HBO and The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann have gone to great lengths to make the TV series look like its source material. For fans of the highly regarded game, The Last of Us has become the new gold standard for video game adaptations. Avid audience members may remember the first time Sonic the Hedgehog made an epic live-action appearance. Instead of reinventing the wheel, HBO’s The Last of Us gives us entertainment that’s closer to the center — but what the series adds is like window dressing for fans to enjoy even more.
In a viral adaptation from the second episode of The Last of Us, a small frog jumps on a piano as its hind legs accidentally hit some keys. Think Looney Tunes’ Michigan J. Frog belting out a ragtime tune. Or Crazy Frog minus the synths. After playing the keys, the little green amphibian, now called “Piano Frog” by fans, has won the hearts of the Internet. For a series about surviving a zombie apocalypse, that levity is appreciated. As one Twitter user wrote, “He stole the show.”
According to Druckmann, we almost never saw the Piano Frog. Sharing a behind-the-scenes image on Twitter of the bird being placed behind a fake frog, Druckmann revealed, “The piano frog wouldn’t be a thing… if the piano bird did its job!” A bird should eat a frog in exchange, but “never!!!” he said. “I think everything happens for a reason.”
Music fans will remember that guitar playing is a unique feature of the Last of Us game — a dramatic and musical moment for a violent, dystopian series. Although I will not hit the Piano Bird, I am happy that the Piano Frog lives on the ivory.
Josh Rosenberg is an entertainment writer who lives in Brooklyn, keeping a healthy diet of one movie a day; Her previous work can be found on CBR, Spin, Insider, and on her own blog at Roseandblog.com.