When I first met the Muppets I was about the size of Kermit, just a pollywog of a lad, sitting every week upon orange shag carpet in front of a TV the size of an icebox. Then the theme song started, and the world filled with felt and laughter.
Over the years I did my thing and the Muppets did theirs. I would go visit them at the cinema, or they would find me between a VCR and a gallon of ice cream, and despite the time that had passed we picked up right where we had left off. We never skipped a beat.
And we were happy.
Then a few months ago I was hanging out on Hollywood Boulevard, posing for photos with tourists, and watching dreams born dance around the ghosts of those that had shattered — it was a playground for the senses and the senseless. That’s a weeknight in Tinseltown. And that’s when I met Walter.
Like me, Walter had been a fan of the Muppets since his childhood; however, unlike me, Walter had his wish to join the Muppets granted — and he has the movie to prove it (The Muppets).
That’s when he shared his advice for the kids out there, the ones that want to follow their own dreams:
“[I would tell them] to follow their dreams. No, yeah, I mean it’s like Kermit always says. You know, life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing. It’s in a song somewhere isn’t it?
I mean when I was a kid, sometimes, I’d always see grownups go into work, and you know, griping about their job, and as a kid, you know, you see things, you know, you oversimplify things. And I thought as a kid, well if you’re grumpy and unhappy why are you going?
You know, you don’t know about things like mortgages and paying bills and taking care of things, so when I was a kid I thought well, what would I like to do so when I go to work as a grownup [where] I can be like yeah, I’m going to work and, uh, and I discovered the Muppets.
That’s the advice I’d give to kids, I guess, as far as following your dreams — figure out what makes them happy and figure out a way to do that for your life.
Wow, it got deep. Holy smokes. I didn’t see that coming.”
It turns out that they were filming the new Muppet movie, Muppets Most Wanted right there on the street, so I decided to track down Kermit and get his take on Walter, to ask if he had taken Walter on as a protégé. I figured if Walter could make it then maybe I could, too.
“Well, you know,” said Kermit. “Walter is a great guy. He’s a wonderful Muppet fan, you know, so I guess you could say that. He’s got a place with the Muppets now. You know, he has to do more than whistle, you know. I mean he can’t just whistle so we’re finding — he’s finding his Muppet feet . . . which is hard because many of the Muppets, you really don’t see their feet.”
Kermit didn’t offer me a part in the film, but it was still a great night. I met some old friends, hung out on a live set, ate something cold out of a cup, and overall I felt pretty good about the experience. I was content.
That’s when I saw her.
Miss Piggy was a vision. She was stunning and fierce. And I’m not just saying that because she implied physical violence if I didn’t. I’m dropping the gospel, people.
Miss Piggy was lovely.
I was curious as to how Miss Piggy enjoyed working with Walter.
“Who?” she asked.
He had said that she didn’t know his name.
“The coffee boy, yes. Yes, I suppose he’s all right. You know, he messes up my coffee order all the time but, you know, it’ll . . . it’ll do.”
Someone that knew more about Muppets Most Wanted than I did added, “He saves Kermit.”
“Really?” she asked. “He saves Kermit. What does he save Kermit from? Me? Is that what he said? It might be time to get a new coffee boy.”
And then she was mobbed by adoring fans and fanatic bloggers.
It was getting late, so I decided to just quote the press release:
Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine — the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit the Frog — and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais. The film stars Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon, and Tina Fey as Nadya, a feisty prison guard.
Muppets Most Wanted looks awesome, but don’t just take my word for it, believe the Internet:
Muppets Most Wanted opens in theaters on March 21, 2014.
Photos: Muppets Most Wanted Press Day. ©2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Whit Honea is the author of The Parents’ Phrase Book. Read more at his site Honea Express. You can follow Whit on the Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble, Disney, or most rational people).