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Miss Piggy: Um, why are you telling me all this?
Lady Holiday: It's plot exposition. It has to go somewhere.

A 1981 release by Jim Henson and his studio, The Great Muppet Caper was a sequel to The Muppet Movie and would prove to be the second in a long line of live-action Muppet movies.

The story goes that Kermit and Fozzie are identical twin newspaper reporters (Yeah, we know, their editor doesn't get it, either) and Gonzo's their photographer. After nearly losing their jobs for missing a massive jewelry robbery scoop right under their noses, the intrepid trio head to London to get the follow-up story to said scoop as an exclusive to save said jobs. The robbery victim is Lady Holiday, who just happens to have wound up with Miss Piggy in her employ. Pig meets frog, frog thinks pig is Lady Holiday, pig goes along with it because she's smitten with frog, and all the while the thieves are closer than Lady Holiday thinks.

This very silly movie has so many Lampshade Hangings they could open a store to sell them and have enough stock to last a week. Also very apparent are the highly-increased production values compared to its predecessor and the film debuts of some Muppets who showed up on The Muppet Show after the first movie. The movie also stars Charles Grodin in a role that strikes the right balance between serious villain and scenery chewing.


The Great Muppet Caper includes examples of the following:

  • The Alleged Car: The Happiness Hotel bus.
  • The Alleged House: Hermit, Fozzie and Gonzo stay at the rundown Happiness Hotel. Its residents sure are happy, though, and they proudly describe their dilapidated home in song.
    Fozzie: If that's the Happiness Hotel, I'd hate to see what the sad one looks like.
  • Alleged Lookalikes: Kermit and Fozzie. A running gag has people somehow confusing the two, such as identifying Kermit as a bear.
    Father: No, Christine, that's a frog. Bears wear hats.
    Editor: Oh, yeah. I see [the similarity] now...
    • At one point we're shown a picture of their "father," who's an extremely odd-looking frog/bear hybrid.
  • Amazon Brigade: Nicky's gang. Which interestingly enough makes Nicky the male equivalent of the Smurfette Principle.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Mr. Tarkanian, the chief editor is listing the headlines from select newspapers:
    Mr. Tarkanian: "Lady Holiday's Jewels Stolen," that's what it says in The Times. And here's The Herald: "Fashion Queen Of London Robbed." And last, but not least... here's our cute little banner story: "Identical Twins Join The Chronicle Staff."
  • Big Bad: Nicky, the leader of the jewel thieves.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Miss Piggy during the museum theft.
  • Britain Is Only London: Averted as the protagonists first land in an quintessential English village.
  • British Stuffiness: The occupants of 17 Highbrow Street. The fact that it's played completely straight by the actors (one of whom is John Cleese) actually makes it even funnier.
  • Break the Cutie: Parodied with Miss Piggy and humorously lampshaded: "What am I, a glutton for punishment?!"
  • Busby Berkeley Number: "Miss Piggy's Fantasy," complete with synchronized swimming.
  • Call-Back: A man knocks on the door to Nicky's office asking, "Mr. Holiday, did you order a gross of flowered socks?" Nicky can later be seen wearing said socks while unlocking the service door at the restaurant.
    • He is, in fact, still wearing them during the heist at the Mallory Gallery, even though he's otherwise dressed head-to-foot in standard cat-burglar black.
  • The Cameo: Lots of them, sometimes Lampshaded. Including one from Jim Henson himself.
    Peter Ustinov: What are you doing here?
    Oscar the Grouch: A very brief cameo.
    Ustinov: (sadly) Me too.
  • Cardboard Prison
  • Car Fu: A motorcycle variant, as Miss Piggy rides a motorcycle through a stained-glass window, breaking into the Mallory Gallery to stop Nicky from stealing the Baseball Diamond.
  • The Chew Toy: Sweetums, who falls into a manhole during the opening number while chasing Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo.
  • Circling Birdies: Piggy sees birds flying around Kermit's face during their Love at First Sight moment.
  • Coat Full of Contraband
  • Contrived Coincidence: Also lampshaded.
    Miss Piggy (when motorcycle appears): What an unbelievable coincidence!
  • Crazy-Prepared: Nicky and his supermodel cat burglars have all the highest tech equipment, which is put in contrast to the Muppets having nonsensical items to counter with (like a Whoopee cushion), but even then, they forgot or lost them.
  • Creator Cameo: Several of the puppeteers.
    • Jim Henson gets his picture taken by Gonzo in the restaurant.
    • Richard Hunt is driving a car during the opening number.
    • Jerry Nelson is walking through the park with real-life daughter Christine (who mistakes Kermit for a bear).
    Christine: Look, dad. A bear!
    Jerry: No, Christine, that's a frog. Bears wear hats.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Nicky seems like a complete moron... until you learn he's the Big Bad.
    • Beauregard is The Ditz but he can be seen single handedly fighting Nicky at the end.
  • Curbstomp Battle: What Miss Piggy gave Nicky and his gang.
  • Dating Catwoman: What Nicky tried to pull with Miss Piggy but never succeeded.
  • Deadpan Snarker: A majority of Lady Holiday's lines are just dripping with sarcasm.
    Lady Holiday: We have to make drastic changes in the new line before the show tomorrow, all my girls are going around looking like barnyard animals.
    Miss Piggy: Ahem!
    Lady Holiday: Good heavens, who are you?
    Miss Piggy: My name is Miss Piggy, and I want to be a high-fashion model.
    Lady Holiday: Doesn't surprise me. Seems to be the way we're heading.
    • Floyd, when the others decide to join Kermit in breaking Miss Piggy out of jail:
    Floyd: Oh, hey, I was only joking. Yeah, it'll be a lot of fun to go out there and risk our lives.
    • Even Sam the Eagle, after hearing their inspirational speech, has his tongue-in-cheek moment:
    Sam the Eagle: At times like this, I am proud to be an American. [Sam harrumphs as he leaves the doorway].
  • Delivery Guy Infiltration: Kermit and Fozzie as pizzeria delivery employees, who convince the guard to feed the pepperoni pizza to the guard dogs.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Although Animal chases around Nicky's supermodel/cat burglar allies in the final sequence, Miss Piggy's the one who punches them out.
  • The Ditz: Apparently, Fozzie is the sibling who can't decipher if he's the frog or the bear in the family.
  • Deus ex Machina: A motorcycle just when Piggy needed one. As with everything, lampshaded:
    Miss Piggy: (practically batting her eyelashes) What an unbelievable coincidence!
  • Digital Destruction: The 2005 Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition DVD release uses the songs as heard on the soundtrack album. As a result, several things are compromised:
    • During the "Night Life" number, Dr. Teeth isn't supposed to sing like he does on the album. This results in covering up some of Animal's "LOVE SONG!!" chants.
    • During the "Miss Piggy" number, the three dancers ("Happiness, Miss Piggy!") are clearly shown singing underwater, and are actually supposed to sound like it. Because the version from the album (which doesn't have this effect) is heard, the effect is completely messed up.
    • Not related to a song, but when Miss Piggy crashed through a window of the Mallory Gallery, she shouts a kiai as she jumps towards Nicky. This is not heard in this DVD.
  • Disney Acid Sequence
  • Double Entendre: Though not a sexual one; This is a family movie after all.
    Fozzie: [going over a checklist] Wax lips?
    Zoot: Aw man, I just had 'em.
    Dr. Teeth: Did you leave 'em in your other pants?
    Zoot: I don't have no other pants!
    Fozzie: [going back to the checklist] Yo-yo?
    Janice: [glancing at Zoot] Fer sure.
  • Dream Ballet
  • Drives Like Crazy: Beauregard the cab driver.
    Beauregard: What's your room number?
    Fozzie: Oh, I don't know... we're on the second floor.
    Beauregard: Oh, I'm sorry! I can only take you as far as the lobby!
  • Extreme Omnivore: Animal, who eats the opening logo frame and the museum bars with hot mustard.
  • Fashion Show
  • For the Evulz/Card-Carrying Villain:
    Kermit: But, Nicky, why are you doing this?
  • Gentleman Thief: Nicky, who ends up being quite suave and competent under his buffoonish facade.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • At one point everyone is talking at once, and Kermit screams for them to be quiet, causing them all to immediately shut up...except for Janice:
      Janice: ...and I said, Look, Mother, it's my life, okeeey? So if I want to live on a beach and walk around nak— oh.
    • At one point during the Fashion Show:
    Statler: Hey, Waldorf. Wake up. Here come the bikinis!
    Waldorf: Oh, boy! We better synchronize our pacemakers.
    • Also, this bit when Gonzo is going around taking pictures in the nightclub in an attempt to raise money for dinner:
    Gonzo: How about you folks? Souvenir photograph?
    Man: No thanks. No pictures.
    Gonzo: Oh, come on! It'll be a great memento for you and your wife.
    Man: My wife isn't feeling very well.
    Gonzo: Oh, that's too bad. Maybe she should be at home.
    Gonzo: (stammers incoherently) Yes, uh... NEXT TABLE!
  • Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: At first, Kermit urges the others to join him in rescuing Miss Piggy, and when they hear about the dangers, they try to excuse themselves from it, only for Fozzie to rebuke their ingratitude, and they all feel ashamed of themselves for chickening out:
    Kermit: Now, we're about to embark on a potentially dangerous mission. There could be physical violence, there could be gunplay, and there is the slightest chance that somebody might even get killed. So if anybody wants out, now is the time to say it.
    Floyd: I'm out.
    Rowlf: Me, too.
    Bunsen Honeydew: Ditto.
    Beaker: Meep, meep.
    Zoot: Hey, don't we have a gig around here, or something, or somewhere?
    Pops: Sorry, I got a dental appointment.
    Janice: It's like this, Kermit, I have to go to work all day... [the others start talking at once]
    Fozzie: HOLD IT! Sha-ame on you! I thought we were in this thing together. I'm just as scared as you are, but this has to be done! We don't want the bad guys to win. We gotta do this for-for-for justice! For freedom! For honesty!
  • Granola Girl: Janice, as usual.
  • Gratuitous French: When Miss Piggy asks the truck driver for a ride:
    Miss Piggy: Oh, couldn't you make an exception for little old moi?
    Truck Driver: Not even for little old vous.
  • Hulk Speak: Animal, including the spoof about complicated issues (when Zoot claims Animal is crazed due to missing a Rembrandt exhibit, Animal corrects him: "Renoir!").
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Gonzo invokes this after yelling, "Stop the presses!"
  • Identical Twin ID Tags: Fozzie and Kermit, lampshaded.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The Fabulous Baseball Diamond.
    • Even worse, the pedestal it's on at the museum is shaped like a baseball glove.
      • The Muppets and the villains then begin to play an impromptu Baseball game with said diamond, complete with Louis Kazaggernote  doing commentary!
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not really a restaurant. It's more of a supper club.
  • Interspecies Romance: Pig/frog of course, but also pig/human.
  • It Only Works Once: Kermit manages to talk Gonzo out of a lethal death-defying stunt that would kill anybody else:
    Gonzo: I wonder how far you could plummet before you blacked out.
    Kermit: Uh, don't try it, Gonzo. We need you for this movie.
    Gonzo: Sure is tempting.
  • Lampshade Hanging: This movie is all about it.
  • Large Ham: Charles Grodin, and, in a Breaking the Fourth Wall moment, Miss Piggy.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Miss Piggy makes up a fake address out of a random number and Kermit's use of the word "highbrow". Subverted when it turns out that there actually is a 17 Highbrow Street.
  • Logo Joke: The opening scene with Animal eating the scenery is a parody of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Leo the Lion.
  • Love at First Sight: Kermit and Miss Piggy, of course.
    Kermit: Gee, are you okay?
    Miss Piggy: (dreamily) I don't think I'll ever be the same.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: The disturbingly hilarious crush Charles Grodin's character Nick Holiday has for Miss Piggy throughout the film.
  • Love Triangle: A one-sided one involving Nicky, Kermit, and Miss Piggy.
    Nick: Miss Piggy... You're a very different looking woman. I'm so tired of the same type, those tall thin creatures with the long legs, the aquiline noses, the teeth like pearls, soft skin...
    Miss Piggy: Yeah, well I can see where that might make you sick to your stomach.
  • Mathematician's Answer: After the truck driver (played by Peter Ustinov) is thrown out of his truck by Miss Piggy:
    Driver: What are you doing here?
    Oscar the Grouch: A very brief cameo.
    Driver: Me too. Tsk, tsk.
  • Medium Awareness: "Hey a movie!"
    • At one point, Kermit and Miss Piggy break character, accusing each other of overacting.
    • Then there's this:
      Miss Piggy: (angry to Nicky / Charles Grodin) You can't even sing! Your voice was dubbed!
  • Metaphorgotten: When Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo are discussing whether or not Miss Piggy stole the necklace:
    Kermit: Oh, she wouldn't steal.
    Gonzo: Why not? She lied.
    Kermit: That's two different things. Besides, she couldn't have stolen the necklace because she was dancing.
    Fozzie: That's right. There's that old adage: "You can't dance and steal at the same time."
    Gonzo: No, that's "You can't walk and chew gum at the same time."
    Fozzie: Oh no, I think it's "You can't pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time."
    Kermit: What's the difference? She didn't steal the necklace.
    Gonzo: I'll betcha I can do it.
    Kermit: Do what?
    Gonzo: Pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time. [Gonzo pats his head and rubs his stomach simultaneously]
    Fozzie: Big deal, anybody can do that. [Fozzie joins Gonzo]
    Kermit [frustrated]: Would you guys cut it out?! We're wasting time!
  • Mistaken Identity: Kermit mistakes Miss Piggy for Lady Holliday.
  • Mr. Exposition: Kermit, halfway through "Hey, A Movie" pauses to tell the audience about the movie:
    Kermit: In this film, me and Fozzie play crack investigative reporters for the Daily Chronicle. And Gonzo, he's our photographer, and it's gonna be terrific.
  • Ms. Exposition: Lady Holiday, and of course, like everything else in this movie, it's lampshaded.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Parodied: Miss Piggy is treated like this but looks ridiculous since she's a pig puppet.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: An old photo is shown of the "twin" reporters' supposed father: a green bear with Kermit's goggly eyes and neck-ruff.
  • Murphy's Bed: Which is known to collapse only when it's funny.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Cheerfully deployed in the Opening Chorus by Fozzie against himself. "We're going to make a movie starring everybody... and me!"
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The residents of the Happiness Hotel accidentally destroy the negative print proving that Nicky Holiday was the jewel thief.
  • No Fourth Wall
    • Possibly the best moment is as Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo in their hot air balloon discussing the opening credits:
    Fozzie: "Nobody reads those names anyway, do they?"
    Kermit: "Sure. They all have families."
    • It's worth noting that this exchange comes in the first scene, and it keeps up from there.
    • And then there's this gem:
    Miss Piggy: And you know something else?! You can't even sing! Your voice was dubbed!
    • At one point, Kermit and Miss Piggy break out of character to attack each other's acting, and which one is carrying the film.
    • And, of course, "Hey! A Movie!", the song in the opening scene, about how they're "going to be in a movie starring everybody... and me".
    • When the newspaper editor harangues the main trio for missing the story, we get a wonderful line that's later called back to in The Muppets:
      Newspaper Editor: Next time? Next time?! What makes you think there's going to be a next time?
      Kermit: Well, if there isn't, it'll be a very short movie.
  • Noodle Implements: The Muppets' checklist for stopping the jewel thieves is pretty absurd with items such as a whoopee cushion, a rubber raft, a bag of chickens, fake vomit, a frisbee, wax lips, a yo-yo, and peanut butter. We might have learned what they had planned to do with all of this stuff if it wasn't for the fact that they didn't have any of it.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Played with by London cabbie Beauregard on why he doesn't have an English accent, despite having lived in London "all my life". "Hey, I'm lucky I have a driver's license!"
    • Nicky also has no trace of a British accent, despite being the (accented) Lady Holiday's brother.
    • And, in fact, very few of the people the Muppets encounter while in England are actually English.
  • Obviously Evil: Nicky. The first moment we meet him, he's staring rapturously at his sister's jewels. Plus, his name. Nicky. Just screams "con man". But if you paid attention to Lady Holiday at the beginning, you'd know that before meeting him.
    • Also we actually see him commit the first theft during "Hey! A Movie!"
  • Obvious Stunt Double: As Ms. Piggy is racing to the gallery on a motorcycle there are several shots of a full body driver on the bike which is obviously a real person. Though they are careful to never show the face, the difference in size between a human and a Muppet is blatantly obvious. (And this is the same film that had some of the most elaborate actual Muppets riding bicycle scenes.)
  • Opt Out: Subverting the usual trope, everybody starts opting out when Kermit proposes his plan to stop Nicky's gang from stealing the Baseball Diamond. All except Gonzo and Fozzie, that is, the latter of whom uses a heck of a guilt trip to get everyone back in.
    • In fairness their reasons for dropping out wasn't justified.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: When the Muppets go to the Mallory Gallery, they're wearing Groucho gag glasses with the fake nose and mustache.
  • Precision F-Strike: Well, not exactly an F-Strike, but some of the lyrics in the "Happiness Hotel" number are:
    Still, the management is cheerful / Though the whole joint's gone to hell
  • Properly Paranoid: Lady Holiday, who has already suffered one attempt on her jewels.
    Lady Holiday: [with one hand over her necklace] I feel as though thieves are breathing down my neck.
    Nicky: [while leaning over her neck] Thieves aren't breathing down your neck!
  • Rousing Speech:
    Fozzie: HOLD IT!!! Shaaaaaaame on you! I thought we were in this thing together! I'm just as scared as you are, but this has to be done! We don't want the bad guys to win! We gotta do this! For... for... for... justice! For... freedom. For... honesty.
    Kermit: Fozzie, you okay?
    Fozzie: That took a lot out of me!
  • Running Gag: Anytime Kermit mentions their plans to catch the jewel thieves "red-handed":
    "What color are their hands now?"
  • Seven Minute Lull: 15 Seconds Kermit Yells "Quiiiieeettttt!!!"
    • And Fozzie ("Hold iiiiiiiiiiitttttt!!!")
    • Also, Janice, when discussing nudity.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: The couple living at 17 Highbrow Street react quite calmly to a strange pig breaking into their house.
  • The Stinger: As the credits come to a close:
    Gonzo: Wait a minute! Hold it right there. Don't go home yet. [gets his camera ready] Say "cheese"! I'll send you each a copy.
  • Super Window Jump: Miss Piggy, on a motorcycle, through a Tiffany glass window. Beat that, Batman!
  • Take a Third Option: During the "Happiness Hotel" number:
    Pops: Hey, how are you guys fixing to pay?
    Kermit: What are our choices?
    Pops: A) Credit Card, B) Cash, C) Sneak out in the middle of the night?
    Fozzie: We'll take "C".
    Pops: Veeeeeeery popular choice (swats fly).
  • Theme Naming
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kermit during the bike riding scene, from Statler and Waldorf's point of view. Doubles as a possibly Accidental Aesop about bike safety.
    "Heh. Look ma, no brains!"
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Lady Holiday, noticeably when talking on the phone about her "horrrrrendous" fashion designs.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Nobody in the Happiness Hotel reacts with fear or panic when Beauregard drives his taxi into the hotel. They all just calmly continue what they were doing, only giving a brief glance to the action.
    • John Cleese is completely unfazed by Miss Piggy invading his home to pretend it's her home. He even plays along and suggests a restaurant they could visit.
  • Very False Advertising: The Happiness Hotel. Granted, the people who live there are a very happy bunch, but it's more despite the living conditions than because of them.
    • By way of example, the travel guide lists it alongside bus terminals and riverbanks in the section labeled "Places you can park your carcasses."
  • Villainous Crush: Played For Laughs. Nicky is attracted to Miss Piggy and Wangsts about framing her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: See Rousing Speech above
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: What kickstarts the whole plot is Kermit and Fozzie writing a front page article about identical twins (them) joining the newspaper staff. All the while they completely miss the jewel robbery literally going on right behind them. Their editor is so furious, he nearly fires them over it.
  • Wrongly Accused: Miss Piggy, when Nicky plants Lady Holiday's necklace on her.

—Wait a minute, hold it right there, don't go home yet! Say "Tropes"! [The screen blacks out]
I'll send you each a copy!

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