The Muppets continues to chug along, and last night we finally saw the return of Kermit’s new girlfriend, Denise the pig.
That may actually be one of the more troubling parts of this new series.
OK, for old time fans like me, the (and I use this word loosely) courtship of Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog on the old Muppet Show was always, for me at least, incredibly one-sided. Kermit was always trying to put the show on. Miss Piggy would then flirt with him in a manner that often left Kermit looking at least vaguely uncomfortable. Every so often, Piggy would get mad and karate chop Kermit.
Here, this is Piggy’s first appearance if you really want to know what of which I speak:
So, anyway, as I said in previous installments, I do appreciate the idea that the Muppets are usually just actors in whatever they are appearing in, and this show is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the “real” Muppets.
But how invested were we supposed to be in the Kermit/Piggy relationship?
As I said, it’s typically been very one-sided. Dates Kermit had with Piggy were often Piggy’s idea where Kermit was too nice or timid to say no. Even when they got “married” in Muppets Take Manhattan, there was at least some deception involved with Piggy bringing in a preacher without telling Kermit. Yeah, Kermit says, “I do!” but he was acting in a Broadway show while acting in a movie. He should probably be able to get an exemption, even if the two were considered officially married during that period. But even that’s questionable, since Kermit in a Jim Henson anniversary special seemed to be not quite sure if they were married despite Piggy saying so.
That’s always been the relationship in a nutshell…Piggy insists, and Kermit just goes along with it. The movie reboot did a good job of suggesting Kermit does need Piggy for himself, but he never really comes out and says so. It’s all implied. For Kermit, what he needed was Piggy on the show first and foremost. His personal feelings were never as up-front and necessary as his need to entertain others and keep the Muppets together.
So, that brings us to this show. Kermit and Piggy had a very ugly break-up in the pilot episode, one that was real enough if the actors weren’t made of felt. But aside from a brief appearance here and there, we haven’t seen much of Denise, Kermit’s new girlfriend. Heck, we still haven’t seen much of her. She’s a pig with a Southern accent who kinda vaguely looks like Natalie Dormer.
See, I want to congratulate Kermit for his actions. Piggy’s a demanding, often violent, prima dona. Kermit was always getting the short end of the stick. But it’s really hard to get into Kermit’s love life when the new girlfriend is basically an enigma. What makes her so cool? I have no idea, unless Southern accents on pigs are all you really need.
The series will need to work on this character if the creators want to make this ongoing subplot into something the audience will invest in.
That said, this episode did feature a nice subplot involving the band almost breaking up. I’m digging how this show portrays the Electric Mayhem. Likewise, Scooter in the ceramic paint shop was a bit of comedy gold. Kermit really should have kept that plate he painted. It was sweet and probably the best he could do.
Let’s say seven out of ten revenge gifts. Even if the Denise plot isn’t working, there was enough good stuff going on to keep me entertained.