“Hi Ho, Kermit the Frog here.” “Wocka Wocka.” “Meep.”
The Muppets have so many catchphrases, and we could sit here and list them all out (you’d probably like that, wouldn’t you??). But do the Muppets as a whole have a catchphrase? Is there something they all say?
Well, I’m here to tell you that they do. Trust me.
No no, that’s the line. “Trust me.” It gets a lot of play in the Harry Belafonte episode, and it hit me while rewatching some classic Muppet Show episodes on Disney+. The Muppets say it a lot.
So, why “Trust me”? It’s not much of a joke, and it hardly sounds Muppety. But it’s perfect for a series about a troupe of misfits who truly believe they can go out on stage and put on a terrific act that everyone will love, despite the fact that the audience at home knows it will end in failure. Whether it’s Fozzie debuting a new comedy act, Sam the Eagle presenting a musical moment from Wayne and Wanda, or Miss Piggy attempting to seduce a male guest star, they’re all completely convinced that their efforts will be successful. Now if they could only get everyone else on board, it might work.
I know, I know, you’re skeptical. When have you ever heard the Muppets say “Trust me”? Well folks, let me tell you.
Episode 112: Peter Ustinov
Kermit the Frog kicks off the “Trust me” tradition, ensuring that guest star Peter Ustinov will be turned into a Muppet, and it’s gonna make for a great sketch. The sketch in question (Ustinov as a robot in Muppet Labs) is… fine. Kermit maybe shouldn’t have been trusted.
Episode 213: Rudolf Nureyev
Our guest star – ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev – gets the honor of being trusted this time. Sam the Eagle, ever skeptical about what constitutes decency, is asked to trust Nureyev as he dons a top hat and tails for a tap dance number. Maybe we should all trust ballet dancers more.
Episode 216: Cleo Laine
In the classic phrenology sketch, Fozzie Bear is asking for a lot of trust from his unwilling assistant, Kermit. As our hapless host begins to protest, Fozzie begs him: “Trust me, it’s for my mother.”
Episode 301: Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge
Miss Piggy – ever the deceiver – attempts to juggle the affections of two men at once. She strings Kermit along while preparing to seduce Kris Kristofferson. She assures Kermit, “I just want you to know, no matter what happens, it’s you I love. Trust me.” Don’t do it, frog!
Episode 308: Loretta Lynn
It’s probably a good idea to never trust Gonzo. In the episode that takes place in a train station, Gonzo finds Kermit a quiet place to work… which happens to be a departing train. Of course, the train only begins moving after Gonzo says to Kermit, “Trust me”. Ah, comedic irony!
Episode 310: Marisa Berenson
Miss Piggy once again asks for Kermit’s trust when she really doesn’t deserve it. The episode’s plot revolves around her attempting to trick her frog into marrying her in a sketch on stage. It’s probably a good bet that if your fiance says “Trust me” just before trading vows, you should at the very least approach carefully.
Episode 312: James Coco
Our guest star once again gets the honor of begging for trust, as James Coco and Kermit debate how big the closing number should be. Kermit wants waterfalls and wind machines and dozens of chorus girls, but Coco wants it to be small. Really small. Trust him.
Episode 314: Harry Belafonte
“Trust me” hits its apex in this episode, appearing not once or twice or even thrice, but four times! The first three all appear during “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)”, as Fozzie Bear tries to control the chaos happening on stage, with Belafonte claiming a “Trust me” for himself. The fourth, once again by Fozzie, comes after he writes Rowlf and Lew Zealand’s sketch (“Curtains open. Rowlf and Lew do something funny. Curtains close.”). Kermit sarcastically accuses Fozzie of leaving nothing to chance, and Fozzie responds with a simple, “Trust me”.
Episode 324: Cheryl Ladd
Wow, when Miss Piggy says, “Trust me”, you really shouldn’t. She brings Kermit into Cheryl Ladd’s dressing room and asks for his trust just before they sing “I Enjoy Being a Girl” and beating the crap out of him. At this point, I sort of blame Kermit for continuing to trust her at all.
Episode 424: Diana Ross
Fozzie Bear’s comedy bit is bombing. Enter Diana Ross – a talented performer, but not very well known for her comedic chops. Just before delivering her joke, Fozzie warns her that it’s a tough crowd. Diana reassures him with a “Trust me” and says, “Hiya hiya hiya! Have you heard about the new soft drink they’re making just for frogs? It’s called Croak-a Cola!” Ouch.
Episode 516: Gladys Knight
Knife thrower Signor Baffi’s assistant didn’t show up! Can Fozzie Bear go on stage, stand perfectly still, and smile? “Trust me,” Fozzie says, just before risking life and limb from Baffi’s flashing knives of death.
The Muppets pilot presentation
As a bonus, we caught another “Trust me” in the pilot presentation of the 2015 The Muppets sitcom. Fozzie got some bad news, but he preferred to break it to Kermit in the form of a joke. Kermit just wants it straight, but Fozzie puts his hand on Kermit’s shoulder and pleads, “Trust me!” Then he says, “What has two ears, a snout, and isn’t doing the show?” Fozzie never gets to deliver the punchline, but Kermit got the gist of it.
And there you have it – a whole bunch of “Trust mes” from throughout The Muppet Show and beyond! There are likely many more, which I didn’t bother to find. Or maybe I did, and this is a complete list! Hey, would I lie to you? Trust me.
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com