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Film / Hey Cinderella!

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Hey Cinderella is a Muppets special released in 1969 that was directed by Jim Henson and written by Jon Stone and Tom Whedon. It is a retelling of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella and features Kermit the Frog in a supporting role. Many of the puppets would be reused for the similar special Tales from Muppetland: The Frog Prince two years later.

Made in Toronto, the special aired on CBC first in 1969 before premiering on ABC a year later.


"Hey Cinderella" contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: After repeatedly screwing up her spell to turn a pumpkin into a carriage, the Fairy Godmother finally succeeds when she manages to string a set of magic words all together as she lists all of her failures when trying to cast the spell.
  • Bowdlerize: The back cover of the 1994 home video release includes an image of King Goshposh with his cigar digitally removed from the photo (though it is still present in the special itself).
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The Fairy Godmother often screws her spells up and repeatedly mistakes Cinderella for characters like Pinocchio and Dorothy, but otherwise is fairly competent when it comes to helping Cinderella out.
  • Characterization Marches On: Kermit is much more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold than the Nice Guy he's better known for being.
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  • Cigar Chomper: The king always has a cigar in his mouth. Sometimes, it's not even lit.
  • Clark Kenting: Despite the fact that Cinderella and Arthur should recognize each other's voices at the very least, just because they're wearing masks at the masquerade ball neither is able to realize who the other is.
    • Taken Up to Eleven when the Fairy Godmother fails to recognize Splurge the monster because he has a tiny domino mask on.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: As Kermit notes, Cinderella and Arthur could have been reunited months ago instead of unintentionally avoiding each other if Arthur had just let him tell her who he really was in the beginning.
  • Crossdressing Voices: The two Ugly Stepsisters are portrayed by Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kermit supplies the majority of snarking in the special. Not too surprising, considering the father of Joss Whedon co-wrote this.
  • Dramatic Irony: The entire story focuses on this. Arthur pretends to not be a prince when he meets Cinderella because the princesses he's met in the past have only been vain and selfish and interested in his title rather than him. Due to the ball being a masquerade, Arthur doesn't realize that the "mysterious princess" he meets is Cinderella. Thus during the third act when the king orders the men to search for her as per the story, Arthur does his best to try to avoid the "princess" and Cinderella doesn't have any interest marrying the prince because she's in love with the "castle gardener".
  • Dumbass Has a Point: The king decides that the mysterious princess must be avoiding him and that they should look in the least obvious place. Guess whose house is the first they search.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: For a Jim Henson special, this one is very light on songs. Aside from some early establishing scenes where vocals are heard singing about Cinderella and Prince Charming, respectively, there's only one real song, "If I Could Go Dancing", which isn't even sung by any Muppet characters.
  • Epic Fail: Arthur is so terrible as a gardener that the pumpkins he tries growing wind up smaller than tangerines.
  • Exact Words: Splurge uses this to take part in the ball, reminding the king that everyone in the kingdom except for frogs were invited to it, and it's clear just by looking at him that he's definitely not a frog.
  • Eye Glasses: Featherstone's eyes are part of his glasses instead of his head.
  • Fantastic Racism: The king is okay with everyone coming to the ball except for Kermit, and even explicitly bans all frogs from it in the invitations just to keep him from coming. He apparently softens up on this stance later though, since Kermit is shown receiving an invitation from his men to Arthur and Cinderella's wedding in The Stinger.
  • Gentle Giant: Splurge is pretty big and appears to be imposing but is otherwise very friendly and laidback, unless radishes are somehow involved.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: Played with in that Arthur accidentally steps on the slipper, making it next to impossible that he can find the girl. Then the King realizes that, while there might be a damsel out there with a pair of glass slippers, there's only one who could possibly have just one glass slipper.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Arthur tells his father how all of the past princesses he met have been vain, the king brings up how he turned out pretty well, as he then proceeds to gush excellent of a king he is.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The wicked stepmother and stepsisters practically run on this. Examples include having Cinderella find a muddy pool to walk in so she can get the floor dirty just to clean it later and convincing themselves that the best present for the king is old socks since it's the opposite of what Cinderella wants (a new hair ribbon).
    • At one point during the ball, Arthur (who thinks the "mysterious princess" he's dancing with is strangely familiar) asks if they went to school together. Cinderella (said "princess") says she never went to school. Arthur says that he hadn't either, then wonders if they met not going to school.
  • Ironic Echo: When Kermit sees how bad Arthur's gardening is, he tells him, "you're lucky you're a prince because you'd never make it as a gardener." When Cinderella, who does not yet know Arthur is actually the prince, has Arthur "pretend" to be the prince so she can practice interacting with him at the ball, she ends up saying to Arthur, "you're lucky you're a gardener because you'd never make it as a prince."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kermit is much more snappy than he is in later Muppet works but he still has no problem helping Cinderella out, stating "the easiest way to get to a frog is through his emotions!"
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Played for laughs with Splurge. The Fairy Godmother doesn't recognize him when he has a mask on, despite the fact that he's still a giant, fuzzy purple monster.
    • Cinderella and Arthur don't know they are dancing with each other at the ball, despite the fact that their masks only go over their eyes. They should recognize each others hair and voices. Semi-justified in that they were dressed differently than the other expected and had only met once, though three months later when they see each other again they instantly recognize each other, and Cinderella initially doesn't recognize Arthur in prince clothing.
    • At one point, the Fairy Godmother disguises herself as a lamp simply by putting a lampshade on her head. Despite actually speaking to the stepmother while in this "disguise", it works.
  • Refuge in Audacity: When the stepmother returns home unexpectedly and interrupts Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother's meeting, the Fairy Godmother disguises herself as a lamp... by putting a lampshade on her head. And finishing the stepmother's sentence when she's trying to figure out what the Godmother is. And it works.
  • Running Gag:
    • Kermit falling into the well and making a splash, usually as his equivalent of performing a Face Palm.
    • The fairy godmother's constant failures at turning a pumpkin into a carriage during the her magic show in the first half of the special.
    • "Did you say reddish [radish]?"
  • Title Drop: Done by the Wicked Stepmother whenever she calls, "Hey, CinderElla!"
    • Also when Cinderella has Arthur "pretend" to be the prince so she can practice how she'll interact with the prince if she meets him at the ball, Arthur imagines he'll say "hey, Cinderella!", which Cinderella doesn't think is proper enough for a prince to say.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After being excluded from the king's parties throughout the entire special, The Stinger has Kermit receive an invitation to Cinderella and Arthur's wedding.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Splurge really likes radishes.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The King really doesn't seem to surprised at being magically teleported into Cinderella's house.
    Arthur: Dad! We found the mysterious princess! She's Cinderella!
    King: [completely unconcerned] Oh, really?
    Arthur: But she's vanished!
    King: Huh, how 'bout that?