The story goes that Kermit and Fozzie are identical twin newspaper reporters (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.
Followed by The Muppets Take Manhattan.
The Great Muppet Caper includes examples of the following:
- Actor Allusion:
- Kermit's reporter role and outfit hearken back to his on-the-spot interviews of fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters on Sesame Street.
- Peter Falk's cameo features him sitting down next to Kermit and attempting to tell him his entire life story. Unlike Columbo, though, he is "100% wrong."
- John Cleese's character calls his wife "my armada."
- Diana Rigg leaves a jewellery store called Bond.
- The Alleged Car: The Happiness Hotel bus.
- The Alleged House: Kermit, 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."
- As You Know: Lampshaded, of course, when Lady Holliday gives Miss Piggy an Info Dump on the Back Story. See the page quote for Piggy's reaction.
- Award-Bait Song: Invoked In-Universe with "The First Time It Happens". It earned an Oscar nomination for real.
- Berserk Button: In one scene when Miss Piggy asks a truck driver played by Peter Ustinov for a ride to the Mallory Gallery, he tests her patience by refusing to give her a ride which prompts her to force open the door and throw him into some garbage bags and cardboard boxes, Oscar even showing up and interacting with Ustinov at one point.
- Big Bad: Nicky, the leader of the jewel thieves.
- Big Damn Heroes: Miss Piggy during the museum theft.
- Bilingual Animal: Rolf barks at some guard dogs and says, "It pays to know a second language."
- Brick Joke: 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.
- 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.
- 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: (looks at camera, sadly) Me too.
- Cardboard Prison: Miss Piggy escapes by simply bending the bars in her cell and prying it open.
- 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 ContrabandPeter Falk: Would you like to buy a watch?
- 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. In one case, Animal ate one of the items.
- Creator Cameo: Several of the puppeteers.
Christine: Look, dad. A bear!Jerry: No, Christine, that's a frog. Bears wear hats.
- 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).
- 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: Oh, hey, I was only joking. Yeah, it'll be a lot of fun to go out there and risk our lives.
- Floyd, when the others decide to join Kermit in breaking Miss Piggy out of jail:
Sam the Eagle: At times like this, I am proud to be an American. [Sam harrumphs as he leaves the doorway].
- Even Sam the Eagle, after hearing their inspirational speech, has his tongue-in-cheek moment:
Oscar: Hey, what's all the racket?Peter Ustinov: What are you doing here?Oscar: A very brief cameo.Peter Ustinov: Me too. (tuts)
- Peter Ustinov and Oscar's interaction in one particular scene where Peter Ustinov is thrown from his truck by Miss Piggy after he tests her patience counts as an example of this trope:
- Delivery Guy Infiltration: Kermit and Fozzie as pizzeria delivery employees, who convince the Mallory Gallery's guard Henderson 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.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Carla, Marla and Darla team up with Nicky to rob Lady Holiday just because she is mildly rude about their dresses. What's even stranger is that it was Holiday herself who designed the dresses, so the models really didn't have any reason to be offended by her comments.
- 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: 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 part of the iron bars of the museum's front gate.
- Fashion Show
- Fell Off the Back of a Truck: A literal example occurs when a motorcycle falls from a truck, allowing Miss Piggy to use the motorcycle. She even lampshades it by saying "What an unbelievable coincidence!"
- For the Evulz/Card-Carrying Villain:Kermit: But, Nicky, why are you doing this?Nicky: Why am I doing this? Because I'm a villain! It's pure and simple.
- Gentleman Thief: Nicky, who ends up being quite suave and competent under his buffoonish facade.
- 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.
- Hidden Depths: Deranged drummer Animal is only upset because he missed the Rembrandt—excuse us, the Renoir exhibit.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: After testing Miss Piggy's patience by refusing to give her a ride, Peter Ustinov becomes a victim of this trope.
- Horrible Housing: The Happiness Hotel is extremely cheap, but it's also in very poor repair. There's even a full musical number Lampshading how run-down the place is.Fozzie: Aaah, if that's the Happiness Hotel, I'd hate to see what the sad one looks like!
- 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.
- Inconvenient Darkroom Illumination: After Gonzo inadvertently snaps a picture of Nicky Holiday and his gang stealing Lady Holiday's necklace, he, Kermit, and Fozzie develop his photos to find it. Unfortunately, since their makeshift darkroom is the Happiness Hotel's only restroom, all the residents bang on the door while dancing on one leg. Right after the trio find the photo of the theft and learn the identity of the thieves, with Kermit proclaiming "We've caught them with their hands in the cookie jar!", the mob breaks down the door, causing the photo to blacken.Fozzie: The cookie jar just busted.
- 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!
- Even worse, the pedestal it's on at the museum is shaped like a baseball glove.
- 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.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: When Kermit feels embarrassed over the residents of the Happiness Hotel gossiping about him going out on a date with (supposedly) Lady Holiday, Fozzie tries to assure him that it won't leave the room.News Reporter: (Walking into the room) Here is a Muppet News Flash! Kermit the Frog to date Lady Holiday! Details at eleven!
- 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.
- Living Shadow: Kermit's shadow keeps singing and dancing during "Steppin' Out With a Star" after the real Kermit takes a pause. This shot took 43 takes to get right.
- 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: (insulted) 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!
- Making it funnier is that it was an Imagine Spot, so she was accusing Nicky / Grodin of being badly dubbed in her own fantasy sequence.
- 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 for the first half of the movie.
- 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, Gonzo and Nicky at the end of each verse: "We're going to make a movie starring everybody... and me!"
- Near-Villain Victory: Nicky and his gang almost succeed in stealing the Baseball Diamond, while simultaneously about to take Kermit hostage—until Miss Piggy shows up on her motorcycle just in time to stop them.
- Nice Hat: Fozzie as usual. The fact that he wears a hat is how you can tell he's a bear, not a frog.
- 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
Fozzie: "Nobody reads those names anyway, do they?"Kermit: "Sure. They all have families."
- Right from the opening credits, which Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo observe from their hot-air balloon:
Miss Piggy: And you know something else?! You can't even sing! Your voice was dubbed!
- And, of course, "Hey! A Movie!", the opening number about how they're "going to be in a movie starring everybody... and me". Everyone is so busy singing & dancing that nobody notices the jewelry theft that kicks off the plot! Kermit then tells the audience that he's jealous of them because they're seeing it for the first time.
- 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.
- And then there's this gem:
- At one point, Kermit and Miss Piggy break out of character to attack each other's acting, and which one is carrying the film.
- 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 butternote . 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", not to mention that "nick" is British slang for stealing (as in, "He nicked the jewels!"). 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:
"What color are their hands now?"
- Anytime Kermit mentions their plans to catch the jewel thieves "red-handed":
- The light bulb in Kermit and Fozzie's hotel room repeatedly falls out of its socket and breaks.
- 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: Nicky's supermodel henchmen/jewel thieves are named Marla, Carla and Darla.
- 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 the "horrrrrendous mistakes" on her 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.
- Well, it's more of a supper club.
- 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."
- Villain Song: "Miss Piggy's Fantasy" is sung mostly by Nicky, with Kermit only joining in at the end.
- 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.
- Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Miss Piggy is not punished for destroying the bars in her cell (which would cost money to replace), breaking out of prison, car-jacking a person, and stealing a motorcycle after it fell from a truck.
- Wrongly Accused: Miss Piggy, when Nicky plants Lady Holiday's necklace on her.
- You're Just Jealous: When Kermit warns Miss Piggy that Nicky is a jewel thief, she accuses him of being jealous. Its not until Nicky plants Lady Holidays necklace on her that she realizes that Kermit was right.
- —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!