’t.) I’m not the only person to have noticed it, I know that from reading articles on ToughPigs.com and other places, but it rankled me a bit.
The thing is, the characterization of all of the Muppets has suffered (IMO) in the past decade or so; Kermit is a bit more of a flat nice guy, Fozzie is dumber than he was before, stuff like that. (Oddly enough, they have the secondary characters down pat. Dr. Teeth? Rowlf? Made of win.) But somehow these things don’t bother me as much as the
“Nice eyes, sturdy legs, and it may have been my imagination but I think she found me attractive.” –Kermit, “The Great Muppet Caper”
degeneration of Miss Piggy, which I suppose is what helped me to realize that she’s a little bit of a role model to me.Miss Piggy is, of course, a comedic character. Of course she is – she’s a Muppet. Any Muppets that are not intended to be funny are, IMO, at heart a mistake. Unless they are intended to be fantastical – that is permitted. But Piggy is not fantastical, she is a glamourous and ambitious talking pig, and thus she is funny. That’s not to say she is without heart, or without realistic qualities, only that she comes from a caricature and is meant to inspire humour. Piggy’s character is one who has climbed from nothing to achieve her dreams, and her method of getting her dreams is to visualize herself as having already accomplished them. She thus lives in a bit of a haze of self-delusion, as in the Muppet Show she considered herself and Kermit either already an item or on the verge of being one, herself a glamourous star, and her lifestyle one to be admired. She dresses and carries herself to match her intentions – get there by living it, I guess, is her motto. But the delicate and often helpless beauty queen is a facade covering a woman who has fought for herself because no one else will, who has a will of iron and will never give up, and who will take absolutely no guff.
Piggy’s eyes are a defining feature; I love how they’re designed to be “catching the light” even without added lensflares.
The mistake, I think, is when you take Piggy’s healthy ego (and yes, she has it; she makes sure that she is the recognized star at all possible moments) and turn it so that it defines her. Piggy thinks of herself but not to the point of being unlikeable. Occasionally unpleasant, but not outright nasty. Piggy also follows her star to the point of doing foolish things, but to paint her AS a fool, to humiliate her because she’s blinded herself to reality, is to diminish the character and what she has genuinely accomplished for herself.
In short: you do not make it look like Piggy is nothing. That makes her look pathetic and sad, not funny. You make it look as if she is something, but only because she is CONSTANTLY promoting herself and perhaps about half of her adoring audience is there because she may have arranged it in order to look more famous than she is. 😉 She’s always on top of such things.
My original OTP.
Piggy and Kermit… I think they are my original ship. Looking back, I can’t think of any romantic pairing I supported overtly before Piggy and Kermit. It’s led to my liking of romantic links that happen specifically because one of the pair is so determined to win over the other one. The relationship is very delicate, because to have Kermit overtly swooning over Piggy is out of character for him, but over the many years of their – uh – “courtship” it’s undeniable that he’s become a lot more fond of her. From what I’ve heard the Muppets now have them as canonically a couple, which is… I’m not sure… I think I like it undefined. But at the same time part of me is like “YES! Way to go Piggy!” 😉
“The Muppets”, the 2011 movie, went a long way in reframing Miss Piggy and getting her back to her roots. A lot of her dignity is restored, the idea that she is more successful of any of the other Muppets post-show falls directly into what I was saying: Piggy will pursue her star and make it happen; she is driven and when she runs into a blockade in her life, she relocates to France and becomes a high-powered fashion editor. I also love, LOVE, how she takes over when Kermit drops out. There were scenes when she became a bit too, IMO, maudlin – I thought portions of the movie did that repeatedly – but Piggy was fundamentally herself, high-spirited and iron-willed, tough as nails behind a “delicate flower” routine, and ultimately devoted to… herself first, Kermit second. 😀
So with all that said… things I have learned from Miss Piggy.
1. Believe in yourself. No matter what happens, believe it and then make it happen.
2. Behave, dress, and present yourself as the person you want to be.
3. Don’t buy into how “everyone” says you should look. Love yourself, find your beauty, and present it. Know you’re beautiful, and you will be. Slug the people who say otherwise in the gut. 😉
4. Take care of yourself. It’s good to know when to let someone else help you, or at least let them feel like they can, but don’t wait for your prince to come and take you away from everything. Make it happen yourself and don’t let anyone stamp you down. Fight back.
5. Play to your strengths. Find the thing you love and know it inside and out. Own it. If you understand fashion then by golly, use that understanding to show the world how great you are.
6. Love yourself.
7. Love others. Love them passionately. Don’t miss your chances to say so.
8. Knowing a little bit of French never hurt anyone.
9. When in doubt, fake it, and look as if you know what you’re talking about. BSing can get you a long way.
10. Be enthusiastic, be emotional, just be yourself. You will only be happy in life if you are yourself. Even when you’re presenting yourself as the person you want to be, that person should still fundamentally be YOU. Maybe with a better hairstyle and a nice pair of heels.
Keep believing, keep pretending.