Celebrating the Bonkers “I’m Gonna Always Love You” Music Video

Published: July 10, 2024
Categories: Feature, Fun Stuff

This Saturday The Muppets Take Manhattan turns 40 years old! To celebrate, we’re dedicating the week to our favorite Manhattan-theft based Muppet movie!

She sang that she’s gonna be a movie star, drive a car, and be a veterinarian too. But she had no idea she’d star in a music video.

As we celebrate The Muppets Take Manhattan‘s 40th anniversary, we’re also celebrating 40 years of “I’m Gonna Always Love You,” Miss Piggy’s big fantasy number that kicked off the mega empire we know as Muppet Babies. That alone would be a big enough deal to talk about, but not many people are as aware that there was an accompanying music video. And it’s absolutely bonkers.

Thanks to our friend Garrett Gilchrist for uploading and remastering, check out the video here:

Crazy, right? Let’s break this thing wide open.

It’s worth mentioning that MTV debuted in 1981, just about three years before Muppets Take Manhattan premiered. The art of the music video is still relatively new, which makes it all the more impressive that Jim Henson and Frank Oz already felt comfortable using their baby song to not only promote their movie, but also to spoof the music video industry in that classic Muppet fashion.

It also explains a bit why, in the video above, Merv Griffin sounds so out of touch when talking about the “rock video”. He’s an old man who doesn’t quite understand the impact that MTV is having on the music industry. It’s sort of funny. Sort of.

The first image we see in the music video is the planet Earth having the clearest, cloud-free weather it’s ever had. A giant orb containing Baby Piggy appears – like the Space Baby in 2001: A Space Odyssey – and crashes into the Earth and causes a planet-wide explosion. Yes, Miss Piggy, larger than the moon, causes the destruction of mankind as we know it. And that’s just in the first few seconds of the video!

Most of the new material in the video takes place in the nursery, but it’s either a different set from the one we’ve seen in the film or it’s a new angle. In any case, the Muppet Babies are enrapt by the television. A little too much, probably. Babies this young shouldn’t be watching TV! They’re so into it, Scooter’s even watching while sitting in the top drawer of the dresser. He’s so close to the screen, it’ll ruin his eyes. No wonder he needs those glasses.

Just look at those kids. They’re mesmerized by the screen. This is how They Live starts, isn’t it?

In one of the cooler shots, the Babies are watching themselves on the TV, which features themselves on TV, and so on and so on. It’s like that meta scene in Spaceballs meets the shot from “The Magic Store” in The Muppet Movie. You get me.

The Muppets getting their own music video is so exciting, even Frank Oz’s hand wanted to get in on the game!

Kicking off the first of the music video spoofs, Baby Piggy becomes a fire hazard as she dances around a thousand lit candles. You know, just like Sting did in The Police’s video for “Wrapped Around Your Finger“. She even knocks them all down like we see in the Police video. And somehow this didn’t become an unintentional spoof of Michael Jackson’s infamous Pepsi commercial accident.

As far as I can tell, these pigs aren’t making a specific reference to anything aside from being awesome New Wave pigs. But isn’t that more than enough? Don’t you want to be those pigs??

Enter the pig. No, not that one. The real pig. A living and breathing non-puppet pig wearing a set of pearls walks onto the set, with the sidewalk glowing like it does in Michael Jackson’s music video for “Billie Jean”. Unlike Jackson, the pig meets a real frog, complete with pointed collar. Funny, both of those images sure look familiar

We get a great shot of the Muppet Babies all sporting those cool sunglasses the pigs were wearing earlier, sort of like a precursor to that picture from the ’90s. Except more retro and less embarrassing for everyone involved.

Kermit the (real) Frog (not to be confused with Kermit the Frog or Baby Kermit the Frog) spins on a record player while Miss (real) Piggy sits at the end of the wide-mouthed speaker. In what’s clearly the oldest spoof in this video, it’s a reference to the old painting and print ad, “His Master’s Voice” from 1898. Only the hippest references for the MTV generation!

Miss Piggy (the adult, non-baby version) sits in Jennifer Beals’ chair from Flashdance. Spoofing the moment that’s far more recognizable than the movie itself, she gets doused by a spray of water, then whips her hair back and soaks Kermit. Though I’m pretty sure there are no frogs in Flashdance.

While not a spoof, we do get a couple shots of Miss Piggy on her motorcycle from The Great Muppet Caper, which is a totally different movie than the one this music video is supposed to be promoting. Did Jim Henson think we wouldn’t notice??

Speaking of strange decisions made by Jim Henson, he punches his fist right through the nursery window! He leaves broken glass on the floor mere inches away from a bunch of toddlers. How irresponsible. But he makes up for it by turning and giving us a glimpse of the sickest fit anyone has ever worn. Hair slicked back, cool ’80s sunglasses, a single white glove, and a killer suit. Oh, and big green flipper slippers. Jim Henson is truly a fashion icon.

All that, and I have a feeling there are even more spoofs and references scattered throughout the video. What about the shattered white rose? The white football? Jim Henson punching through the glass? They all feel like references to something, but I couldn’t spot what. If you have an idea, please let us know!

Happy 40th anniversary to the greatest music video of all time! At least, the greatest one featuring a real pig, weird sunglasses, a thousand lit candles, a reference to a painting from the 19th century, and the one and only Jim Henson.

Click here to retroactively win an MTV Music Video Award on the ToughPigs Discord!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com

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Written by Joe Hennes

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