The Muppets Recap: Walk the Swine Review


By Karen Valenzuela, @VictoriaNoir89

First thing’s first. In the latest episode of The Muppets, there was no Denise. Again.

Where is Denise? We have not seen Denise since the pilot. I have to ask. Did Piggy…do something? Because, look, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Miss Piggy over the years, it’s that she’s not above violence. And in this show, especially, she’s been ruthless. So where is Denise? I know I said some unkind things about her in a past recap. But honestly, with all of that cosmetic surgery she’s had, she’s basically pulled pork. (Haaa! Get it???)

It’s just that they made such a huge deal about this new pig in Kermit’s life before the show started, and now we’ve gone four episodes straight with no Denise. No mention of Denise, even. I’m hungry for that love triangle! And I’m hungry for more hardworking independent lady Muppets, even if they are homewreckers. Piggy, Janice, and Yolanda are great and all (especially Janice), but I need more lady Muppets.

Let’s table Denise, though—with a side of coleslaw, preferably, haaa—because another episode means another Piggy versus female celebrity rivalry. This time, Reese Witherspoon is her target. And I’m starting to wonder how many other celebrities she’s angry at for a stupid reason. Is there anyone she actually likes? Can we have an episode about that? Can we have an episode where Piggy is trying to suck up to Maggie Smith because Maggie Smith is a goddess and Maggie Smith gives Piggy a barely restrained look of disgust when she eats her food piggishly? Wait, no. I stole that from First Wives Club. Never mind.

Let’s get this out of the way right now: How could anybody be angry with Reese Witherspoon? I get it. Not only did Reese beat Piggy out for the role of June Carter in Walk the Line, she also won an Oscar for it. And Piggy’s got a grudge. But that’s not fair, you say! It isn’t Reese’s fault! That’s illogical! You’re right. But Piggy’s never been logical about picking her victims. However, Reese Witherspoon is not somebody I’d want to mess with. Then again, I don’t have the strong stuffing in me that Piggy has. Uncle Deadly’s dramatic explanation of Piggy’s grudge against Reese is so epic and villainous. I have so far loved his role in this show as Piggy’s personal assistant/right-hand-Muppet.

Piggy sets up a string of inconveniences, if you will, for Reese as she arrives to be a guest on Up Late with Miss Piggy. Kermit discovers a gourmet coffee truck Piggy ordered for the crew has blocked the parking spot he reserved for Reese. Right, “for the crew.” Okay. Later on, he finds Reese and apologizes about the parking space. She’s fine though, because she left her car “with the valet.” Wait…do they have a valet? No, right? …Uh oh. And yet another uh oh…because Reese mentions the beautiful basket of homemade muffins Piggy had put in her dressing room. Kermit’s response: “Don’t eat ‘em.” All I’m saying is, I think we know now what happened to Denise. Somebody needs to look into that.

Kermit’s terror while Reese is onstage with Piggy is palpable. He has that wrinkly mouth and his little hands are clasped together in front of his face. He even whimpers. That is one scared Muppet. I don’t blame him, though. Piggy’s proven herself to be totally unpredictable and there is no line she won’t cross. She immediately brings up Reese’s Oscar, and the actress tries to divert the conversation to her work with Habitat for Humanity. Piggy’s attempts to upstage her rival result in her showing up to the same construction site that Reese will be working on the next day. Thus begins a one-sided grudge match that seems pretty flimsy at best.

Piggy shows up looking like—well, an idiot. She’s prepared for a media frenzy that simply isn’t there. Because, you know, it’s a Habitat for Humanity build site, and not a red carpet premiere. Piggy’s relentless and annoying upstaging finally pushes Reese too far, and they begin competing with each other to discover who is better at constructing things? I guess? I couldn’t exactly tell what the goal was. Maybe they were building things and seeing who looked the most fabulous doing it? Either way, the battle devolves into a shoving match, which wrecks the house. Thanks to Piggy calling the press earlier, it’s all caught on camera. Such great PR for everyone involved.

Muppets 5 TNM PIC 1
A construction site is no place for pearls, Piggy.

Finally, Piggy seems to have some guilt and embarrassment regarding the situation. She even throws herself on the elegant chaise in her dressing room and weeps. Kermit’s little warm froggy heart forces him to believe her when she says she wants to invite Reese back onto the show so that she can apologize for her behavior. He’s still nervous, but he invites Reese back. Reese comes to the show and apologizes on air. Instead of a normal person “I’m sorry” that would have solved the issue, Piggy puts on an intricate dance number that turns into an uninspired rap. Let’s put it this way: I didn’t enjoy it as much as the show wanted me to. She ends her silly performance with an “I WIN!” which is just pitiful. Piggy, you don’t deserve that mic drop moment.

Fozzie’s girlfriend Becky played a huge role in this week’s episode and I am so glad they brought her back. Not only is Riki Lindhome adorable (I mean, why else did Pushing Daisies cast her as a dandelion girl? Shimmy shimmy!), she’s a breath of fresh air. And I hate to be a butt, but the show’s air is running pretty stale at the moment.

As it turns out, Fozzie’s stand-up act is also stale. Gonzo, Rizzo, and Pepe accompany Becky to his show and they find him using the same old jokes he’s always used, which fall flat with the audience. As his friends commiserate over the awful jokes, the jokester bear switches gears and starts talking about his girlfriend’s personal quirks—like her sweating habits, for instance. One thing is very apparent. Becky is not as amused as the rest of the audience is. Fozzie’s in deep doodoo.

Before this episode, Becky seemed like more of a prop than anything—the token good-natured girlfriend that might provide fodder for Human Dating Muppet Bear jokes. Well, she’s now one of my favorite parts of the show and no longer a prop. Becky not only stands up for herself in a massively awesome and smart way, she also gives us a beautifully old school Muppets moment that made my heart sing. Becky gets the rest of the Muppets to crowd around her while she tells them all of Fozzie’s embarrassing personal quirks. The best part, however, is when she talks about how emotional Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” makes him. When he denies it, she starts singing the song. And the Muppets join in. For fifteen glorious seconds, we get Muppets singing together for the first time since the show premiered. It almost brought a tear to my eye. Best part of the episode, hands down. May we have more of this, show? Please?

Fozzie and Becky come to the agreement that they won’t air their personal quirks out in public anymore, and the next time Fozzie has a stand-up show, he reverts back to his awful jokes and the audience despises him. Pepe the King Prawn of Love pointedly directs his comment at Becky: “Oh come on. Ees romantic ees what eet ees. He’s bombing for the love of the womans.” That makes Becky rethink things, and she decides to suck up her hurt feelings, shouting for Fozzie to talk about his girlfriend. He does and starts getting laughs again. Becky, you’re sweet and also kind of cool.

Meanwhile, Rizzo and Scooter have an unfortunate automobile accident outside of the studio in which Scooter’s new car is damaged. In typical Rizzo fashion, the rat utilizes his large family full of creeps and criminals to try to solve the situation without getting insurance companies involved. This leads to Scooter losing even more money when he tries to go to different members of Rizzo’s family. They do everything from hornswoggling money out of him to flat out stealing it. First of all, Scooter, never trust a rat. Secondly, just stick with the insurance companies. They’re a bunch of rats, too, but at least they don’t pretend to be your friends. Sheesh.

The show is still a bit shaky when it comes to plotting. Some of the side plots are not actually resolved, which personally drives me crazy. I want to know if Scooter reports Rizzo’s entire family to the police. He should. And while Piggy has always been an egotistical swine, and at her worst downright awful, this show is taking it to a new level. Like when she jokes on air about building houses and then knocking them down to put a hotel there instead. How gross. At least before she had some redeeming qualities, something to bring her back to the audience. Many times it had to do with how sincerely she cared about Kermit. With them broken up now, what’s left, really? A two-dimensional, self-absorbed, angry pig.

As always, though, I have a few Muppety notes!

A Few Muppety Notes:

  • Rizzo needs to get the seatbelt in his jeep fixed or something, because it looked pretty loose and that little rat is going to end up as road kill if he ever gets into a real accident. (Granted, I love it whenever they throw a Muppet across the screen. It’s hilarious. If that ends up happening, I might be fine with it.)
  • Uncle Deadly is serious about his fancy coffee drinks. He asks the barista to drizzle his drink “with one leisurely pump of caramel.” And when he finds the barista is doing it wrong, he bellows, “Slow your pump, young man. Sloooow.” If any of you have ever worked at a café, Uncle Deadly is that
  • Kermit: “Piggy will stop at nothing to even the score. I mean, I broke up with her and I know my day’s coming. That’s why I say a little prayer every time I start my car.”
  • Scooter’s hair looks like Cheetos.
  • Okay, how meta was it when Piggy grabbed Kermit, faced him towards the camera, and made him into her very own puppet? IT WAS SO META. That’s how meta.
  • Pepe: “Sí, his jokes are so cheesy.”
    Becky: “Oh, says the shrimp in the turtleneck and gold chain. You look like you’re in a Boyz II Men video.”
    Pepe: “Heyyy…joo dress for the job joo want to have, okaay?”
  • Piggy calls Reese Witherspoon “Sweet Home Alabama.” Hehe.
  • Reese Witherspoon did all of her own walking in Wild, you guys. Commendable.
  • Pepe and Rizzo’s exchange after Rizzo calls Fozzie “dead bear walking” was one of the best bits in the episode. Pepe gasps and says, “I love Sean Penn!” As in the actor who starred in Dead Man Walking. However, Pepe’s accent makes it sound like he says he loves champagne. No matter how many times Pepe tries to say “Sean Penn”, Rizzo hears “champagne”. It continues for a while, and it’s glorious.
  • Piggy yells “HIYA!” in this episode and I’ve missed it so much! Probably because it’s usually coupled with a Muppet getting thrown across the screen.
  • Fozzie: “Shaking off isn’t a quirk! I’m a bear! You shake off, too, right?”
    Bobo: “Uh, I have an associate’s degree. I use a towel.”
  • Apparently Sam the Eagle is in charge of the button that bleeps out curses, which makes me think he’s also the person who makes sure wardrobe malfunctions get caught before they’re aired. They should have hired him for that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake Superbowl halftime show, am I right?

Catch the next episode of The Muppets on ABC on Tuesday, November 3 at 8 pm, and let us know in the comments what you think about the show so far! ‘Til next time…wocka wocka!

Rating: 3/5

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