Tough Pigs Anthology
The Road to Hollywood
Chapter 10: Counting Down
The film starts again... and we see that Fozzie is singing "America the Beautiful" as the other Muppets sit around waiting for him, bored. When Fozzie is done, he thanks everyone for waiting: "The patriotic urge is very strong in American bears."
The station wagon pulls out of the parking lot, and we see the stone heads on Mount Rushmore, "but not the real ones -- exact scale models, carved from a single block of foam rubber, and an exact match of the real thing."
The Muppets drive through the desert, and stop at a gas station...
The Muppets drive on through the desert, and they come across Miss Piggy, hitch-hiking. Piggy gets in the car, gushing: "What colossal luck. What an unbelievable coincidence!" Robin enters right behind her, saying, "Great things like that have been happening to the Muppets all through the movie." Kermit sniffs, "Well, Miss Piggy. I'm surprised to see you out here where there aren't any telephones." He flips on the radio, and suddenly hears Doc Hopper's voice, warning him to give up or become "green hamburger."
In Hopper's limo, "Doc is huddled over a radar screen in the passenger compartment. On the screen we see the tiny image of a frog. Every time the screen makes a complete scan, instead of the traditional blip we hear a little RABBIT."
But the Muppets' luck is running out... the station wagons starts to sputter, backfires and finally wheezes to a halt. The Muppets set up a little campfire and hope that someone comes by as the sun sets. Gonzo starts to play a mournful tune on the harmonica. "Scooter joins in, singing a sad poignant little song. He and Gonzo do it as a duet, singing and playing. The others listen silently, staring at the fire."
Kermit gets up and walks away from the campfire, berating himself for messing it all up. He's joined by another Kermit, who walks alongside him.
Kermit walks back to the campfire, where he finds the Electric Mayhem singing and playing music. "Around the campfire sit, in addition to the Muppets we last saw there, Floyd, Dr Teeth, Janice and Zoot, and now Animal's playing the drums. MUSIC: FLOYD'S REUNION SONG. It's a very bright, happy song -- perhaps a song that, out of this context, would appear to be about lovers that broke up and are now reuniting, but has another obvious meaning in this context. Floyd does the solos with everyone joining in with harmony and handclapping."
The band explains that they found Kermit by following the screenplay. Floyd says that Kermit did them a favor, too: "This Animal dude has agreed to be our new drummer!" The auditions are tomorrow at two o'clock, so they all pile onto the band's bus: "We'll have breakfast at Hollywood and Vine!"
So What's the Difference?
This whole section was tightened up in the film, cutting Mount Rushmore (and the Kissinger cameo), Fozzie going to the bears' room, Scooter and Animal at the gas station, Robin's appearance, Floyd's song... In fact, they might as well have taken to this section with a pair of garden shears.
The bomb sequence is the most obvious cut, and it's replaced in the film with Hopper training his goons and introducing them to Snake Walker, the expert frog-killer. Introducing Snake raises the stakes for Kermit, and the bomb sequence wouldn't have worked with the new and improved sympathetic Max anyway. By this point in the film, there's no way that the "nice" Max would press the button to drop a bomb on Kermit's car.
We're pretty lucky to have lost the Scooter and Animal gas station scene, where the "how the Muppets met" conceit is starting to wear thin. (At the point where even the characters themselves are starting to admit that they're only being introduced for the sake of it, you gotta call time on the whole concept.) But it's a shame that we lost Floyd's "Reunion Song"; from the description, it sounds like it would have been interesting. It probably would have slowed things down, though, so in the film it's replaced by a funky instrumental reprise of "Can You Picture That."
Kermit's pivotal dialogue with himself is also tightened up a bit in the film. Here's the scene as it was shot:
And that, kids, is all you need to do to turn a Very Good Scene into a Perfect Scene.
Next in the Anthology:
It's time for a showdown! Kermit and the gang confront Doc Hopper...