What happens when a few fuzzy TV icons get the keys to the TODAY set? In typical Muppet-mayhem fashion, the gang — including such beloved characters as Kermit the Frog and hecklers Statler and Waldorf — locked out the TODAY anchors from their set and took over Studio 1A.
Even with Bobo the Bear blocking the door, Matt, Meredith, Ann and Al managed to scheme their way back in — but not before they were transformed into Whatnots, personalized Muppet-like creatures from the Muppet Whatnot Workshop at FAO Schwarz.
And stealing the show, as usual, was America’s favorite bacon-breathed celebrity: Miss Piggy. This Muppet has a long history with TODAY: She has feuded with Meredith over her TODAY anchor spot, jumped out of a 4-foot-tall cake to sing “Happy Anchorversary" to Matt and, most recently, was choked by Kathie Lee Gifford.
During this visit, a blushing Miss Piggy didn’t waste any time cozying up to “Law & Order: SVU” star Christopher Meloni, who begged for help to escape from her ham-fisted hooves (“Not without a restraining order, sweetcheeks,” Piggy replied), only to find himself tightly bound in yellow crime-scene tape. But before the porcine prima donna could finish her amorous “interrogation,” she was called to the set and Meloni — and, possibly, Piggy’s relationship with Kermit — was saved.
Before she could hog even more TODAY guests, I caught up with the flirtatious Muppet icon to discuss her personal history, holiday plans and future career goals.
Were you surprised by all the hubbub this election season over your lipstick practices?
Miss Piggy: Moi will not dignify that with a response.
You have a pet poodle named Foo-Foo. Do you have any advice or recommendations for President-elect Obama, who is getting a new dog for the first daughters?
Miss Piggy: Poodles are wonderful doggies — I recommend them wholeheartedly. My dearest Foo-Foo has always been a delightful way to get lots of publicity — oh, I mean, he’s always been a delightful, loving pet.
You’ve been with Kermit on and off for a few decades now. Do you ever feel like locking that little frog down into matrimony? Or are you still waiting for TODAY’s Matt Lauer?
Miss Piggy: Kermit prefers that Moi does not discuss our relationship with the mainstream media. Moi always follows Kermit’s wishes — especially when they are accompanied by a restraining order. Matthew and Moi are just friends ... dear friends.
What are some of your New Year’s resolutions? In the past, you dumped Matt Lauer on Jan. 1— planning any other bold moves?
Miss Piggy: Moi’s main New Year’s resolution is to not make any New Year’s resolutions. I’ll let vous know if I break the resolution. Moi did not “dump” Matthew; as I said, Matthew and Moi are just friends. While it is true that he was smitten with me for quite some time, I had to let him down gently — Moi only has eyes for the frog.
Now that she’s had some time to settle into the job, would you say Meredith has the chops for it? Or should you resend your resume tape to TODAY executives?
Miss Piggy: Meredith does a tres magnifique job on TODAY. Moi am, however, open to discussing a job as host of a fifth, sixth or seventh hour of TODAY, when NBC inevitably adds them to the schedule. I am also open to hosting that other show Meredith does — the one where they give away the money. A guest shot on “The Office,” “30 Rock,” “Knight Rider” or “Chuck” is not out of the question, either.
Do you welcome or feel slightly threatened by the Whatnots taking over Studio 1A?
Miss Piggy: Whatnots do not threaten Moi. I am a superstar. Just today, the stage manager, Mark, told me that I was the biggest thing on television.
You once said, “Never let your frog outdress you,” and you’ve donned Prada couture and even posed for the cover of French Elle. Have any style tips for your fans this season?
Miss Piggy: Moi does not give out style tips for free.
Although I’m sure you’re generally too busy putting on musical numbers to sit down and read, is there one book that inspires you?
Miss Piggy: Moi always tell people I read whatever book Oprah is reading. So ask her.
What do your hooves reach for at the holiday meal? Is there a favorite holiday dish?
Miss Piggy: Hooves? Hooves? Who do you think you’re talking to? Moi am a dignified lady. Now stop with the pig jokes or I’ll pound you into the floor.
Of all your flirtatious encounters and crushes over the years — including Jon Stewart and “Zachy” Efron — who is your favorite?
Miss Piggy: Moi could not possibly choose one favorite from the many, many collaborators I’ve worked with. It would be like picking a favorite flavor at the ice-cream shop. Why pick just one when I can sample them all?
You’ve starred in such cinema classics as “Pigs in Space,” but you’ve publicly said that you’re still waiting for a strong and meaningful female pig role. Is there anything in the works for America’s most celebrated Muppet?
Miss Piggy: Good movie scripts for strong women are very hard to find. In the meantime, Moi will appear on the upcoming Muppet Christmas special, “Letters to Santa,” on NBC December 17.
John Stamos of “ER” is in the studio today. Were you able to restrain yourself from asking for his medical expertise?
Miss Piggy: You do know John Stamos only plays a doctor, don’t vous? I did, however, ask him how his brother-in-law Danny Tanner, his friend Joey and his cute little nieces are.
You seemed to be getting cozy with actor Christopher Meloni. Is there anything Meloni has that your Kermit doesn’t? And any chance you have your sights set on a “Law & Order” cameo?
Miss Piggy: There’s one thing Kermit has that Christopher Meloni doesn’t have — flippers. At least I don’t think he has flippers; I haven’t seen Christopher without his shoes on. And I am not looking for a cameo on “Law & Order” — I don’t spend three hours in hair and makeup for a cameo. But, if darling Mariska ever thinks about leaving the show, they know where to find Moi!
But Miss Piggy wasn’t quite over her latest crush yet. When the fourth hour of TODAY with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb rolled around, she was back on the set, inquiring after Meloni’s whereabouts.
Gifford was of little help to the famous Muppet. “What do you think of when you look at Miss Piggy?” she asked Kotb. "Bacon!”