What do you get when you combine Kirsten Chenoweth, the Electric Mayhem, and a rusty old tour bus? Well, it seems that you get a very confused Broadway baby stranded in the desert. Hm.
Let’s bitch it out…
The episode opens with a scene that for once simultaneously sets up our A and B plots. In the A plot, Kermit needs to buy a birthday present for his new girlfriend and (insanely?) turns to Miss Piggy for advice. In the B plot, Kirsten Chenoweth agrees to sing with the Electric Mayhem as a favour and ends up nearly destroying the band in the process. The two storylines are more interconnected than the A & B plots have been in previous weeks, plus with only two to focus on, each is more fully fleshed-out. As much as I like all the busy business of three plotlines per episode, the storytelling is clearly better served with the two plot structure (which I hate to admit, because I much prefer being right).
First and most important observations: Kirsten Chenoweth is adorbs. Adorbs. It is nice to see one of the Muppets acting like a fangirl; they’re all pretty jaded from working around celebrities, so Denise’s excitement is refreshing while giving all the major characters a chance to reassert their coolness. And I like the touch of Kirsten Chenoweth being a bit of an Electric Mayhem fangirl; that is a super-cute choice.
The character I most want to talk about this week is Scooter. I am really enjoying this whole Norman Bates situation brewing with ol’ Scoots. He’s a character I’ve always loved, but a perfect example of what works well in this format: all the characters get a chance at a backstory. In the more classic versions of the Muppets, we know a lot about the principals and all the other characters just fill in colour. Here, we learn a lot of backstory for at least one non-principal Muppet each week, and the end result is a richer and more robust cast.
In spite of my passion for Scooter, clearly the most important character development in this episode is the continued sweetening of Miss Piggy. That she helps Kermit, and even buys a really thoughtful gift for Denise, is important step in providing some depth as a character — yes, she tortures Kermit, but subtly, and not in a way that punishes Denise. Incidentally, I’m grateful for how the new girlfriend is handled in this series: she is the subject of teasing, but she isn’t framed as a villain (Side bar: if only non-puppet-based programming could offer such nuanced female roles!) It also helps that Kirsten Chenoweth plays a supportive gal-pal rather than object of jealousy for Miss Piggy, because now I can’t stop imagining them shopping together and having lunch.
Overall, I think we’re hitting a really good stride with the show. The character backstories are helping to warm the overall tone of the show, especially as Miss Piggy becomes more human. As much as I hate to admit it, I was wrong about the plot structure and the number of guest stars. The episodes work best when they can focus, so I hope the writers stick to the two plots / one guest star structure. I think that’s the groove that works.
- Glad to have more Statler and Waldorf this week! There really can’t be enough. Waldorf’s crush on Kirsten Chenoweth Is the cutest, especially if you caught him singing along at the end.
- I continue to find Kermit’s assistant delightful and charming, and I would watch the hell out of the sitcom she threatened to pitch to the network.
- Pepe and Rizzo’s gift suggestions for Denise, from what I could make out, included a sno-cone machine, peanut butter, scissors, and “a nice wrench.” I love those two Muppets so much! Also: I cannot even believe how little merchandise there is for them. I need a stuffed Pepe and a stuffed Rizzo like yesterday.
- I know the Color Me Mine setting is straight-up just advertising, but I liked it anyway. Seeing judgemental Scooter and Rizzo using his tail to paint is worth the product placement.
- Did anyone else find themselves daydreaming about Miss Piggy’s friendship with Queen Elizabeth? I’m picturing them both in mud masks, watching Mama Mia.
- That moment when Animal realized he isn’t getting paid tho.
- iampepe.com is not a real website. I checked.
- Miss Piggy (to Kermit, on Denise): “Nice upgrade.”
- Deadly: “Oh no, I don’t present solutions. Just dramatic problems.”
- Kirsten: “How long have they been married?” Janice: “Like, how can you measure the intertwining of two souls?” Kirsten: “Um. In years?” Janice: “Oh, then forty.”
- Scooter (muttering about his mom’s boyfriend): “Put on a robe, Ken.”
- Kermit: “Chip, just close the laptop.” Chip: “But then I don’t know what to do with my eyes.”
- Kirsten: “A question about my seatbelt? I think it’s just a guitar strap connected to nothing?”
- Kermit: “Lunch is almost over and the only thing I have to give her is a punch card from Cinnabon. And I’m still seven bons away from a free bon. That’s not a gift! That’s a burden!”
- Floyd: “Your problem is you think the whole world revolves around you. Well, it doesn’t. It revolves around the moon, and that’s why we have winter.”
Your turn: Are you digging the character development? Did you miss the C plot this week?And didn’t you just want Kirsten Chenoweth to sing constantly, because otherwise what is the point? Sound off in the comments!
The Muppets airs Tuesday at 8 pm EST on ABC (or Mondays at 8 pm on City in Canada).