I am deadly serious when I say that Kermit the Frog is my hero.
Ask anyone I know, and they’ll assure you, I am speaking the truth. Why? Well, despite the fact that it’s not easy being green, Kermit embodies all of the traits of a truly great person. He is kind, patient, generous, slightly world-weary, fiercely loyal to his friends and always looking to see the good in people, something that occasionally gets him into trouble – but trouble that he can always sort out with the help of those aforementioned friends. He is the frog that I aspire to be.
Just over three years ago I had to opportunity to meet my idol in the flesh/felt. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. Naturally, I wore my Kermit the Frog t-shirt, which he commented on, casually saying my name as he did. “Kermit The Actual Frog knows my name – this is it, I’ve peaked” was all I could think for the rest of the interview and it went by in a flash.
Now, while I love Kermit - and, when interviewing him, you literally do believe that you are talking to a frog - I did realise that, operating him, was a human who, frankly, was clearly a bit of a genius, simultaneously voicing and puppeting my excellent amphibious friend.
His name was Steve Whitmire, and he’d been working as Kermit for 27 years, ever since the death of Jim Henson himself back in 1990. However, a few weeks ago, he was fired in mysterious circumstances; whether it was his fault, or Disney’s is very difficult to tell – and you can read all about it here – but the upshot is that someone else was going to be working with my idol. Someone new. This was very much a big deal.
And now we have the first sound of the new Kermit, confirmed by Disney to now be voiced by a man named Matt Vogel.
And it’s... very weird. It’s still Kermit. But it’s not Kermit. You know? You don’t know, you haven’t listened yet. Here you go:
It’s deeply unsettling isn’t it? Maybe they’ll grow into the role. Let’s hope so.
Maybe they should have got Tom Hiddleston in to do it instead.
While we try to get used to the change, let’s enjoy happier times.