This The Muppets review contains spoilers.
The Muppets Season 1 Episode 2
Last week’s pilot episode of The Muppets got a middling review and a lot worse elsewhere due to the feel that it was rather dire and bleak for a show about all-ages puppets who stand the test of time. Well, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that this week’s episode is certainly a better watch and has a more upbeat feel to it. The bad news is that Jay Leno is in it.
I thought I was done with that guy. Crap.
“Hostile Makeover” has a lot going on. The A-plot is that Piggy’s become a complete psycho due to not having a date for the People’s Choice Awards and upon being set up with Josh Groban, she becomes downright delightful. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost because Groban’s growing influence makes her talk show a boring mess. Kermit wants to fix the show, but everyone else is chill over Piggy’s change in attitude and likes how things are going.
The B-plot has Fozzie become buddies with Jay Leno and get invited to his house for a party, which leads to him stealing a candy tray for the sake of having a memento. This act comes with lots of paranoia. Then there’s a C-plot about Bobo trying to sell girl scout cookies, only to get shown up by Newsman doing the same. Then there’s a D-plot…well, more of a running gag, really…involving Gonzo’s odd relationship with his mother.
The episode is definitely funnier than last week’s, though I suppose it lacks energy. That’ll happen when the plot is that everyone is more relaxed and everything’s supposed to be boring and lame. Plus last week had that Scooter tour guide scene going for it, which was a nice shot in the arm. The story with Kermit, Piggy, and Groban was mostly pretty great, mainly because Kermit got to be his usual sad sack, responsible, straight man self rather than being just a vindictive ex-boyfriend. The fact that it had an actual, enjoyable ending and found time to work in Kermit’s trademark cheer helped.
The Fozzie stuff fell flat, even without Leno in the equation. Fozzie is a supporting character and doesn’t really work that well on his own from what I’ve seen. Fozzie being put in awkward situations just doesn’t do it for me. The show will likely improve when he’s back to playing off Kermit and the others.
Which reminds me, we didn’t get much Statler and Waldorf this week. That’s unfortunate.
Bobo and Newsman’s interactions were a good time and Bobo is always a welcome sight, though the ending of this plot kind of turned me off. They reused a great, subtle joke from the proof-of-concept about the band being potheads. Only it’s played way more blatant here to the point that it’s spelled out for the sake of bringing closure to the story and that makes it less funny.
Not that there’s anything wrong with saying that Dr. Teeth and the rest like getting high. It’s not like they’re the first people to get totally stoned during a Muppet show.
Look at her. You can’t tell me she had any idea where she was.
The true highlight of this episode is a quick cameo by Laurence Fishburne. He’s only there for about ten seconds total, but he absolutely makes an impact in that minimal screentime. God bless him.
We’re left with a definite improvement over the pilot. The jokes hit harder and the pacing is improved. Fozzie is still the anchor holding the show down, which pains me to say because I love that guy, but his segments tend to be the weakest point two weeks in a row. Still, the show’s starting to come closer to meeting its potential and it’s not a lost cause yet.