This The Muppets review contains spoilers.
The Muppets Season 1 Episode 4: Pig Out
This week’s episode of The Muppets is definitely the best one yet. It still has some of the problems that have plagued the earlier episodes, but it finds a way to work despite it all.
The main storyline of the week is that Piggy, who is usually too high and mighty to socialize or even remember the names of her fellow Muppet coworkers (sans Kermit), feels a little left out when she discovers that everyone else goes drinking without her after the show. She tricks Kermit into making them ask her to come with for the sake of her turning it down and everyone moving on, but then actually takes them up on the offer, much to the chagrin of everyone else.
Meanwhile, Fozzie has the B-plot where he accidentally shoots eternal critic Statler with a t-shirt cannon and sends him to the hospital. On one hand, this is the biggest problem with the episode. For the fourth time, Fozzie’s separated from the rest of the cast to do his own thing and it doesn’t really work. Even if it did, the subplot is incredibly half-baked and ends just as soon as it begins. Outside of the end credits scene, the entire Fozzie/Statler thing is over around the halfway point of the episode to very little fanfare.
And you know what? That works out.
Last week, the big issue was that there was way too much going on at once and the episode suffered from not having any real focus. This week, things are a bit more streamlined. It’s all about the plot about Piggy at the bar. The Fozzie stuff is incredibly minor and the only other thing going on is Sam the Eagle’s unrequited crush on Janice and that’s PART of the Piggy plot. Plus it’s more of a running gag than anything else.
It even helps that Ed Helms is the only celebrity to guest star in this one. He helps push everything in a really entertaining direction where the non-Kermit Muppets actually take to Piggy’s partying habits and have way too much fun. It’s really refreshing considering the show’s controversial direction. The episode begins with Fozzie having a breakdown about how death is a certainty to all, but then we get scenes of the Muppets actually having energy and being FUN! You know, like how the Muppets are supposed to be.
Beaker and Honeydew high-five over their plans to get hammered. Swedish Chef sings “Rapper’s Delight” on karaoke. Scooter is happily aghast that he’s cursing up a storm (or at least what he considers cursing). Everyone’s getting way into the song “Don’t Stop Believing.” It’s the enthusiasm the show’s been missing since it began.
Then, of course, Kermit has to find a way to bring back the status quo. It’s kind of odd that the moral of the episode is that the Muppets need to stop having so much fun, but here I can accept it. It might make “Pig Out” an outlier, but it’s at least proof that the mockumentary format can work.
Lot of funny bits too. Swedish Chef was on point, Sam was delightfully creepy, Beaker and Honeydew got their moments to shine, and despite being the weakest part, Statler and Waldorf are still Statler and Waldorf.
It looks like they’re starting to work out the kinks. Let’s hope next week can keep up the momentum.
Gavin Jasper would like to remind you that Swedish Chef sang “Rapper’s Delight.” If nothing else, this redeems the show. Follow Gavin on Twitter!