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I watched The Great Muppet Caper for the first time in years recently, and was amazed by several scenes of sophisticated puppetry, notably the bicycle riding scene with Kermit, Piggy, and the entire Muppet retinue. I texted my friend Randy, a Rizzo the Rat fan, wondering how they got those rat puppets to to ride a bike. His answer: "Cheese, you moron."

Dissatisfied and unenlightened, I asked the internet and found director James Frawley's official answer to the question of how he got Kermit to ride a bike in The Muppet Movie: " I put him on a three-wheeler until he got his balance, and then I put him on the two-wheeler." Equally unhelpful.

At last I found a quote from puppeteer Frank Oz about exactly the scene in question: "It's amazing, though, you work and work on the most difficult things and people say, 'That's nice.' Then something easy will occur and it will be all anyone talks about! In the first movie it was Kermit riding a bike. It was very easy to do that. ... That's why we have a whole bicycle parade in this film." So it was easy. Slightly more helpful, but also somehow also slightly more insulting than being called a moron.

The obelisk in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, and Muppets riding bicycles. Some things, it seems, mankind was not meant to know.

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To be continued...


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