The Muppets Take Manhattan(1984)
Submitted by Tornado Dragon
One day, Kermit the Frog manages to sell Manhattan Melodies to first-time producer Ronnie Crawford, and afterwards, he calls Miss Piggy and Jenny at the latter’s father’s luncheonette and gives them this good news before telling them that they need to get in touch with all the other Muppets and get them back here. Unfortunately, shortly after hanging up, he is struck by a taxicab and taken to a hospital, and the doctors there soon diagnose him with amnesia. After being released later in the week, he ends up taking the name “Phillip Phil” and gets a job at an advertising firm run by three other frogs.
The Muppets are contacted and they return to the city, and when they all meet up in the luncheonette and find out that Kermit is missing, they – along with Jenny and Ronnie – spend the next week alternating their time between preparing for the show and searching for Kermit. Unfortunately, all their searches yield nothing. On the lunch hour of opening night, Kermit finally appears before Jenny, Ronnie, and the Muppets when he and the other frogs come into the luncheonette to grab a bite to eat, and though the Muppets are initially thrilled to see him, their excitement soon dwindles when he fails to recognize any of them. They thus forcibly take him down to the theater where the show is taking place, hoping that something there will jog his memory somehow, but all their attempts fail. When Miss Piggy makes a final appeal to Kermit to remember who he is and remember their friends, she also tells him that they are in love, but he finds this to be absurd and starts laughing and making jokes about it. Miss Piggy hits him with one of her karate chops in response, but thankfully, this causes his memory to return.
Just before the show starts, Kermit sees that the Muppets have brought along the numerous animal friends they made while they were away, and Kermit realizes that what his musical has been missing all this time is MORE animals, so he tells them all that they are ALL going to be in the show. They then get the musical underway, and it becomes an instant hit with the audience. However, come time for the wedding scene between Kermit’s and Miss Piggy’s characters, Kermit notices that Miss Piggy substituted Gonzo with a supposedly real minister, since he had promised to marry her if the show made it to Broadway. Despite some hesitation, Kermit ultimately says “I do,” and Miss Piggy gives him a big kiss to close out the film.
While Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Jenny (Juliana Donald) are working at the luncheonette owned by Jenny’s father, Pete (Louis Zorich), they read the latest round of letters from some of the other Muppets where they talk about all of the good things that have been going in their lives (though they are all exaggerations and/or lies). However, Miss Piggy notices that one of the letters is addressed to Kermit from a man named Bernard Crawford (Art Carney). When they read the letter, they find out that Bernard is very interested in Kermit’s musical, Manhattan Melodies, and he wants to meet with him in his office at his earliest convenience to talk more about it. After Jenny informs Kermit and Miss Piggy that Bernard is a big-time Broadway producer, Kermit wastes little time in running over to his office. He meets a young man outside the office door who initially introduces himself as “Mr. Crawford,” but he soon admits to Kermit that he is actually Bernard’s son, Ronnie (Lonny Price), and that he had forged his father’s signature on the letter to get him to come over here. He explains that HE is the one who is interested in producing Manhattan Melodies on Broadway, and he states that it will be his first job as a producer. Before he can explain further, Bernard shows up, and as he and Ronnie chat, we learn that he and Ronnie had an agreement where he would give Ronnie one chance to become a Broadway producer and provide him with all of the sets, lights, scenery, etc. that he would need for his first show. Ronnie soon tells his father that he wants to take that chance right now, after which he introduces him to Kermit and tells him that Kermit has a musical that he wants to produce. Kermit then explains to Bernard all about what his musical is and how he and his friends will be starring in it, and though Bernard finds it to be ridiculous, he accepts that it might make it on Broadway regardless of how he personally feels about it, so he decides to give Ronnie the chance to produce it.
Ecstatic, Kermit heads outside and calls the luncheonette on a payphone, and Jenny picks up on the other end, with Miss Piggy listening in. Kermit tells them both that he has sold the show, and he tells Jenny that he will let her design the costumes for it since she had told him earlier in the film that she was an aspiring fashion designer. Miss Piggy then asks him if this means that they will be getting married now, since he had promised her that they would tie the knot if their play ever made it to Broadway. Kermit replies that they can’t talk about that right now because they have to write to all the other Muppets and tell them to come back here, and he informs her that he will be at the luncheonette in ten minutes. However, shortly after he hangs up, Kermit walks into a crosswalk without noticing that the “Don’t Walk” sign has been lit up, and he is subsequently struck by a taxicab and taken to a hospital.
By the time the luncheonette closes for the day, Miss Piggy is worried sick about Kermit due to his failure to return, and she tells Jenny and Pete that she is convinced that he has gone missing. Jenny tries to soothe her worries by reminding her that she is going to be a Broadway star in a few months, but then Ronnie appears at the door and corrects her by saying that the show will be opening in two weeks. He first introduces himself to Miss Piggy, Jenny, and Pete before explaining that, while his father promised him that he would get them the sets, props, and costumes they need for the show, he is getting these things for them on the condition that they open two weeks from today. He then gets worried himself since he overheard what Miss Piggy just said about Kermit, and Jenny tells Piggy that they will go out and look for Kermit right now. However, Ronnie tells them that they still have to get in touch will all of Kermit’s friends and bring them back here, so Jenny asks her father to send out telegrams to all of the other Muppets informing them that the musical has been sold and that they need to come back to New York right away. Pete does so, and the Muppets promptly make their way back to the city as soon as they receive their telegrams, bringing along the various new friends that they made at their jobs.
Later that week, we see Kermit resting in a hospital bed, and when a doctor comes into his room to take a look at him, we find out that he has been diagnosed with amnesia. The doctor brings up how no one at the hospital could tell him who he was because he had no photo identification on him when he was found, and she soon tells him that he has no hope of getting his old memory back, so it would be best for him to start a new life and get a nice job. He is thus given a set of clothes and released, and he walks over to a building on Madison Avenue that has an employment agency on one of its floors. However, he accidentally wanders into an advertising firm run by a trio of frogs named Gil, Bill, and Jill, and before he learns their names, he decides to call himself “Phillip Phil,” which he derives from a slogan on an old ad framed on a nearby wall. They take him into their office to get an opinion from an “ordinary common frog-on-the-street” about some slogans for a brand of soap that they have come up with, and after listening to their slogans and not liking any of them, he comes up with one for them on the spot that they really like. Grateful for his suggestion (since they were in danger of losing their jobs if they didn’t come up with a good slogan), the trio of frogs decide to reward “Phillip” by giving him a job at their firm, and he quickly adapts to being an advertising executive.
While all of the above events are occurring to Kermit, all of the Muppets meet up in the luncheonette, and after being informed by Miss Piggy that Kermit has disappeared, the Muppets – along with Jenny and Ronnie – form teams and take turns searching the city day and night for Kermit for an entire week (and when they are not searching, they spend every spare moment rehearsing their lines and their songs and making various preparations for the show). Unfortunately, all their searches yield nothing. On the lunch hour of opening night, Jenny, Ronnie, and the Muppets are seen sitting together in one of the luncheonette’s booths looking downhearted over their failure to locate Kermit, and they decide that they are just going to have to do the show without him. Kermit then enters the luncheonette with Gil, Bill, and Jill to grab a bite to eat and sits in the neighboring booth, and though he initially goes unnoticed by his friends, he grabs their attentions when they overhear him using a spoon to subconsciously play notes from the show’s opening number on some glasses of water. Gonzo spots Kermit first and excitedly tells the others that he is here, but though everyone is initially overjoyed and relieved to see him, their excitement soon dwindles when he fails to recognize any of them. Miss Piggy tells the others that they have to get him to the theater where their musical is taking place, hoping that something there will jog his memory somehow, so they all seize him and carry him off.
The gang spends hours trying to bring Kermit’s memory back, but all their attempts are unsuccessful, and Scooter remarks that they will have to go back to their plan to do the show without him. Shortly after Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem start playing music to signal that the show is about to begin, Miss Piggy makes a final appeal to Kermit to remember who he is and to remember her and their friends, then tries to remind him that he loves her and wants to marry her and have children with her. Thinking it absurd that a frog would be in love with a pig, Kermit starts to laugh and make jokes about it, prompting Miss Piggy – in typical anger-induced fashion – to hit him with one of her signature karate chops, which sends him flying upside down into a chair. After he gets over the impact, we find out that Miss Piggy’s attack has caused his memory to return.
After everyone helps Kermit sit upright, Ronnie informs him that his show is starting in a few moments. Kermit protests this, saying that the script isn’t ready and that he feels that there is still something missing. After Jenny and Ronnie excuse themselves to let everybody know that Kermit is okay, Miss Piggy asks Kermit if he remembers the opening number, so he starts to sing “Right Where I Belong,” during which the Muppets help him get ready for the show. When they exit the dressing room, they find Gil, Bill, Jill, and all the other Muppets’ new friends standing outside, and Fozzie Bear asks if they can all watch the musical from backstage. Kermit replies that they can’t, because he has just realized that what the show has been missing is MORE animals, and he declares that they are ALL going to be in the show. Kermit and the primary Muppets then get the show started and continue with “Right Where I Belong,” after which they go into the number featuring the marriage between Kermit’s and Miss Piggy’s characters (during which a bunch of Sesame Street characters make cameos as wedding guests). Meanwhile, the audience smiles, laughs, and applauds the spectacle the whole way through, and Jenny, Ronnie, and their fathers watch everything from the side of the stage with big smiles on their faces.
When Kermit and Miss Piggy reach the altar, Kermit notices that the minister is being played by an older gentleman instead of Gonzo. When he mentions this to Miss Piggy, she guiltily laughs at this, hinting that she substituted Gonzo with an actual minister so he could marry them for real. Kermit is hesitant when it comes time for him to say “I do,” given that he doesn’t know for sure if the minister is real or not, nor is he quite ready to make this kind of commitment, but he ends up saying it anyway. Miss Piggy gives Kermit a big kiss to close out the film.