When you think of The Muppet Show, what do you remember? Glamour? Sure. Miss Piggy wrote the book on style. Laughs? You bet, and lots of 'em, thanks to Fozzie Bear. Excitement? Pshaw. No adventurer ever threw himself into a stunt more enthusiastically — or more literally — than Gonzo the Great. And heart? Yeah, you read that right — heart. Amid all of the comical chaos, one Muppet embodied the sweet sentiments of friendship and inclusion that were the hallmarks of the ensemble's creator, the late Jim Henson. As TV Guide Online celebrates the 25th anniversary of The Muppet Show today, it seems to us that what the world needs now is more Muppets — and humans — like the variety program's good-natured ringleader, Kermit the Frog.
TV Guide Online: The old showbiz saying goes, "Never work with children or animals." But, on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, you did both. Any regrets?Kermit the Frog: None whatsoever. I love kids, and I am an animal, so it all came quite natural.
TVGO: How hard was it to venture out from the security of your Sesame Street pad to headline the cast of The Muppet Show?KTF: It wasn't that hard. I knew that if we all did the best job we could, The Muppet Show would either be a big hit or Id be sitting on a log catching flies in the swamp; either way, I couldn't lose.
TVGO: Looking back at your stint as host of The Muppet Show, do you think that there was anything you could have done to keep the inmates from taking over the asylum?KTF: Gee, then there wouldn't have been a show.
TVGO: We saw a lot of craziness on the air, but I've heard rumors that there was even more insanity going on backstage. Can you give me an example?KTF: Actually, the backstage insanity was exactly like the on-stage insanity, only the lighting and props weren't as good.
TVGO: Today, stunt-driven series like Fear Factor and Jackass are all the rage. Do you think that, what with Animal and Gonzo's antics, The Muppet Show was ahead of its time?KTF: Absolutely. When we first came on, we were the strangest thing on TV; now the strangest thing on TV is reality. We were real strange before anyone.
TVGO: In The Muppet Movie, it's your dream to go to Hollywood and break into films. Having done exactly that, how does the reality compare with the dream?KTF: The reality is even better than the dream... except for the traffic and parking.
TVGO: You once sang, "Someday you'll find it, the rainbow connection." What were you doing when you found it?KTF: I was looking around at my friends, and realizing that this bear and that pig and that... whatever... were the connection I'd been trying to make all my life. The next thing I knew, the pig had me in a headlock.
TVGO: Speaking of Miss Piggy, what's your first memory of her? Was it love at first sight?KTF: Like I said, the pig had me in a headlock. And I wouldn't exactly describe it as "love at first sight," but there was definitely an immediate bond between us. At least until she let me go.
TVGO: So many Tinseltown twosomes have tried, and failed, to maintain a long-term relationship in the spotlight. What's the secret of your and Miss Piggy's success?KTF: We respect each other. We care about each other. And she won't leave me alone.
TVGO: In many of your films, you seem a little... well, uncomfortable playing the leading man. Yet you once posed for a poster in your Calvin Kleins — which was more wardrobe than you often wore. So, which is the real you: the awkward and shy everyfrog, or the uninhibited amphibian sex symbol?KTF: I'm not really a sex symbol, and I'm not really shy. I'm just your everyday, average talking frog who happens to live in a swamp called Hollywood.
TVGO: One of the pictures that you have in development is called Muppet Time Travel. If you could turn back the clock, is there anything that you would do differently?KTF: Not really. It's a good life. I love it. No regrets.
TVGO: Finally, all these years later, has it gotten any easier being green?KTF: Sure. Being green, accepting myself, gets easier every day... except, of course, for the traffic and parking.
For details regarding the upcoming weekend-long MuppetFest! extravaganza, visit Henson.com.