“Walk the Swine” started out pretty slow. I was entertained, but it definitely wasn’t shaping up to be the best episode ever. And then it started to ramp up. And then it ramped up some more. By the end I was all in and, even though this was not my favorite episode as a whole, it did contain one of the best moments of the series so far.
We open on Kermit on his way to work. He tells us Reese Witherspoon is the guest on tonight’s show, but he’s a bit nervous about it. We find out why when he gets to work. Miss Piggy ordered a coffee van to park in Reese’s spot and may have sent a poisoned basket of muffins to her dressing room. Uncle Deadly informs Kermit that Miss Piggy still holds on to her biggest grudge ever. Reese Witherspoon beat out Miss Piggy for the lead actress role in the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, and then won an Oscar. Piggy was furious and did not forget about this imagined slight against her.
During the taping that night, Miss Piggy brings up Reese’s Oscar and acts rather hostile. Reese, having been forewarned by Kermit, tries to turn the conversation by talking about her charity work instead. She tells Piggy she builds houses with Habitat for Humanity, to which Piggy responds that she also builds houses. In fact, they may even be building the same house, together, the next day! Kermit watches behind the scenes, terrified. He says Piggy will stop at nothing to even the score.
Meanwhile, Rizzo crashed his car into Scooter’s and refuses to take responsibility. Instead of agreeing to let insurance take care of it, he insists Scooter take his car to his cousin Frankie’s body shop and he’ll fix it up like new.
After the show, Gonzo, Rizzo, and Pepé head down to the Joke Warehouse to watch Fozzie’s stand-up act with Becky, Fozzie’s girlfriend. Fozzie bombs pretty badly, but he manages to save himself by using a few great new one-liners. The only problem is that these great new one-liners are all at Becky’s expense and she is not very pleased with them.
The next day, Miss Piggy shows up at the Habitat for Humanity build, but is confused by the lack of press and camera crew. After a brief bit of hostility with Reese she sneaks off and calls Extra, disguising her voice as that of a construction worker with a tip on where to find Miss Piggy for an exclusive photo op at the build site. Reese discovers her and this lead to a heated argument. Miss Piggy says she can out-build Reese any day of the week. They both vow that the other is going down.
Back at the office Pepé and Rizzo try to tell Fozzie that Becky was steamed after watching his act, but he brushes it off. He thinks she knew what she was getting into by dating a famous comic and she’ll just need to learn to get used to having her private shame exploited for cheap laughs.
A little later Scooter flags Rizzo down and tells him he just got a $500 ticket thanks to his cousin’s loaner car. Apparently it had bad plates and numerous secret compartments he couldn’t explain. Rizzo has just the solution: his Uncle Tommy, the lawyer. If Scooter calls him, he’ll make the whole thing go away.
In the other room, Fozzie walks in to find Becky telling all his friends some embarrassing things about his personal life. She tells him that, since he aired a bunch of embarrassing things about her on stage last night, it is only fair she tell his friends a bunch of his quirks as well. She then goes on to lead all his friends in an emotional rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” a song that never fails to bring Fozzie to tears. This breaks him and he agrees to keep their personal lives personal.
Things at the build site heat up. Miss Piggy is a lot stronger and more resilient than Reese anticipated, and it’s obvious Reese will be out of the game long before Piggy. Reese admits defeat, but Miss Piggy decides to rub it in her face. This leads to a physical altercation that cumulates with the two of them hitting a wall inside the frame of the house. The Extra crew Piggy called arrive just in time to see the frame fall and catch the entire thing on video.
Back at the office Scooter confronts Rizzo again. He called Rizzo’s Uncle Tommy, who told him to wire him $1,000 and then meet him at his address. But, when Scooter went to the address, he wasn’t there. Rizzo knows just what to do. His nephew Angelo is a private investigator. Scooter has had enough. He wants to call the insurance company like he wanted to do in the first place. Then, Rizzo distracts him with a promising timeshare offer and they leave to discuss it.
Miss Piggy arrives back at the office and Kermit is furious. The video Extra filmed at the construction site turned into a PR nightmare; It went majorly viral. When they get back to her dressing room, Miss Piggy collapses on her couch and starts sobbing. She is genuinely, sincerely embarrassed. She decides to swallow her pride and apologize. And not just to Reese. She wants to get her back on the show so she can apologize publicly.
That night Fozzie goes back to the Joke Warehouse, but – without the jokes about Becky – he bombs terribly again. Becky watches him sadly for a while and then finally calls out, “Fozzie! Tell us about your girlfriend!” Fozzie lights up and asks her if she’s sure. She nods, and Fozzie launches into his Becky routine. Once again, it’s an instant hit.
The next night, Reese is back on Up Late. Miss Piggy thanks her for coming, and tells her that what happened at the construction site was not their finest moment. Reese agrees and tells Piggy that she is sorry, from the bottom of her heart. Miss Piggy accepts her apology, and says she too has something to say. “I lost my temper, it was the wrong thing to do,” she says. “But now there’s something that I have to say – to you… Hit it Teeth!” The Electric Mayhem begins to play a jazzy tune and Miss Piggy jumps up on her desk and starts singing a song to tell Reese she’s sorry.
Four dancers come in and carry her around the stage as she sings. Suddenly Doctor Teeth starts scratching a record and yells, “Give it up for Miss Piggy!” Miss Piggy grabs a gold microphone and begins rapping! Her song is filled with apologies and complements, but the complements are still more about Piggy than Reese. Reese watches the spectacle with an open mouth, but it doesn’t matter; the crowd goes insane. They absolutely love it. As she finishes her song, Piggy yells, “That’s how you apologize Reese Witherspoon! I win! I win, I win, I win!” and she drops the mike.
As the credits roll, Becky admits to the camera that she needs to learn to laugh at herself, especially if her boyfriend is a comic. Fozzie follows up with, “She knows how much she means to me,” and they smile lovingly at each other. Then he makes a crack about the size of her feet and she tells him she’s done. She walks out, leaving him alone to tell the camera more about her feet.
Like I said at the beginning, “Walk the Swine” didn’t get me right away. At the beginning, the feud with Reese Witherspoon felt like a bit of a rehash of her feud with Elizabeth Banks, not to mention the tiff with Christina Applegate, so I wasn’t too invested in another fight right away.
I also wasn’t too keen on the B plot of Fozzie embarrassing Becky. It really seemed like an out of character thing for him to do. Fozzie is always the sweet guy with the cheesy jokes that are so bad that you can’t help but root for him. He isn’t really the guy to go and make fun of someone, even if it will bring him laughs. At first I felt like the writers were leading up to a break-up plot, which I really didn’t want because I love Riki Lindhome. Thankfully they worked everything out, but I still didn’t care for the basic premise. That’s just not who Fozzie is. At least it never used to be. I understand the characters in this show are a bit different than they were in the past, so – if they have to keep changing – I suppose I’ll just have to accept it.
The C plot with Scooter and Rizzo was a bit of a yawner as well. I did like that they paired up Rizzo and Scooter (as they are two characters who don’t really have that much interaction), but the plot was stale and predictable. Not to mention that it didn’t really even have a conclusion. It just sort of trailed off, much like the plot with Nick Offerman a couple episodes back. I understand it’s hard to cram a whole lot into just a half hour, and so far they are doing an amazing job of cramming in as much as possible, but I don’t like it when a story just trails off and doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion.
However, aside from the B and C plots, the rest of the episode got exponentially better as time went on. The feud with Reese Witherspoon really kicked into high gear and totally set itself apart from her fights with Elizabeth Banks and Christina Applegate. Every scene with them was so funny. Miss Piggy at the construction site was awesome and I loved her gruff, “manly” construction worker voice.
And then, as if to outdo themselves, we got a crying scene! Real emotion! For the first time since episode one! Miss Piggy literally breaks down crying! I have said all along Miss Piggy is becoming far too much of a diva, and it would seem the writers are listening! This scene helped to humanize Miss Piggy and really made you feel for her. Sure it didn’t last very long, but it was a wonderful first step.
And then the ending. Can we just talk about that ending for a second? I was totally and completely blown away! At first I was Kermit. I was totally on the edge of my seat, praying Miss Piggy wouldn’t go and blow this thing. Praying she was truly as sorry as she seemed to be when she was talking to Kermit. Praying that she was really going to truly apologize and not just rub it in Reese’s face. When she started singing I breathed a tentative sigh of relief. I think she was truly sorry. She probably just didn’t know how to humble herself and say it, so she had to sing it instead. Then Doctor Teeth came in on the record and my jaw dropped. I did not see that amazing rap number coming and I was blown away. I probably had the same look on my face that Reese did, except I started laughing uproariously. It was too hilariously awesome. I started out as Kermit, but by the end I was Scooter. I was all in. It was amazing.
That’s not all that was great about this episode. There were also a couple technical Muppet moments in this episode that made me do a double take. I still wonder, how on earth did they do that? The first was the scene near the beginning with Scooter, either hyperventilating into a paper bag or sniffing a bag of meatloaf to calm down. Either way, how did they do that with the bag? It was moving with every breath! I love little things like these. The puppeteers are geniuses.
The next one is the one I’m sure everyone who watched was astounded by: Miss Piggy’s dance number at the end. She is carried by four men, in a full body shot, and it’s obvious that none of them are puppeteering her. How on earth did they achieve that shot!? Was someone in a green morph suit that was digitally painted out? That seems far too time consuming and complicated. The only other option is that Miss Piggy could have been an animatronic, but – if that’s the case – then it was the absolute best animatronic, full-bodied Muppet I have ever seen. I remember seeing the full-bodied Miss Piggy animatronic when I was a kid in The Great Muppet Caper. (Still one of my favorite Muppet movies, by the way.) I remember thinking, “That’s not Miss Piggy, that’s a robot.” I was a little kidand I picked that up. (Same with the stunt double for the motorcycle scenes; they couldn’t fool me!) This was something else entirely, something so much better. I don’t know how they pulled off that scene, but it was fantastic.
Last, but not least, I just a have to give a shout-out to Uncle Deadly. I may have said this before, but he is quickly becoming one of my new favorite characters. He had some of the best non-Piggy scenes in this episode and he didn’t have nearly the screentime that the others had! I just love his smooth, understated creepiness. I want a whole episode following just him! Even just a B or C plot would be good!
Kermit: “Hey Piggy, uh-”
Uncle Deadly: “She’s just getting out of her spanx.” (Whispers) “Extra tight for Reese.”
Miss Piggy: “Yah! Ugh. Here ya go.”
Uncle Deadly (to the spanx): “Oh, you’ve worked very hard tonight, Brava!”
Miss Piggy: “Oh hello, Reese! I was just finishing the little pool house!”
Reese Witherspoon: “You’re banging on a port-a-potty with a pink, bedazzled hammer.”
Piggy: “It’s a pool house, and I was bringing it up to code!”
Miss Piggy: Look, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’! I know what it’s like to work with my hands! I grew up on a farm! I built cows and milked fences!”
Reese: “I think you mean-”
Piggy: “No, that’s what I did!”
Becky: “So when Fozzie gets out of the shower, he goes outside, shakes off like a dog, and makes a sound like a ghost having a stroke.
Fozzie: “Shaking off isn’t a quirk! I’m a bear!” (to Bobo) “You shake off too, right?”
Bobo: “Uh, I have an associates degree. I use a towel.”
Miss Piggy: “I’m so embarrassed! How could something like getting revenge on a person take such a dark turn?”
Kermit: “Okay, look. Don’t worry. I’ll put out a press release to explain your behavior. Are you more comfortable with sun poisoning or demonic possession?”
Miss Piggy: “I have a couple of words I’d like to say to you.”
Kermit (quietly, offstage): “Please let those two words be, ‘I’m sorry.’”
Sam (holding a big red button): “I’m ready to bleep if they’re not.”
While this episode was probably one of the season’s weakest as a whole, with B and C plots that weren’t that great, in the end I really did enjoy it. Miss Piggy was great and her storyline, as well as the massive, hilarious musical number, totally made up for everything else.
What did you think of this episode of The Muppets? What did you think of the musical number?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes