FUNNY WOMEN: Excerpts from George Eliot’s MiddleMuppet


Miss Piggy’s luscious cheek, the color of a freshly plucked peach, was streaked with tears.  Once again her amphibious helpmeet had failed to anticipate her whims. 

 Kermit gulped. Seeing that velveteen snout crumple in disappointment never failed to cut him to the quick. The pretty snorts and crimson blushes that had stolen his heart during their courtship were nary to be found; now that they were wed, his wife seemed to consider his very existence anathema.

Desperate to regain her favor, he clasped her hooves to his verdant breast and delivered the request she had long awaited: “My darling swine, would you allow me to accompany you to the buffet?” 

“My ears must deceive me,” thundered the actress. “Surely, Kermie, you did not just call moi a SWINE?!”  

 “Sorry. Sheesh,” he croaked. 

But it was too late. With a guttural “hiiiiyah!” she karate-chopped him clear across the banquet hall. 


Every inch of Dr. Honeydew Bunson’s physiognomy bespoke a life devoted to the sciences at the expense of all else, including his own constitution. 

To wit, he possessed a rounded, hairless pate that his voluminous brains had caused to dangerously swell to the size of a melon. 

He had an appetite only for research and therefore eschewed meals and promenades, and this abstemiousness imbued his skin with a sickly, bilious hue. He looked rather more like one of his specimens than a man in good health. 

Perhaps most alarmingly, Dr. Bunson’s eyes had strained so over the years of inspecting test tubes that they eroded and fell out — but when Beeker expressed concern, Bunson brusquely dismissed him, insisting this was a common ailment among learned men. 

His doctor had warned Bunson that his heart was also weakened from too much excitement of the mind admixed with too few stirrings of the loins. If he continued his ascetic toiling, he would soon be dead.


Gonzo and Camilla stood facing each other in the large wainscoated parlor, separated by a vast ocean of unmet yearning.   

“I suppose I shall quit being a daredevil stuntman and go off to make something of myself in the world,” Gonzo told his beloved. She clucked sadly in reply. 

He did not know what was in Camilla’s heart, and even if she loved him, the residents of MiddleMuppet would never approve of a marriage between a chicken and a Whatever. 


“It’s me, Gonzo! Waka, waka, waka,” chortled Fozzie. He was onstage pantomiming a romance with a rubberized fowl. 

“You know, there’s nothing like a good joke,” jeered old bachelor Statler from the balcony box. 

“Yep!” yelled his companion Waldorf, already himself chortling with malevolent glee. “And that was nothing like it!” 

Just as each species has its own mechanisms of evading predators, so too does every bond between men thrive on a peculiar set of defenses. These two curmudgeons focused all their disappointments on the cabaret performers and never in one another. The verbal excrement they bespewed upon the bear fertilized the tender blossom of their love.

“Even your insurmountable gambling debts are less pathetic than this set!” added Waldorf. The elderly pair doubled over in a fit of mirth and reached pleasure’s climax. 


“I shan’t live much longer, Beaker,” gasped Bunsen, who had collapsed on the laboratory floor.  “Promise me you will continue our research after I am lain to rest!”

The loyal assistant’s interconnected eyes filled with tears. He wished to honor his master but inwardly recoiled at the prospect of a life of solitary scholarship in the ever-exploding Bunsen Lab. 

Soon Bunsen’s labored breathing fell silent. His eye cavities were vacant, gazing towards nowither. He was dead.  

Beaker’s remorseful cry rang out: “MEEEEEEEEEP!!!” 


Sam the Eagle blanched at the sight of Animal outside his office door. The wretched creature stumbled inside. He was drunk.

“WOMAN!” cried Animal, pointing a hirsute finger accusingly at Sam.  

Sam furrowed his unibrow in consternation. “I bribed you to keep the whereabouts of my wife’s daughter a secret so that I would inherit the estate when she died,” boomed Sam in his signature bass staccato. “But I am a man of prominence now, having devoted my life to censoring Muppets Tonight.


The only way to censor him is by putting him in the grave, a pernicious voice whispered in Sam’s mind.


“Camilla,” cried Miss Piggy. “You must not think that Gonzo has any affection for moi, despite what you saw in the drawing room. It is you for whom he pines, and only you!” Her grandiloquence had evaporated; only selfless compassion was left in its place.  

“Cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck,” sighed Camilla, clearly relieved.   

Miss Piggy was not the porcine Narcissus you may have presumed her to be, reader. Rather, she was an ambitious starlet stymied by a ham-handed frog. Kermit’s manic arm flailing; his passive-aggressive asides; his utter inability to prevent mayhem in the cabaret – all of it served to undermine the pink porker’s yearning for a more significant existence. Mired in such a sad predicament, who amongst us would not resort to martial arts?  

Arm in wing, the town’s two most dazzling beauties headed to the buffet, where the Swedish Chef had prepared their favorite delicacy: pöpcørn shrįmp.




Rumpus original art by Natalie Peeples


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Miriam Jayaratna is a clinical psychologist and writer based in New York City. Her writing has appeared in Reductress, The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Defenestration, and Identity Theory. You can read more of her work at More from this author →