The Muppets Recap: Pig Girls Don’t Cry

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By Karen Valenzuela, @VictoriaNoir89

The Muppets pilot premiered Tuesday night, nerds! Did you watch it? Never fear if you did not because I watched it, and I’m here to tell you all the Muppety things! You’re welcome!

First thing’s first: I have never seen a Muppet thing I didn’t enjoy. Ever. From The Muppet Show that first premiered on television in the 1970s, helmed by Jim Henson himself, to Muppets from Space (1999). I know, I know…so many of you are trying to take away my Muppet-fan credentials for liking Muppets from Space, BUT JOO CANNOT HAVE THEM, OKAAY?

From the get-go, Tuesday night’s premiere did not disappoint. But there was something else there that we’ve never seen from the likes of the Muppets before…

Toto? I have a feeling the Muppets aren’t in Kids Land anymore. The adult jokes started almost immediately, intermixed with some of the classic favorites. Pepe the King Prawn (full name Pepino Rodrigo Serrano Gonzales), a true four-armed Spanish hero, mentions he didn’t like his cousin’s dress at her wedding, but apparently there aren’t many options when you’re pregnant with, like, 4000 babies, okaay? And right after that, the show gave us the ol’ Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker abusive relationship schtick. Poor Beaker. Always the lab rat in Bunsen’s experiments, with that perpetual look of “maybe we shouldn’t be doing this—but—will this one hurt because it always hurts—but—well okay I guess”.

Then Zoot, the blue guy in Electric Mayhem who plays the saxophone, heard Kermit say this was a meeting and he immediately stood up to introduce himself, mistaking the board meeting for Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s probably safe to say he’s done this before. In an actual AA meeting.

The board meeting for the Muppet produced late night talk show “Up Late With Miss Piggy” was the perfect way to start the pilot, as it was a reason to put everyone in the same room. They brought in some old and presented us with some new. Besides the über adult jokes being new (not that the Muppets were entirely innocent in that respect before), this show is also filmed differently. To follow in the footsteps of original Muppets creator/genius Jim Henson, the creators satirize the current pop culture TV genres. While variety shows were popular in the late 1970s, today’s TV audiences are all about mockumentary shows like The Office, 30 Rock, and Modern Family.

There is some major potential here. This is the perfect opportunity for the audience to get to see what’s inside of those felt heads—you know, besides a lot of foam. And a human hand. (There. I just ruined the magic for you. You’re welcome.) Imagine the character growth! The things we get to hear them say that they’d never say to their Muppety colleagues! And with the Kermit/Piggy break-up, there’s lots of really good drama and growth we might get to see with those two in particular.

Speaking of the frog and the pig…

They are definitely not in a romantic relationship. It is over. I can’t talk too much about the flashback in which we actually see Kermit breaking up with Miss Piggy because it hurts. I was close to tears. For a scene with puppets, that break-up scene was so real it was almost too real. And in that respect, it was pretty powerful. Surprisingly so. It makes me emotional just thinking about Piggy’s little snout shaking as she starts breathing hard in disbelief, and her motionless eyes staring after Kermit in shock as he walks away. I need to go lie down.

Okay, I’m back. Here’s the thing. Kermit is dating Denise from the marketing department, and I don’t really know her personally, but I just feel like she’s maybe not the greatest person—Or…pig. You know? I mean, we shouldn’t pit lady pigs against one another. Lady pigs need to stick together and all that. And I’m not going through the streets shouting Team Piggy or anything (TEAM PIGGY!), but I have a feeling Miss Piggy might end up sticking an apple in Denise’s mouth, tying her to a spit, and turning her over a raging fire by the end of the season. Denise has to know there’s history between Miss Piggy and Kermit. And yet, she’s totally unsubtle hanging all over him in the workplace. It’s so unprofessional on both their parts. Like, what does she think, he’s going to turn into a prince if she throws herself at him in front of everyone? Gnawing on the end of her pencil with those half-lidded eyes during the board meeting…Take it down a notch or twelve, Denise.

And Kermit, we’re in a fight. I always thought you weren’t like other frogs, but now I know. You’re just as slimy as the rest of ‘em.

As for the Fozzie Bear’s plotline, I’m eager to see what happens with The Foz and his human girlfriend, who is played by Riki Lindhome of Garfunkel and Oates fame. He’s very eager to impress her parents because apparently he hasn’t dated in a long time. “When your online profile says ‘Passionate bear looking for love’, you get a looot of wrong responses. Uh, not wrong, uh, just…wrong for me.” (Side note: I laughed so hard at this I missed the entire next scene. If you don’t get the full joke here, look “bear” up on Urban Dictionary.) The other bear jokes were hilarious, too. When he compliments Becky’s mom on the salmon at dinner, Becky’s dad mutters, “He likes the salmon, what a surprise.” And her mom proceeds to tell him if she’d known, she would have kept some raw for him. Since, you know, bears tend to catch fish in rivers. “Actually, I usually get mine at Costco,” he casually throws out there.

Here are a few Easter eggs for longtime Muppet fans:

  • Guest stars! Elizabeth Banks, Tom Bergeron, and Imagine Dragons were super fun. Banks and Bergeron were particularly hilarious. We’ll be seeing others, I’m sure.
  • Per usual, Kermit is overwhelmed by his friends’ antics as he attempts to keep everything together. We saw his “why is this my life” face a lot, except now he makes it right at the camera. Like a small, green version of Jim Halpert on The Office.
  • It’s still all about Piggy. Piggy’s the sun and we’re all just planets revolving around her. She even tells Kermit to put generic trash over the regular trash in her dressing room trashcan.
  • Sam the Eagle is still SO. OFFENDED.
  • Statler and Waldorf are still buying tickets and sitting in the audience, even though they supposedly hate every show they’ve seen in the last 30 plus years. Uh huh. Okay, Statler and Waldorf. I’ve got your number, Statler and Waldorf. Side note: They had a really good one in this episode. After Fozzie says it’s his job to warm up the audience with jokes, they quip, “Oh God, we’re gonna die of hypothermia! Doooh ho ho ho ho ho!”
  • That big blue monster guy who usually ends up eating other Muppets is back! There’s a part where he burps and walks off screen. I literally turned to my friend I was watching with and yelled, “I bet he just ate another Muppet!!!” Fun tidbit: His name is Big Mean Carl, by the way. I looked it up. Big Mean Carl. Just…yes.
  • Bobo the Bear is so weird. He’s always just so weird.
  • MUPPET DANCING! Rizzo and Pepe did a foxtrot, which is really difficult to do with puppets, so instead of an actual foxtrot, they did that usual Muppety dance that Muppets are so good at.
  • Janice is still the raddest Muppet on the planet. Like fer suuuure.
  • Animal is still a huge hit with the ladies, which is why he can’t go on tour with Imagine Dragons when they invite him in the episode. “Too many women, too many towns,” he says miserably.


The pilot episode gave viewers a lot to think about, and there are a few questions I have as the show progresses:

  1. Will we see Miss Piggy recreate Poe’s famous Pit and the Pendulum with Denise as her victim? “The Pig and the Pendulum” will be the title of that episode, obviously.
  2. Will Animal ever come back from whatever Narnia he stumbled into when he fell into that giant drum?
  3. Will we see Pepe and Rizzo dressed up as other historical figures? Lovelace and Babbage, anyone? Caesar and Brutus? “Et tu, Rizzo? Then fall Pepe, okaay?”
  4. Will Miss Piggy sing T-Swift at Kermit? “We are never ever everrrr getting baaack togetherrrr!” Like, ever.
  5. Am I the only one who pictured Miss Piggy coming in like Miley’s wrecking ball when Bobo says that the hoisting wire Piggy broke was supposed to be for a wrecking ball? Either way, I say we see this happen on the show at some point.
  6. Will I ever not be uncomfortable when they show the Muppets in full body shots? I squirmed just writing that question.


That’s it for this week’s Muppet recap! Catch the pilot episode of The Muppets on ABC’s website right now if you haven’t seen it yet. And stay tuned for a new episode next Tuesday at 8/7pm central on ABC!

Rating: 4.997/5

 


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