Muppets Episode 2

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The Muppets continues to chug along, showing the more mature side of our childhood friends.  Yeah, there’s always been that undercurrent, but now the undercurrent is the overcurrent.

How’d they do this week?  SPOILERS for the episode.

Highlights:

  • Hey, look, it’s the Swedish Chef!
  • Floyd thinks birthdays are a corporate scam.  Pepe the King Prawn was right to look skeptical.
  • The Electric Mayhem went acoustic.
  • Josh Grobin is a good sport.
  • Hey, look, it’s the Muppet Newsman!
  • Unexpected guest star:  Reza Aslan!?
  • Laurence Fishburne steals a scene from Kermit…twice!

Lowlights:

  • Kermit’s kinda being a jerk here.
  • The Electric Mayhem may have had a subtext of certain…habits, but did it have to be text?
  • Gonzo is being underutilized.  There was a nifty subplot going about his mother being trapped in a South American rainforest, but aside from a line here and there, Gonzo hasn’t done much.  Dave Goelz is the only one of the original Muppeteers still working with the characters, so it’d be nice if his best-known character got to do more than the occasional side comment.

The Meta:

  • Fozzie’s trip to Jay Leno’s house was fun and funny, but Leno being Fozzie’s hero…Leno isn’t exactly known as a cutting edge comic by a longshot, so how much of this was commentary on Fozzie’s own joke-telling abilities?  And how was it Leno simply agreeing to be on the show?

The show’s improving.  I don’t mind the more mature Muppets, especially since there always was a hint of more adult stuff going on on a regular basis in the past.  So far, I’m giving the series eight out of ten Swedish Chef syllables.

Jimmy:

I do want it to be just a bit funnier, but it is definitely working for me to fill that hole in my soul that has been there since 30 Rock went off the air and that I haven’t filled up with issues of Runaways.  And it makes sense that it would as it is pretty much 30 Rock with Muppets.  Kermit and Piggy are Liz and Jenna.  Scotter is Hornburger.  Fozzie is Tracy.  The band fill up the space of the rest of the writers like Frank and Toofer.  Gonzo is Kenneth.  The Grizzly Bear is, uh, Grizz.  There’s the other nondescript humans in the writing room.  There’s no Alec Baldwin character, but you get the idea.

This episode did a great job of incorporating guest star Josh Grobin into more than just a throw away role then say Imagine Dragons last week.  Kermit’s handling of Piggy by bringing in Grobin which leads to other problems and then his handling of those issues by appealing to Piggy’s “most important person at all times” attitude was pure Liz/Jenna.

The show still seems to be finding it’s way about what level of “adult content” it is comfortable with.  (Or should that be that the audience is comfortable with?)  Are we ready for Muppets joking about sexuality, naughty nights with celebrities, “girth”, the #kermit30 and drugs?

Leno’s appearance seemed wasted and like he needed work and they had to come up with something for Fozzie to do.  On the flip side, Laurence Fishburne’s cameo was hilarious.

Score: 8 out of 10 Statler’s with feelings

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