|So says Kermit when nephew Robin asks if the movie they’re about to watch is an accurate portrayal of how the Muppets came together. For the next ninety-seven minutes, Robin (and the rest of us) watch as the story of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the gang unfolds in classic "Bob and Bing" road movie style. While the veracity of the facts may be doubtful, there is no ambiguity as to the humor and heart of The Muppet Movie.
In the film, Kermit’s humble beginnings are as a content swamp frog. Not until he runs into Bernie the agent, does he consider a life of showbiz. Although sad to leave the swamp, the little green one can't resist the notion of "making millions of people happy." After being kicked out of the El Sleezo Café by James Coburn, Kermit asks the likewise mistreated Fozzie if he’d like to join him on his “Hollywood or Bust” adventure, and the movie becomes a true buddy road picture.
Things turn ugly when the pair meets up with Doc Hopper, owner of Hopper’s Frog Legs restaurant, who wants Kermit to do his commercials. Naturally, Kermit is horrified and refuses the offer. Kermit and Fozzie must elude Doc and his sidekick, Max, while trying to get to Hollywood in time to audition for big-time producer Lew Lord.
The road to Hollywood is paved with weirdoes and Kermit and Fozzie meet many of them. In addition to picking up Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rowlf and the Electric Mayhem, Kermit and Fozzie also run into numerous furless celebrities. Among them: Madeline Kahn, "Myth" Carol Kane, Elliot Gould, Richard Pryor, Telly Savales, Cloris Leachman, Mel Brooks, Steve Martin, Paul Williams (who wrote the film’s songs) and Lew Lord himself, Orson Welles. In a tip of the hat to their comedic predecessors, the filmmakers also created cameos for the legendary Edgar Bergen and Charles McCarthy, Milton Berle, and Mr. Road Picture himself, Bob Hope. These groundbreakers were effectively being thanked for the memories and their influence.
The Muppet Movie was not only a fun ride and a gut-busting pseudo-biopic, it was a tremendous success for Henson and company. The film was one of the biggest hits of 1979, and the Muppets have been making films ever since.
At heart, the Muppets were always entertainers, and in the film’s final grand production number, the Muppets, and their creators, paid a touching salute to Hollywood. Thanking both the industry that let their dreams come true and the fans who shared those dreams, all one hundred and thirty Muppets looked into the camera and sang:
"Life’s like a movie, write your own ending.
Keep believing, keep pretending.
We have done what we set out to do!
Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers and you!!"