The Muppets Recap: The Ex-Factor

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By Karen Valenzuela, @VictoriaNoir89

My questions about the Denise-lessness of every episode since the pilot have been answered, and this week’s episode was Denise-heavy. I’m not saying they’re reading my recaps, of course, but they might be reading my recaps. Or maybe Piggy’s megalomania is rubbing off on me. I should get that checked out.

It makes sense that Denise the TV executive doesn’t get down to the studio as much because she’s in the administrative side of things. But we also learn that Kermit has been doing his best to keep her from visiting quite so often, because being in the same room with both Denise and Piggy is awkward for him. Well, then don’t date a pig from work, frog!

As the episode begins, it becomes clear that Up Late guest Kristin Chenoweth is the main reason why Denise came to the studio in the first place. She’s a major Chenoweth fangirl. But honestly, who isn’t? Kristin Chenoweth is actual sunshine …If sunshine was teeny-tiny and super hilarious. Even Uncle Deadly owns the domain “ChenowethFanNumberOne.com”, a website I wish were real because Deadly has a very interesting mind and I’m sure it would be a blast to scroll through. The website, not his mind. …Maybe his mind, too. You’re welcome, Muppets creators.

Muppets 6 TNM PIC 1

Denise can’t help herself and she runs over to introduce herself to Kristin, even though Kermit tries to convince her it would be a bad idea. Especially since Piggy is right there. Guess you just have to deal with it like an adult frog instead of like a tadpole, eh Kermit? Denise is a total wreck trying to talk to Kristin and it’s definitely the most human (I use this loosely) I’ve seen her so far. I almost relate to her! Almost. But she’s still on my poop list.

However, Denise On-The-Poop-List Pig has a birthday coming up the next day, and Kermit stereotypically has Yolanda making their celebration lunch reservation for him. And he also hasn’t bought Denise a birthday present because she told him not to. So of course he pulls the entire show’s crew in to brainstorm what to get her for her birthday. Great idea, chief! Ask a room full of incredibly silly Muppets! They’ll be super helpful!

They’re the opposite of super helpful, actually. As Deadly says, “I don’t present solutions, just dramatic problems.” Pepe suggests peanut butter, but only after he suggests a snow cone machine. Both good options. Chip the IT guy once again proves that he’s horrifyingly creepy and probably a stalker when he suggests breaking into Denise’s cloud and browsing her purchase history. Chip, stop. Gonzo has the worst possible ideas. Remember Debbie the Internet date from a few episodes ago? Yeah, she dodged a bullet. Or, more specifically, a scale and a bag of socks…not a pair of socks, or a set, or anything like that…no, a bag. A bag of socks. Somebody help him. Please.

As it turns out, after a failed attempt at making her a gift at Color Me Mine per Scooter’s suggestion, Kermit takes Gonzo’s advice. No, he doesn’t get Denise a bag of socks. But he does go to Piggy to ask the world’s greatest giver (that’s her!) what to get his new girlfriend. You read that right. Kermit asks Miss Piggy, his ex-girlfriend, to help him find his current girlfriend a gift for her birthday. 1) That’s a major dick move. 2) Haven’t you known Piggy for over 40 years now? She will cut your girlfriend into strips and throw her in a skillet if you give her the opportunity.

Kermit asking for Piggy’s help is awkward and completely unfair. Kermit does the whole “when we broke up we said we’d still be friends” thing. Piggy is gracious—as gracious as the diva pig can be. She has Kermit give her details about Denise’s persona so that she can figure out the perfect gift. He’s surprisingly knowledgeable about his girlfriend, and for the first time since the show introduced Denise, you can tell Kermit legitimately cares about her.

But there’s a wrench in their plans when Yolanda sweeps in to remind Kermit of his meeting with the network president. His lunch with Denise is only two hours away, so Piggy offers to buy the gift for him while he’s in his meeting.

Kermit ends up having to stall quite a bit during lunch, as Piggy hasn’t arrived with the gift yet, nor has she answered her phone when he’s tried to call her. The implication being that she’s going to stand him up and make him look like a bad boyfriend. (I mean, honestly, he’s yet to show us he can be a good boyfriend.) But then Piggy shows up in the nick of time! And with the birthday gift! A birthday gift that ends up being…absolutely perfect and incredibly thoughtful! What a great twist, right? But then when Denise opens her jewelry box, she discovers that it’s also a music box! And the song that plays…is Kermit and Piggy’s special song. AN EVEN BETTER TWIST! 1000 points to Piggy for that one. Think about it. Every time Denise opens that box to get her jewelry out, Kermit will hear his and Piggy’s song. Piggy’s evil genius game is STRONG. I like her SO MUCH in this episode. Even if she does dip lobster in caviar. (GROSS!!!!!)

Electric Mayhem asks Kristin Chenoweth to sing with them at Floyd’s parents’ anniversary party. She agrees because she’s adorable and nice. Who else would trust Electric Mayhem enough to get into their van? Actually…Kristin Chenoweth, maybe this is a bad idea.

Turns out it’s an awful idea, even if her heart is in the right place. She asks Janice and Floyd how long they’ve been together. Janice waxes poetic about how she and Floyd are two independent spiritual beings. She isn’t anybody’s lady. Floyd obviously doesn’t share that sentiment. (He even shut down his Tinder for her. So that sounds serious. I guess.) And of course Dr. Teeth has to casually insert that he and Janice once dated. So that becomes a whole mess. And everyone else gets involved, and poor Kristin Chenoweth is just in the middle of it, probably with Funyuns in her hair because she’s sitting in front of Animal and that’s what he’s eating.

Eventually Electric Mayhem unanimously decide that Kristin Chenoweth is the reason they argued in the first place, and they leave her on the side of the road in the middle of the desert. With some Funyuns. Really classy, guys.

Chenoweth’s comedic genius is on full display in this episode, and she easily usurped the other guest stars to become my favorite so far this season. When Animal leans over her shoulder in the van and starts breathing heavily on her in that creepily intense way of his, she ends up throwing an entire bottle of Tic-Tacs, trying to get them into his mouth, for obvious reasons. The result is amazingly funny.

This episode gave me a few belly laughs, and it definitely made me feel like there are good things on the horizon for us Muppet fans. And Deadline announced another development in Muppetland today: show frontrunner Bob Kushell has officially left the show. According to the article, there were some creative differences and not everyone was onboard with his leaving. It has to be a good sign that the show is making some fundamental changes. While it had great moments over the past 6 episodes, I haven’t been the only one with questions about the series and its direction.

There are a lot of positive things to look forward to with The Muppets. It’s exciting!

And now!

A few notes about this episode:

-Ugh. Denise would say YOLO.

-Kristin: “[Denise] is so sweet. And you handled yourself beautifully.”
Piggy: “Yeah. Well. I am pretty great with kids.”

-“So Koimet, I got you a reservation at Katsuya’s for Denise’s birthday tomorrow. Am I supposed to pick up the gift, too, or have you decided you want to be part of your own relationship?”  OH, SNAP! YOLANDA! I REQUEST THE HIGHEST OF FIVES, YOLANDA!

-Kermit: “What am I gonna do? Her birthday’s tomorrow and I’m a terrible gift-giver!”
Yolanda Rat: “Ugh, it’s true. Last year for Christmas he got me a stuffed gorilla that sings Jungle Boogie every time somebody moves.”
Uncle Deadly: “Ooooo what’d you use, your CVS Rewards points?”
Kermit: “I’m a frog! I buy a lot of moisturizer!”

-Uncle Deadly is basically the gloriously sassy version of a horror show host from the 1950s. Like if Vincent Price was a contestant on Project Runway. “That dress reminds me of the winter I spent in Transylvania, darling, and not in a good way.”

-Pepe: (to Chip) “Okay. Joo hggghave to stop speeting on meee.”

-Yeah, Ken! Put on a robe! Poor Scooter.

-Kermit tells Chip to just close his laptop and Chip says, “But then I don’t know what to do with my eyes.” I’m…kind of grossed out to say this but that resonates with me on a soul-deep level.

-So Scooter is top dog at the local Color Me Mine. Good for you, Scooter. Good for you. Go on with your bad self. Painting plates. And other things. For your mom. Poor Scooter.

-Kermit and I are at pretty much the same level of artistic ability. Only thing is, he’s a puppet, and there’s a person skillfully manipulating his wee hands while not really seeing what is actually being painted. And I don’t have that excuse.

-Miss Piggy gave Queen Elizabeth II a Go Pro. Why we don’t see more corgi videos released by Buckingham Palace, I don’t know.

-Were Janice and Floyd dating when she hooked up with Ron Swanson/Nick Offerman? Or when she was super chummy with Ed Helms at the bar during the karaoke episode? Janice, I know you’re super far out, but ummmm…slow your roll, badass. Just a little.

-All of these years, and Animal never knew he was supposed to get paid.

-I sent an email to DonJuanPrawn@IAmPepe.com, so I’ll let you all know if and when I get a reply.


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