Saturday, February 04, 2006


Doc Hopper and the Super Bowl

The big game is tomorrow. Steelers vs. Seahawks. Are you ready for some football? America consumes more food on this day than any other day of the year except for Thanksgiving. It is also the big TV ad day. Kermit the Frog will be shilling for Ford and Miss Piggy for Pizza Hut.

Jim Henson died on May 16, 1990. Since then, Kermit has been employed to do TV advertising for Kohl's Department store (1995), Apple IMac (2000), BMW (2005) and now Ford. Miss Piggy did Lay's Potato chips (1996) and now Pizza Hut.

The plot of the Muppet Movie is that Kermit has to choose between doing TV advertisements for Doc Hopper or following his dream to make people happy. The climax has a man to frog showdown in a ghost town.

You gonna do my TV commercial live or stuffed?...
If what I'm saying doesn't make any sense to you, then go ahead and kill me.
Kermit would rather be dead than do the TV commercial.

I have not been able to find any instances of Kermit or the other muppets doing commercials while Henson was alive (other than to promote muppets stuff). Please let me know if I'm mistaken.

There's more I could say about how I feel about this dilution of Kermit, but instead, I think this version of Rainbow Connection captures it just fine.

Update 2/4: After some more research, I read a description of a talk History of the Muppets given by Jane Henson where she is to have said that in the early 60's, Kermit was in a commercial for Eskay hot dogs:
While the announcer is talking about the hot dogs, kermit and harry are next to her, dancing in time to some music. At the appropriate times, kermit and harry sing "es-kay!", "hot-spots!", and "yum-yum!" in time with the music. This proceeds for some time, until the announcer says "eskay" instaid of kermit and harry. The two stop the music, and explain to the announcer that _they_ are the ones who say "eskay!", etc. The music starts up again and they proceed.
Also, around this time, Cookie Monster did an efficiency training film for IBM and commercials for Frito-Lay's Munchos, and Rowlf made his debut in a Purina dog food commercial. Nothing found after the early 60's.

I am tempted to TiVo the Superbowl and fast forward to watch the commercials so I won't have to watch the actual game.

In one of the Super Bowl debut commercials, Jessica Simpson is going don a Pizza Hut uniform (in a special mini-skirt length) and go beyond her sexy "These Boots" video by shooting ping-pong ball sized pizza rolls from between her legs. (okay, perhaps I am exaggerating a little bit...)

I assume she got paid a lot to do this commercial.
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