Sunday, May 25, 2014

Song of the Week: "Never Before, Never Again"

Frank Oz is 70 years old today. For my money, this song from The Muppet Movie is his single best Muppet performance.

Miss Piggy is a character that I found a bit grating as a child. I didn't really get the personality types she was meant to be a parody of. But as I got older, I started to really appreciate just how great Frank Oz is as Piggy. It's an amazing balance between exaggerating the characterization and taking the character seriously. Piggy's not funny on purpose; she may be a hustler, but she knows what she wants and she knows who she is.

That's why this performance--the part that made me impatient when I was 6--is so wonderfully hilarious, and my favorite Oz performance. He's just so damn sincere. He's so sincere, so breathy and tremulous, gaining ever more confidence and triumph, culminating in genuine abandon... that it reaches this level of sublime hilarity that, really, few things ever do. That high note, where Frank's voice breaks and he just keeps powering through it, because that's exactly what Miss Piggy would do, is hilariously wonderful and wonderfully hilarious.

Happy Birthday, Frank Oz.

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