It’s Not Easy Being Green.

It’s Not Easy Being Green.

Technically, if I hadn’t been silly and graduated all early, then I would be going back to Vassar right now to write pretentious essays about obscure films. In a weird way, I miss it. And so, I improvised an essay about the most recent thing I watched on youtube. The circumstances of my life are such that I watch a lot of Sesame Street. Anyway. It doesn’t have to make sense.


Kermit the Frog is best known for educating children about various letters of the alphabet, and fucking Miss Piggy. All in all, a great and iconic American. However, what Kermit is not appreciated for enough are his philosophical quandaries on the human (frog) condition.

“It’s not easy being green.” No, it’s not. Ask anyone who has had a bucket of green paint poured over them and they would agree, perhaps mentioning how their skin couldn’t breath. Literal translations aside, though, one might equate the state of being “green” to, let’s say, the state of “existing” at all.

It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things

Kermit raises an interesting point here, and indeed uncovers the trope of the typical high school experience. The popular kids are popular and well loved, but what about the rest? They blend in at best, and are otherwise mocked and teased for their poor clothing choices and frumpy appearance. So what is Kermit trying to say here? That he is a nerd? Maybe. But more specifically, Kermit sings the ballad for all introverts everywhere.

And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water Or stars in the sky

Indeed, what does it take to be an important member of society? Certainly being green is not one of the qualifications. Sparkly people get ahead, Kermit says, but what about those who are not inherently flashy? What does it take to get noticed around here? Kermit knows he has something to offer the world, and yet he is concerned that not enough take notice. Or, worse, not enough care to take notice.

To emphasize the tragedy of his existence (or, “being green”), Kermit outlines the qualities he possesses which make him a worthwhile frog.

“Green’s the color of Spring And green can be cool and friendly-like.”

These traits are truly valuable. Popular surveys agree that Spring is voted the favorite season amongst New Yorkers. Friendly-like people get far in this world, because they have more karma points. Overall, Kermit proves to those naysayers that his existence, however not easy it might be, is both relevant and important.

Unfortunately, Kermit runs into a flaw in his argument when he specifies, “And green can be big like an ocean, or important Like a mountain, or tall like a tree.” If Kermit means to imply that oceans and mountains are green, then he is sorely mistaken. Otherwise, if he means to say that the concept of the color green is big and important like oceans and mountains, then it follows that the same could be applied to all other colors, thus negating the importance of his claim.

Excluding these defects in Kermit’s argument, the heart of the message remains the same: being alive, or green, or existing, is not simple. It is trysome and filled with challenges. One goes through life oft to be unrecognized or alone, to be unimportant in spite of positive qualities one might possess. More simply put, “nice guys finish last.”

Kermit has accepted this, in the end, and concludes, “When green is all there is to be It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful And I think it’s what I want to be.” We exist, and we are. We wonder why, and wonder why, but there are no answers. We see people who are unqualified get ahead. We see beautiful, talented people end up “no where.” We see nepotism get stalked and celebrated by newspapers while hardworking Americans toil with no recognition. Kermit is okay with these facts. He knows who he is, and he knows he’s hot shit. In spite of his flaws or his status, he is self-assured and self-confident. In the end, if we take nothing else from children’s television, let us at least be rest assured that even though life sucks, it sucks for everyone, and that’s ok.


4 thoughts on “It’s Not Easy Being Green.

  1. This makes me appreciate Kermit in a whole new way. I wonder what I could learn from the philosophical outlook of our other green icons, such as the Jolly Green Giant and Pete’s Dragon. Does anyone even remember those guys these days?

  2. Seriously, I think that you are on to something in your analysis of Kermit. First of all, I love the song, so it’s great that you’ve helped me to appreciate its meaning in a new way. Secondly, I think this is an interesting metaphor for life in general. I’ll go through the day with a new perspective all from the wisdom of our little green friend from Sesame Street. It’s kind of sad that we don’t see that much of Kermit in the more updated versions of the show. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful essay.

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