The Muppets' 'Mahna Mahna' Song First Appeared In A Dirty Exploitation Flick
The Man Na Mah Na song seems almost tailormade for The Muppets and Sesame Street. The upbeat piece that consists of literally nothing but “Mahna Mahna” and various combinations of “Doo” and “Dee” has a very kid energy about it, in the sense that it’s 100% sure of itself but it has absolutely no idea what it wants to say. Not unlike a kid hammering nails into your brand-new kitchen table. They don’t know why they’re doing it; all they know is that it’s of vital importance that they are allowed to continue their mission.
You hear that song, and you can instinctively tell that it’s from a chaotic show about a schizophrenic bird, a chicken banger, and a frog in a consensual non-consent relationship with a pig. BTW, while we’re at it, can everyone PLEASE stop campaigning for Miss Piggy to no longer hit Kermit? It's his kink. It makes him happy. As do all the times Piggy activates his electric underwear (you can tell when it happens because Kermit does the face then.)
Huh. You know, now that I described it accurately, the Muppets no longer sound all that kid-friendly. Which, hey, actually makes sense because neither is Man Na Mah Na. There is no hidden dark meaning to the song, mind you. It’s just that it was originally recorded for a soft-core exploitation flick about Swedish lesbians etc.
Back in the ‘60s, Sweden kind of had the reputation that Japan now “enjoys.” It was thought of as this crazy porn-themed wonderland where everyone’s just so liberated and horny all the time, they might not be instantly repulsed by you and your weird-looking dick. The 1968 Italian film Sweden: Heaven and Hell tried to capitalize on that image by following very real non-actors into lesbian nightclubs, saunas, porn theaters, orgy rooms, and other typical Swedish public facilities.
Popular composer Piero Umiliani recorded Man Na Mah Na for the movie, which was later picked up by Jim Henson for his Muppet skits… that he only discovered by accident after stumbling into a screening of Sweden: Heaven and Hell while looking for the Bible store. Actually, Henson would probably have been unashamed about the song’s origin because the man never saw himself and his creations as purely children’s entertainment. Which only proves my theory that Miss Piggy appearing in “bacon commercials” as a young runaway was actually code for Muppet porn.
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Top Image: Walt Disney