Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The First Mate is an Overacting Ham!

Miss Piggy is a terrible actress.  Old science fiction shows and B-movies were known to be dismal, unintelligent schlock, but the performance Piggy gives as "First Mate Piggy" really takes the cake.

In the early skits, Piggy tried her best to play the typical air-headed bimbo.  She was the token "hot girl" that sci-fi flicks used to broaden their appeal.  As this role, she was supposed to swoon over the chiseled Captain Hogthrob and hang on his every word.  Piggy steps it up a notch by treating every line as if it were part of some overblown melodrama. (She often speaks like this in real life as well, so it is not too much of a stretch for her.)  However, as soon as an aspect of the sketch does not go her way, she drops her whimsical demeanor and goes into snarky violent mode.

As time progresses, Piggy commits herself less and less to each passing scene.  This problem is so rampant that the lines of reality are often blurred.  The Muppet Show bills itself as a variety show with music and comedy, yet the "Pigs in Space" sketches seem to exist on their own plane.  Like Futurama the sketches are supposed to parody standard sci-fi conventions.  So it is okay that the scenes are comedic.  Yet much of the humor comes from seemingly unplanned moments.  Piggy often breaks character, commenting on her distaste for the situations.  But is "First Mate Piggy" supposed to be saying these lines or is it Piggy herself?  When other members of The Muppet Show appear in the sketch, Link and Dr. Strangepork always treat them as aliens.  Are they just ad-libbing or does "Pigs in Space" actually take place in an alternate universe?

The next few scenes play with that paradox as Piggy purposefully does not play along with the sketch (yet decides to appear anyway).

While the first sketch can be explained as Piggy just being uncooperative, the second is far more confusing.  As Link and Dr. Strangepork try to fix a gas leak, First Mate Piggy enters and leaves in a huff thinking that the audience is hissing at her.  Why does she do this?  Was that in the script?  It is actions like these that lead me to believe Piggy is so bad at acting that she does not rehearse her scenes before hand.  She does not even bother to learn what the sketch is about!  Link's sexist comments always seem to catch her off guard.  At first I thought, maybe she is supposed to be a bold, empowering character with a feminist attitude and that's why she fights back against Hogthrob's insults.  But that doesn't explain her character when she is acting flighty and weak.  We rarely see much of "First Mate Piggy" but we see an awful lot of the woman behind her.

"Aye aye, mon capitán!"

Imagine if you were Kermit, trying to organize this show, and your leading actress kept pulling stunts like this.  She keeps breaking character to reprimand her co-stars for behaving immaturely even though that is the point of the sketches.  She is the most unprofessional performer on the show, despite her delusions that she is a prima donna.  You can start to see why he is not too fond of her advances towards him.

One wonders what "Pigs in Space" is actually supposed to be like.  Is it supposed to be comedic at all?  Is it supposed to add some actual drama to the variety show?  The End of the Universe sketch seems particularly poignant even in it's absurdity.  The pigs, faced with learning the meaning of life, instead choose dinner, being pigs and all.  This seems to be the one sketch where Piggy stays committed to the show...that is until she threatens the announcer with a violent outburst.

If it weren't for Miss Piggy, his show could have been as groundbreaking as Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Tune in tomorrow for more philosophical conundrums on PIGS!  IN!  SPAAAAACE!

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