That awkward moment when you invite the boss for drinks and she says yes. And the boss is Miss Piggy. And Ed Helms shows up.
Let’s bitch it out…
In the A plot this week, Miss Piggy gets jealous when she finds out the crew goes out for drinks without her, and she weasels her way into an invite. In the B plot, Fozzie and Statler bond unexpectedly when Fozzie hits Statler with his t-shirt canon. And in the C plot, Sam the Eagle is nursing an unrequited crush for Janice, who has her eye on Ed Helms. Sigh.
This episode seemed to scream by for me. When it ended, I checked my watch to make sure it was actually 22 minutes long. I can’t quite put my finger on why. The A and B plots are more balanced, with only a gentle hint of the C; this helps tremendously with pacing. But the episode also somehow feels under-developed. I wanted Miss Piggy to see through Kermit’s manipulation, and I wanted Statler and Fozzie to come to some closure. For me, the episode’s third act is rushed and incomplete.
I think some of my disappointment here comes from another missed opportunity to give Miss Piggy some humanity. She really enjoyed spending time with the crew, and she gives it up too easily to appease Kermit’s see-through plot. I didn’t buy her gullibility here. The writers need to decide if Miss Piggy has guile and savvy or not: playing two ends towards the middle on a joke-by-joke basis is costing them in character development.
The best scene of the episode is the karaoke scene. Swedish Chef does a pretty flawless “Rapper’s Delight,” Sam the Eagle hit new lows on “Wind Beneath My Wings,” and the Bunsen/Beaker duet on “I Got You, Babe” was everything (and also, are they in a relationship?). This perfectly zany scene is the peak of muppet magic so far in the series, and I hope the writers find their way back here often.
This week is also very light on the guest stars, with only Ed Helms making an appearance. He’s really good, playing the spoiled star he often depicts. He’s great — especially with karaoke — but the writers need to keep in mind that a lot of the magic comes from muppet/human interactions and celebrities being silly. After a pace of three or more celebs per episode, it’s too much load for Ed Helms to bear on his own.
Overall, a good episode for zaniness, and a lesser one for character development. The writers are finding their rhythm with a lot of the background players, which is good to see and breathes life into the show each week. The show’s central players (Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Scooter, Rizzo, Pepe) are nicely complimented by this rotating cast of background players, and it’s a good recurring easter egg for diehard muppet-lovers. But remembering how well these characters play off special guest stars is key too, so don’t be stingy, ABC!
- Sam the Eagle as the keeper of network standards continues to be perfect casting; his ridiculous passion for rules and regulations plays beautifully against the zaniness of the show.
- Statler taking a t-shirt to the face is some really lovely puppeteering.
- Swedish sushi, which appears to be a meatball on a California roll, is a thing I would totally eat.
- It’s nice to see Janice get a little more screen time. She’s always been my favourite member of the Electric Mayhem.
- Yes to Beaker’s impression of Miss Piggy. Very yes.
- Pepe’s shocked face is one of my most favourite things.
- Sweetums + Ed Helms + Journey = I will never stop believing.
- Scooter without glasses is legit creepy.
- Bunsen: “This evening my PhD stands for Pretty Hard Drinking.”
- Pepe: “Did you know I played Hamlet in high school? It was a controversial casting because I was not very good.”
- Fozzie: “Most bear attacks do not happen because of hunger. They happen because some bear got his feelings hurt.’
- Pepe (listening to Miss Piggy): “Ugh, someone peel and eat me.” Rizzo: “I’ve had more fun in a glue trap.”
Your turn: How did you feel about this week’s pacing? Did you find the third act lacking, or did the speed of development work for you? And do you think one guest star is enough? Sound off in the comments…
The Muppets airs Tuesday at 8 pm EST on ABC (or Mondays at 8 pm on City in Canada).