The Muppets Recap: Pig’s in a Blackout

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By Karen Valenzuela, @VictoriaNoir89

The latest episode of ABC’s The Muppets had a healing dose of old school Muppetness that I think all of us long-time Muppet fans have been longing for since the show started…All-out Muppet chaos.

The Muppets are prepping for the day’s episode of Up Late with Miss Piggy, when a flurry of stressful situations occur to and around Kermit. Many times we see Kermit as the only sane Muppet on set, and this day is no different.

Right off the bat, his special parking sign breaks as he’s trying to show it off to the mockumentary crew. Suddenly Sweetums comes barreling through the lot in a golf cart yelling about there being butter on the brakes. For some ridiculous reason, he has a giant stick of butter in the passenger seat. Sweetums crashes into the studio and needs to be taken to the nurse for what is probably a concussion—he calls Kermit “Caroline.”

When Kermit asks about the giant stick of butter, Scooter informs him that their guest, Patrick Dempsey, canceled because he got a poison ivy rash, so they are having Swedish Chef carve a butter sculpture of Piggy’s head instead. Absolutely genius replacement, Scooter. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be into that, Scooter. (That’s only slight sarcasm, because watching Swedish Chef do anything is pretty darn enjoyable. Perrrrtin der berrtter on da sterrrge. Cerrvin da heed oorfada pig.) The butter ends up being pretty melted, and Swedish Chef is having a Swedish freak-out about it. In the meantime, Animal is playing his drums really loudly in the background. Chip is being…Well, he’s being Chip. Yolanda stresses Kermit out even further by yammering at him about the today’s lunch order.

Then Uncle Deadly informs him that Piggy is stuck in the elevator. Bobo’s attempts at hotwiring the elevator end up with the it flying down and then up the shaft with the pig still inside. It’s like Piggy’s on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at California Adventure for a bit there. Fozzie, unaware of the predicament, thinks he’s running onto the elevator and instead falls down the shaft.

Kermit clutches at his heart, states that he feels awful, and promptly faints.

Honestly, for a good minute I was terrified that the show creators went there. I mean, Kermit’s up in years, and I wouldn’t put it past them to give the frog a heart attack or a stroke or something super serious like that. But thankfully, it isn’t a heart attack. But the stress has definitely been getting to the poor guy.

Awkward Central! Both Denise and Piggy swoop in to check on Kermit when they find out what happened, and after an uncomfortable display of one-upmanship by Piggy, both pig-women agree that Kermit needs to get away from the office and take some time to decompress.

Kermit announces that he is leaving for the rest of the day and taking a long weekend, and he puts Scooter in charge for the show. Scooter is very obviously eager to show his mettle and make Kermit proud, but…because they’re Muppets…havoc is thoroughly wreaked in their executive producer’s absence.

Although the biggest misstep is Scooter’s. Yolanda tells him that Kermit doesn’t want anybody touching the building’s thermostat. (Apparently, the frog keeps the place a little swampy. He’s from Louisiana. Give the frog a break.) Scooter does it anyways, and immediately there are consequences. The building turns on the Muppets—pipes falling out of the ceiling and spraying Beaker (who else?) with Freon, flooding which destroys Piggy’s new wardrobe and sends her into hysterics, a power surge which causes the studio lights to literally explode one by one, and finally a complete power outage.

Disheartened, Scooter decides to pack up his things and go, but Gonzo swoops in to give him a pep talk. It ends up being a really good pep talk. Surprisingly. It’s Gonzo, after all. But we’re also gifted with a heartwarming old school Muppet moment when Gonzo puts his hand on Scooter’s shoulder and says, “I believe in you. And it doesn’t matter how scared you are. You can do this.” Awwwwwwww, Gonzoooooo. You sweet, confusing, strange-looking sap.

Heartened again, Scooter comes up with the perfect plan to save the show. Without electricity, the Muppets have no way of lighting the stage or using their cameras even. But wait! The Muppets set up candles everywhere and make the episode about raising energy conservation awareness. They use the golf cart battery to run the cameras. Not to mention the fact that they get Pentatonix, an a cappella group that doesn’t require instruments, to perform. That’s called thinking on your feet, Scooter. Good job, Cheeto Head!

Sam the Eagle is back at it again with his attempts to woo my favorite hippie, Janice. He finds what he thinks is a common interest he can share with her: Hawaii. And he continually brings it up to her throughout the episode. It’s pitiful, and Sam the Eagle has been giving me really sad feels with his whole Janice crush thing. He even catches on fire while attempting to talk to her at one point. Sam, stop. Please. If not for us, then for yourself.

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Meanwhile, Kermit goes to a class in Malibu specifically for meditation, mindfulness, and calming stress. The teacher of the class makes them do an awareness exercise with a blueberry. This results in Kermit hilariously going through a series of predicaments that I think any of us might go through in a meditation class.

None other than THE Jason Bateman plops down at the table next to Kermit. When Kermit asks what he’s doing there, he says his wife made him go because he was getting stressed while directing his daughter’s high school production of Wizard of Oz. For the rest of the episode, Bateman continually interrupts the frog’s restful interlude. He needs Kermit to get his friends in the business to help with the set design and costumes of his daughter’s school play—at a discount, of course. Bateman is a huge annoyance to Kermit, popping up out of nowhere and getting him in trouble with the retreat staff every time.

Kermit’s inability to resist helping someone in need causes him to break out his cell phone to call his costumer friend and talk him into giving Bateman a discount. However, cell phones are prohibited at the retreat, and Kermit is caught by the staff, prompting Bateman to throw the frog under the bus so that he can stay. Kermit, of course, is kicked out, ending his restful weekend of decompression early. When he ends up in Rowlf’s bar, the piano-playing dog lets him in on what makes him such an easygoing guy. When he’s having a tough day, he immerses himself in memories of home and a simpler time.

Kermit’s solution? The most heartwarming, tear-inducing thing of the entire show so far. Yep. They went back to “Rainbow Connection”…and I went back to my childhood. I happened to watch the episode live on TV with my mom. We were both crying. Seeing Kermit back in his swamp with that banjo, kicking his little feet, singing “Rainbow Connection” is so healing. It really is. It’s everything the Muppets are all about.

This episode had so much in it that brought me, personally, back to my own Muppet roots. It had chaos, hilarity, randomness, and heart. All of the things I’ve always loved about the Muppets.

I think Jim Henson would’ve been proud if he’d seen this.

Notes on the episode:

  • Scooter, don’t play. You’d love to rub butter all over Patrick Dempsey’s body. I just have this image of Scooter watching Grey’s Anatomy with his mom and both of them fawning over McDreamy together.
  • Animal doesn’t understand sarcasm.
  • Gonzo: So Kermit, we got a great sketch for Patrick Dempsey.
    Kermit: Oh, no. Dempsey’s out. We’re going with a big block of butter.
    Rizzo: Okay, we’ll just tweak it. Piggy’s having a dream where she’s making out with a big block of butter. It’s actually funnier!
    Pepe: And more realistic. Nyehehehe.
  • Uncle Deadly’s consistent spooky-voiced melodrama is THE BEST. When Piggy’s stuck in the elevator and worried about people seeing her legs, Deadly tells her he’ll get her pair of emergency jeggings. Then he turns to Kermit, grabs him by the arms and says, “There are no jeggings. Hope is what she needs now.”
  • Bobo was in the service. Makes sense.
  • Yolanda: So there was a backlash against Mexican and we’re goin’ Greek.
    Kermit: I…feel awful. (faints)
    Bobo: Ooo, falafel?! Get me one of those!
  • I want to do another rewatch of the episode just to watch Kermit’s face in all of his scenes. Whoever is controlling Kermit’s face is an absolute genius.
  • You really need to watch these episodes 2 or 3 times because there are some really quick background moments that are hilarious. Like Animal peeking into Sweetums’ mouth and saying “You’ve got a big mouth” before turning to listen to Kermit’s announcement like he didn’t just do something really weird and random.
  • Scooter’s great-grammy’s sister, Petunka, made good soup.
  • Also, Scooter is a mess. He just is. I want to pat his Cheetos-covered head and tell him it will be okay.
  • Big Mean Carl makes me bark-laugh. His anger is always present and always funny. “Hey, Carl—” “WHAT?!!!!!”
  • Swedish Chef was pretty tickled by Miss Piggy slipping on the melted butter on the floor and falling on her bum. And it was so perfect that it all happened in the background while Gonzo was talking to the camera.
  • Scooter: (looks at his “Hang In There” cat poster) “Hang in there.” What do you know about real problems? You’re a kitten who’s a model!
  • “So join me by turning off your Because lights cause squinting, which leads to wrinkles, which are character on a man but get women banished from society.” You can’t see me right now but I’m standing up and slow clapping so hard.
  • Big Mean Carl gets into a fight with the delivery guy over a box he delivered and ends up eating the poor guy’s shirt. His reason? “It said ‘This Side Up’ AND HE PUT THAT SIDE DOWN!” Never change, Carl.
  • I’m still crying over “Rainbow Connection.” Just putting that out there.


Catch a brand new episode of The Muppets on ABC, tonight at 8:00 pm!

Until then, keep looking for that rainbow connection, lovers and dreamers. Someday, we’ll find it.

Rating: 4.5/5


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