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Some time before "Pig Girls Don't Cry", she met Up Late’s Executive Producer, Kermit the Frog at a cross-promotional synergy meeting. Shortly after, they began dating. In an interview with Extra, Kermit says that she was one of the people who had the idea for the Muppets to do a new show, and they hit it off. He later admitted to Entertainment Tonight that he's got a thing for pigs because he finds their curly tails attractive.
Denise made her first appearance on September 1, 2015, in a promo with Kermit and Ken Jeong. The two are engaged in light conversation on the studio lot when Kermit's attention is shifted to Denise who rides by on a scooter. She holds her glasses and doesn't speak, but locks eyes with Kermit in the brief spot.
Throughout the much-publicized break-up between Kermit and Miss Piggy, the topic of his new love interest came up frequently. In an Audi commercial, the former couple takes a business lunch, and Piggy dismissively refers to Denise as Dennis more than once. She goes so far as to stage a Paparazzi stunt to make her jealous of Kermit and Piggy's continued attention in the press. Piggy also nicknames her Niecey in "The Ex-Factor", taken partly from a shortening of her name, but also when she realizes Denise has a lot in common with her 6-year-old niece.
In the episode "The Ex-Factor", Denise celebrates a birthday where Kermit gifts her (via Miss Piggy, who has her own agenda) a jewelry box and a bracelet. The box is made of Southern Live Oak, the state tree of Georgia, which she says smells like home. In the same episode, she tells Kristin Chenoweth that she was a theater major in college until she got her Masters degree and had to let go of a career in performing.
Denise and Kermit agree to set some boundaries between their relationship and work over a tipsy game of Monopoly in "Swine Song". They train together for a charity 5k marathon, but Kermit misses the run when he oversleeps from working late. When Kermit and Piggy perform "In Spite of Ourselves" together as part of a last-ditch effort to save the show, Denise can't ignore the chemistry he still has with his ex. Three episodes later, in "Little Green Lie", Kermit reveals that Denise ultimately breaks up with him after asking to take a break from their relationship.
- The Muppets
- "The Muppet Show Theme" a capella cover
- For the presentation pilot, the Spamela Hamderson puppet from Muppets Tonight was used. She had just previously appeared in the wedding scene of Muppets Most Wanted. When asked by an audience member at San Diego Comic-Con, Bill Prady and Bob Kushell explained that the puppet was used only for the studio pitch and that the character was being rebuilt for the show proper. The design for Denise was first unveiled by People magazine on September 1, 2015.