Film / Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince
The Frog Prince
(released on home video as Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince
) is a Muppets
special released in 1971 and directed by Jim Henson. It is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of The Frog Prince
narrated by Kermit the Frog. Kermitís nephew Robin and Sweetums made their debuts in this special, playing Sir Robin the Brave and an ogre, respectively.
"The Frog Prince" contains examples of the following tropes:
- Achievements in Ignorance: Despite being a frog, Robin can't swim, so Kermit teaches him...and while still not getting the knack of swimming, Robin somehow learns how to dog-paddle.
Kermit: ...a frog does not dog-paddle!
- Adaptational Heroism: In the original version of the fairy tale, neither the princess or the frog come across as very likable - the frog forces the princess (implied to be quite young) to keep him as a friend if he gets her back her ball and the princess abandons him and ultimately throws him against the wall (which breaks the curse, but still). In this version, the princess is a kind young woman who is happy to keep the frog as a pet and is trying to keep the evil witch from taking over the kingdom, while the frog is very polite and kind to her and ultimately defeats the witch.
- Alcohol Hic: Kermit after he's had too much punch.
- Animorphism: Man to Frog to Man.
- Beast and Beauty: A beautiful princess hooks up with a frog.
- Bewitched Amphibians: The title character, as usual.
- Breakout Character: Robin and Sweetums.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: The King.
Why's a king's wand called a scepter? 'Cuz everyone in the kingdom works and he doesn't!
- Cassandra Truth: None of the other frogs believe Robin when he tells them he's a prince. To be fair, the story is pretty far fetched, and even Kermit is initially skeptical.
- Covers Always Lie: The 1994 VHS release has an image of Melora kissing Kermit, as if Kermit is the titular Frog Prince instead of Robin.
- Deadpan Snarker: Kermit serves this role.
- The Ditz: The king somehow believes that Taminella is his "long-lost sister" because she tells him that her father has the same name as his. He accepts this without question. He also seems unable to grasp his daughter's attempts to tell him that her "aunt" is responsible for her curse, despite her clearly pointing at Taminella every time the king asks who cast the spell.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This special is the first appearance of Robin and Sweetums, but while Robin (despite his role as a cursed human instead of Kermit's nephew) is fairly recognizable, Sweetums is a simple-minded but evil brute who uses Hulk Speak — far from the "tough guy with a heart of gold" he'd come to be known as. He also has a different voice.
- Evil Aunt: Invoked with Aunt Taminella, though she is not really Melora's aunt.
- Fluffy the Terrible: The evil witch has a very large ogre henchman named "Sweetums".
- Gondor Calls for Aid: In the climax, Kermit calls all of his pals from the swamp in to assault "Aunt Taminella".
- The High Queen: Princess Melora aspires to be this. It seems to be agreed kingdom-wide that her taking over as ruler of the land will be great. Her "Aunt Taminella", on the other hand...
- Odd Name Out: Kermit and the other frogs find Sir Robin the Brave to be an "unusual name for a frog".
- Oh, Crap!:
- Robin, Melora and Kermit all share this reaction when it's announced just who is going to inherit the kingdom.
Taminella: Your father and I have been talking, and, uh, it seems to us that a queen who can't be understood is worse than no queen at all.
Melora: You mean—I don't get to quee the been?
Taminella: No, you don't get to be the queen.
Melora: Oh, dear!
Taminella: (smugly) I DO.
Robin, Melora and Kermit: Oh, no!
- Several between Kermit and Robin during the "trick Sweetums into releasing Robin" scene.
Kermit: (pretending to be Taminella) Nice old cuddle-kins, get up now.
Sweetums: Cuddle-kins get up...cuddle-kins wake up!
Kermit: Oh no-no-no-no-no, don't wake up!
(a little while later, after a more successful attempt to make Sweetums "stay asleep and let frog go"...)
Sweetums: (jumps awake) LET FROG GO?!
- Politeness Judo: Kermit convinces a half-asleep Sweetums to "stay asleep and let frog go".
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Taminella has magical powers, but doesn't do anything to the king and doesn't want him to know she's a witch. Then again, she does curse Melora so she can't tell the king who "Aunt Taminella" really is, and really, she doesn't need to do anything more. The king is easily persuaded to name her heir simply because Melora can't be understood.
- Spit Take: Kermit, drinking from the punch bowl, has a moment of this when King Rupert mistakes Robin's species.
Rupert: (about Robin) Why, look at that. It's a toad!
Kermit: (chokes) A toad?!
- Spoiled Sweet: Princess Melora. She's good-natured, is kind to Robin even when she doesn't believe that he's actually a prince, tries to expose the witch and keep her from stealing the throne, and thanks the frogs of the kingdom for their help at the end of the story.
- Spoonerism: The spell on Princess Melora makes her speak exclusively in these, making it hard for her to tell her father that "Tant Aminella" is really a "weevil itch" and "sot your nister!"
- Tongue-Tied: The princess is cursed to speak in scrambled sentences so that she can't unmask the witch. The frog prince is the only one able to understand her, perhaps because he was transformed by the same witch...or because he's halfway competent, given that the princess, whenever asked who cursed her, points at her "Aunt Taminella" while shouting "Tant Aminella! Tant Aminella!" Her father, on the other hand ...
- "Bake the hall in the candle of her brain" is a bit trickier, but manageable ( "Break the ball in the handle of her cane").
- Took a Level in Badass: The witch, Taminella, originated from a pilot for another Jim Henson-made puppet show that didn't get off the ground, Tales Of The Tinkerdee. In that, she's a witch who tries to steal birthday presents using cheesy disguises. Here, she's become much, much more dangerous and powerful.
- True Love's Kiss: Like most adaptations of the tale, Sir Robinís curse is broken by a kiss with a princess.
- Villain Song: Sweetums' song as he chases after Kermit and Robin in the dungeon.
- We Named the Monkey "Jack": In the epilogue, Prince Robin and Princess Melora have a son they named Kermit, after their trusty frog companion.
- Wicked Witch: "Aunt" Taminella.