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THE MUPPETS Episode 2: ‘Hostile Makeover’

Spoilers and such. You clicked on an article about the second episode of a new series so there’s gonna be some stuff about the episode. Namely, things like this:

We were given another 30 minutes into the lives of The Muppets in the second episode of the brand new series and it again, refreshingly, felt like we were dropped into a show that already feels established. One of the better aspects of already knowing most of the characters from decades of movies and shows is that the ABC series doesn’t have to waste time with exposition. The Muppets are our pals and we know their ins and outs to a molecular level so the setup to the sitcom humor is already in the back of our minds waiting for a new scenario.

The A plot of “Hostile Makeover” involves Piggy’s new relationship with singer Josh Groban and the effect it has on her show. This is set up primarily by the coding system Kermit and the crew of Piggy’s show have instituted over the years for gauging what kind of mood Piggy is in and what that means for their day to day. In a normal new series, we’d probably have to spend more time on the setup of each character’s demeanor but even with the slightest bit of knowledge about Miss Piggy, we as the audience are quickly able to anticipate what this means for the Muppet gang. We witness the wrath of a “Code Red” as Piggy rampages through the office when she can’t find a date to an awards show to the eventual and quite rare “Code Green” after she and Groban get together. The “Code Green” version of Piggy is loved by the rest of the office, and most admit their “pre-show cry” is no longer needed. It’s equally funny and heartbreaking to think that after so many years, Piggy can still be that difficult to work with.

The B plot focuses again on Fozzie (something that I’d be completely fine with forever) and his friendship with the one and only Jay Leno. Despite being sincerely being friends, this doesn’t stop Fozzie from making some poor decisions by trying to take mementos of his and Jay’s interactions.

This episode made good on my hope that musical guests wouldn’t feel so shoe-horned (like episode 1’s addition of Imagine Dragons) as Groban played a pivotal role in the plot, slowly influencing changes in Piggy’s show. Under his advisement, Piggy requests to interview more intellectual guests like author Reza Aslan and even had Electric Mayhem go acoustic. These changes don’t turn out so well, which leads to Kermit confronting Groban… with some lackluster results:

In regard to the show’s single camera, confessional style format à la The Office and Modern Family, it still manages to feel fresh and not overused. The creators of this new series are really using it as the tool it is and aren’t force feeding us punchlines just for the sake of using it. They are also keen to shift focus to supporting character arcs which allows one-off jokes away from the main plots. Bobo the Bear and The Newsman (his actual name) have a girl scout cookie subplot that is all too familiar to anyone who’s ever worked with parents. It also culminates in one of the better subtle tongue in cheek jokes of the episode where they basically admit Electric Mayhem has always been stoned. Scooter helps Bobo out by suggesting he sell to the band since they are “legally” happy all the time. Since the show takes place in California, the implication is crystal clear.

Other than that, the quasi-adult humor was pretty limited this episode, other than The Swedish Chef — who I wholeheartedly believe will be the Creed Bratton of this office. He gets a good zinger in when Piggy humble-brags about being with the Groban, saying, “Pig en der Gropin’ der Groban”

I’m sure my bias toward loving everything Muppets will at some point cloud my judgement but overall, I think “Hostile Makeover” was a solid second episode.

Muppet musings:

  • For real, I NEED Swedish Chef to be as weird as Creed Bratton.
  • Way to go Pepe for taking a stand by admitting his attraction to Josh Groban and stating “gender is fluid.”
  • Gonzo’s frog-block (see what I did there?) of Kermit and Lea Thomspon is completely inexcusable. It’s his density.
  • Statler is a complete Grobe-head (that’s what his fans are called, right?) — who knew?
  • Acoustic Electric Mayhem reminded me of the Minstrels from Fraggle Rock. Seemed like a shout out to old school Henson.
  • Speaking of old school Henson, Swedish Chef might have a real problem with possibly cooking his friends and co-workers. After all, he mentioned smelling bacon during Piggy’s hot stone massage.

Image: ABC


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