I complained a bit last week that Gonzo has, thus far, had very little to do so far. He’s one of the classic Muppet characters, he’s performed by the only one of the original Muppeteers still working with the characters, and he’s in the freakin’ promos. Thus far, he’s been little better than a side character making comments on the action.
He got a whole subplot this week. SPOILERS for last night’s episode after the cut.
Last night, there were basically three plots.
The main plot dealt with Kermit and Fozzie’s friendship. Kermit didn’t want one of Fozzie’s terrible comedy sketches on the show, and to put him off suggested he should write a movie instead. Fozzie took this as an excuse to leave the show.
A secondary plot had Miss Piggy being offended when guest star Christina Applegate brought video of Piggy falling into a birthday cake. Piggy wanted revenge for her humiliation on the air.
And then there was Gonzo’s dating problems.
Let’s tackle these in reverse order. Gonzo is a particularly interesting character. Known mostly as a weirdo, with that exact term, Gonzo’s been front and center in a lot of the post-Jim Henson Muppet’s projects, standing in for Charles Dickens in Muppet Christmas Carol and even getting an origin in Muppets from Space. If you go back to his earliest appearances, when he would wear the purple tuxedo, flirt with chickens (and sometimes Miss Piggy), prove incapable of blowing a trumpet, or doing weird stuff on the show, it was hard to tell what his deal was. He was mostly known for unbridled enthusiasm for whatever he was doing. You have to go back to the earliest version of The Muppet Show to find out what his deal really was.
Gonzo was a performance artist.
That little bit of information, often forgotten, is probably the best way to understand why he’s so weird.
I actually don’t mind Gonzo on this show. I just wish they utilized him more often. Even with his subplot, it did seem the show was more interested in Kermit and Fozzie, with Piggy’s subplot being a bit behind Gonzo’s own story. Yes, Gonzo as an insecure guy who would put up Liam Hemsworth’s photo, and then somehow convince Hemsworth to meet the woman he’s been chatting with in his stead where it obviously would go wrong, but it gives Gonzo a sad aura of sorts. If this show is supposed to be what the Muppets are really like, Gonzo being just a somewhat lonely cynic when not doing his performance art makes a lot of sense. He’s not “on” so we’re seeing a guy trying to do his job. It works.
Piggy’s subplot? Eh, barely worth a mention. Since I just mentioned it, that’s enough.
The meat of the episode was Kermit and Fozzie. There were some good jokes here. I especially liked Kermit dropping a mention of what happened when he once licked a cousin (and he talked about moving to Mississippi…), but Fozzie is way too forgiving when Kermit comes clean too late. I was also greatly amused by Nick Offerman demanding stuff to take Fozzie’s place on the show.
I don’t think the show is quite there yet, but it’s getting closer. Let’s say seven out of 10 IT guys for this week.
The Muppets seems to be quickly finding it’s groove. I won’t make any mentions this week about it being like 30 Rock…ah…dammit. The jokes seem to be coming more naturally and the various plot strands are flowing in and out of each other with more ease. The guest stars (Christina Applegate, Liam Hemsworth and Nick Offerman) were used quite effectively and hilariously. They seem to still be struggling to find something for Fozzie to do each week, but the heart of the story to show the brotherly relationship between him and Kermit hit all the right notes.
My one complaint was that the character of Chip the IT guy was quite annoying and seemed to be horribly desesigned and puppeted. (Muppeted?) Though he will likely be a recurring character, this could easily have been a role given to a guest star. Maybe a rotating star each appearance as the IT guy or something. But I guess that goes against what they have done so far in that guests so far have all appeared as themselves.
As owner of several dogs, Rowlf with the self-imposed cone on (and then taking it off to bite his stiches) was hilarious.
Score: 8 out of 10 gorgeous since birth Hemsworth brothers