Studio 360, the public-radio show and Slate podcast, shares an oral history of the Muppets. In the early years, before Sesame Street and The Muppet Show made them famous with kids, creator Jim Henson struggled to find the right setting for his personality-packed foam-and-felt creations; their origins were in violent, adult-themed shorts, including a brief stint on Saturday Night Live.

Love the Muppets? Read an interview with the man behind Big Bird, or a story on the man who tried to keep the Muppets going after Jim Henson’s death.

Herships: Seitz says the Muppets remind us of ourselves.
Take the relationship at the show’s heart, between Kermit and Miss Piggy.

Seitz: It’s a really dysfunctional relationship. For starters, Miss Piggy, let’s be honest, here—Miss Piggy is a handful. There’s just no denying that Miss Piggy is about as high-maintenance as it gets. And also…

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