Going, Going, Gonzo is yet another step towards perfection as The Muppets just keeps getting better and better! The last few episodes of the season have been some of the best ever!
We open with Kermit informing Miss Piggy that she cannot keep a bottle of her new beverage, Piggy Water, on her desk during the show, as it’s an unpaid advertisement. Miss Piggy of course does not like this at all. She’s trying to get this product off the ground as her last business endeavor failed. She has no idea why no one bought her line of shower gel, Hog Wash.
That night on the show, Piggy’s guest is Joseph Gordon Levitt. As the two of them sing a duet of “Fly Me To the Moon”, Sweetums is backstage and supposed to be lowering a giant moon prop as a set piece during the song. When the moon doesn’t lower and Kermit can’t get Sweetums on his headset, he sends Gonzo backstage to figure out what is going on.
When Gonzo finds Sweetums, he tells him that he missed his cue. Sweetums explains that he sneezed and his headset broke, and he then proceeds to sneeze again, letting go of the rope. The rope somehow tangles itself around Gonzo’s leg, hoisting him up into the rafters, sending the moon careening down over the stage, swinging perilously close to Piggy and Joseph, who duck out of the way, and keep on singing despite the danger.
Everyone backstage is in a panic as Gonzo swings back and forth, desperately trying to untangle his leg. When he finally gets free, in mid-swing, he is launched across the ceiling onto a stage light, which is extremely hot. As Gonzo sizzles and screams, he lets go, plummeting to the floor and crashing into the craft services table, causing an explosion of food. Everyone rushes over to him as he lies almost motionless in a mound of popcorn and pretzels. “Gonzo! Gonzo are you alive?!” Scooter screams as Gonzo slowly looks up. “That… Was… Awesome!!!” he gleefully exclaims.
After the show, Miss Piggy storms backstage and angrily informs Gonzo that he is on “Her list.” As Sweetums sneezes again, she spins around and tells him that the same goes for him. Sweetums drops to his knees and raises his head and arms, dramatically screaming, “NOOOOOO!!!!!!!”
Elsewhere, Scooter tells Rizzo and Pepé what happened and that it could have been him. He could have died! This whole thing has really made him question his life and ask what his purpose is. Rizzo and Pepé are very unsympathetic and tell him that he shouldn’t tell stories. All they care about is the poker game, which they always invite him to because he’s easy to beat. Scooter tells them that he’s out. He has more important things to think about after his brush with death. Rizzo and Pepé look at each other. Now who are they going to swindle?
Joseph Gordon Levitt, it would seem. After Scooter bows out, they ask him to fill in, and he agrees because he’s always wanted to learn how to play. Rizzo and Pepé are sure that this will be a piece of cake.
During the game, Joseph asks Gonzo how he’s doing, which is understandable. For anyone else, such a calamity could have been fatal. Gonzo reassures him that he’s fine, and Kermit explains that Gonzo used to be a daredevil. He could perform all sorts of death-defying stunts.
Gonzo suddenly looks a little sad and explains he used to love danger until he lost his nerve. He was all set to be shot out of a canon, but he suddenly couldn’t do it, and he hasn’t done anything since. Kermit tells him that he could try to set up a stunt for an episode of Up Late, but Gonzo tells him it’s useless. Miss Piggy is far too mad at him to let him go on her show.
As they talk, Rizzo suddenly interrupts them. He wants to end this game now and puts down his hand, expecting to take home everything, as Joseph had told them he didn’t know how to play. But if clichéd sitcoms throughout the decades have taught us anything, anyone who says they don’t know how to play a high stakes game of cards or gambling is probably lying and will probably take you for everything you’ve got. And he does. Rizzo and Pepé are simultaneously dumbfounded and furious as Joseph Gordon Levitt exclaims “Gimme that Muppet money!” and crams all their chips in his pockets and runs out the door.
The next day, taking their conversation to heart, Kermit goes to see Miss Piggy about Gonzo’s stunt. He really wants to help Gonzo get his confidence back, so he can once more be the crazy daredevil he used to be. When he gets to Piggy’s dressing room, he finds her in the middle of a rather frightening-looking electro-shock beauty treatment, and she is unwilling to budge. Unwilling that is, until he tells her that she could have Piggy Water sponsor the stunt and get a ton of free publicity. Just as it seems she’s about to agree, a rather aggressive jolt of electricity sends her into what Uncle Deadly calls a “Glamor coma,” and she is rendered unresponsive. Deadly tells him to just draw up the agreement, and he’ll put a pen in her lifeless hand. It looks like everything is going to work out.
Elsewhere, Scooter goes to see the Electric Mayhem and explains what he’s been feeling since his brush with death yesterday. He’s been playing it safe his whole life up till now, but no more! He wants to live like they do, on the edge! As it would seem that it’s far to late for him to leave home at 14 and live on the road, Janice suggests that he let her pierce his ear. Scooter thinks about it for a minute and realizes that the guys he knows with earrings look like they don’t give a hoot. He’ll do it!
Outside the offices, Uncle Deadly is trying desperately to zip Gonzo into his old suit, but it would seem it’s useless as he’s put on a few “LB’s” since the glory days. Just then, Kermit appears to tell him that he got Dave Grohl to play “Learn to Fly,” during the stunt, causing Gonzo to gasp, creating just enough room for Deadly to get the zipper up. And while that’s good news, there are a couple of caveats to Piggy’s agreement for letting him do the stunt. He’ll have to put on a new suit, one that’s branded with the Piggy Water logo, and he has to change his name from “The Great Gonzo,” to “The Great Gonzo, Brought to You by Piggy Water.” Gonzo doesn’t seem to care. It’s still the happiest he’s been in a long time.
Backstage Janice is preparing to pierce Scooter’s ear, but there are a few warning signs that he may not be ready for this. He hollers that this is the worst pain he’s ever felt in his life, but all she had done was put ice on his ear to numb it. When she approaches with the actual needle, he starts to panic and twists his head away from her. She asks him if he’s sure he wants to do this, and while he says yes, he also says he doesn’t have any control over his head. Dr. Teeth offers to hold his head in place for him, but as soon as he’s held, Scooter flips out. He yells and wrenches away from him, hollering “Hiyah!” at the band scaring them all away, except for Animal, who jumps on his back and is immediately launched across the room into a giant light fixture. As he bolts in terror from the room, Janice calls after him, “Peace, little dude!”
On the roof, Gonzo meets with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker who have been hard at work on the canon that will launch him from their roof onto the roof across the lot. Bunsen tells him that everything is going well, but his research suggests that unless the canon shoots him at exactly 83.7 mph, he will be splattered on the sidewalk like the watermelon they are using for their demonstration. It is definitely not pretty, and Gonzo is horrified.
Going back inside, he tells Sam that he needs to talk to him. He tells him that due to the extremely dangerous nature of this stunt, there is a 99% chance that this will end with a violent explosion of fur. Sam is thrilled, which is definitely not the response Gonzo was hoping for. Gonzo asks if the network is not opposed to such carnage, but Sam reassures him that everything is fine. All he asks is that when he hits the wall and explodes, he does not curse. As Gonzo anxiously walks away, Kermit is watching him with a concerned look on his face.
From there, Gonzo heads to Rowlf’s Tavern for a drink. As he tells Rowlf that he’s going to miss him, Kermit shows up and tells him that he should call off the stunt. Trying to save him from the humiliation of admitting his fear, he tells him that he doesn’t think he should want to have his name associated with Piggy Water. If it can even be called water—apparently the FDA is in the middle of an investigation. Gonzo tells him that he has been thinking about calling it off, but it’s definitely not because he’s scared; he just doesn’t want to be a sell out. Kermit tells him that’s just fine, but if it were because he was scared, that would be just fine. Gonzo assures him that it’s not. But if he were, Kermit repeats, it would be ok. Gonzo admits that he is a little bit, and Kermit tells him that he knows.
Back at the studio, Scooter goes back to see the band once more. He apologizes for the disturbance he caused, but Dr. Teeth tells him that it’s totally fine; they thought it was fun! They thought that the whole thing was an awesome display of Scooter’s strength, and Lips tells him he can come back any time and toss Animal around again! Janice tells him that when he first visited them, his aura was its usual yellow, but by the time he left, it was a bright indigo, like something had been awakened inside of him! Scooter is thrilled, and says that he’s proud of himself. He left his comfort zone and lived on the edge! He just hopes they won’t tell his mom.
That night on the show, Miss Piggy announces that The Great Gonzo’s stunt, brought to you by Piggy Water, has been canceled due to weather conditions. Instead they are just going to have Dave Grohl sing “Learn to Fly”, even though it made a lot more sense when someone was actually flying.
As Grohl and the band play, Gonzo asks Kermit if he thinks he actually could have done the stunt. Kermit tells him that if anyone could have done it, he knows that it would have been Gonzo. Temporarily distracted by Sweetums sneezing Yolanda’s hair to smithereens, Kermit turns back around to find that Gonzo is gone. “Oh good grief!” he exclaims and bolts off outside. Racing to the roof, he arrives just in time to see Gonzo stuffing himself into the canon. “See you on the other side Kermit!” Gonzo yells.
He disappears inside the canon just as it explodes, blasting him across the lot, directly into a pool on the other roof. He bursts out of the water, laughing with excitement as Kermit yells “You did it!” and he “Kermit-flails,” cheering gleefully. “I’m Gonzo the Great!” Gonzo shouts. “No!” Kermit corrects him, “You’re Gonzo the Greatest!”
After the show, Dave Grohl tells Animal that he’s been waiting years for this. “Now we see who best!” Animal informs him, and the two of them begin taking turns wildly beating their drums. As the credits roll, the competition soon devolves into a wild free for all, and the drums themselves start flying off the stage. As the two drummers collapse, they both concede defeat, simultaneously telling each other, “You win.”
Going, Going, Gonzo was one of the best episodes ever. Gonzo has always been my favorite Muppet, and while he has been very funny on this new incarnation of the Muppets, he has not been his wild and crazy, extreme-everything loving self. This episode both sought to explain this change of character and change it back to what it once was.
While it did seem slightly out of character for Gonzo to be afraid of a stunt, it does make perfect sense if you think about it. Gonzo has always been a character with a conflicting personality. While he does love to be wild and crazy and take everything to the extreme, he also has a very sensitive side, and at times can be rather deep. With this kind of personality, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that once in awhile something in his extreme life might get the better of him.
Gonzo’s character development was great to watch, and it was one thing that this show has needed so badly. The Muppets are at their best when they can be terribly funny one moment but turn around and be moving and sentimental the next. One of the best moments in the first episode was the flashback scene that actually showed Kermit and Piggy’s breakup. It was not the least bit funny at all. It was sad and moving. It really helped you connect with those characters and make them more “human.” Since that time, the sentimental moments have been spread rather thin, but the show really shines when it hits that perfect balance of silly and sentimental. This episode was a huge step forward in finding that balance.
Aside from the main attraction, which was the hilarity with Gonzo, the rest of the show was great as well. Miss Piggy’s storyline about the Piggy Water was very funny, the guests were perfect, and Scooter got some pretty great character development himself! Not to mention all the great Electric Mayhem scenes we got because of Scooter’s storyline. I swear, these guys just get funnier and funnier. Every episode they have a new scene or line that has me in stitches. And it’s not just one of them; Janice is hilarious, Dr. Teeth is also great, Animal is hilarious, and Zoot absolutely nails it every time he’s on screen. Even Lips, who seldom even says anything, is just as great every time he opens his mouth. The next step would be to devote a whole episode to the band. They need a moment in the sun, and they have enough material with their personalities alone that they could carry the show by themselves.
I also need to give a shout out to the amazing puppetry in this episode. There were so many things that I have no idea how they were done. Gonzo being fully animated while he was being hoisted around the rafters by the rope was probably the biggest one. If that was animatronics, they have come far with them. All his movements looked so natural as he struggled to free himself from the rope. Some other little things to appreciate were Miss Piggy unscrewing the water bottle cap, Pepé shuffling then throwing his poker chips, and the entire fight scene with Scooter and the Electric Mayhem. This episode was just full of technical marvels.
Miss Piggy: “Oh, you can get on my list by breathing loud, showing weakness, eating BLTs with the B…”
Big Mean Carl: “Alright, who’s pickin’ the good stuff outa the Chex Mix?! The only thing left in here are these stupid brown disks!”
Joseph Gordon Levitt: “That my dear prawn is called acting! You’re lookin’ at the guy that played Bruce Willis in the future, playing himself, in the past, or something like that, I never quite understood the plot, but the point is, people don’t care about plots, you know what they care about? Acting! Now gimme that Muppet money!”
Uncle Deadly: “She’s entered what we call: The Glamor Coma. Draw up the agreement, I’ll put a pen in her lifeless hand, and we’ll get to lunch at a decent hour.”
Zoot: “Is that the real moon, or just a department store one?”
Floyd: Ain’t no real moon! Not since the ‘70’s!”
Floyd: “Oh, oh! Hey, uh, you know what? My friend Eddie? He lives out in the desert, you can give him a call. He got a time machine.”
Zoot: “Yeah, he lets me use it on weekends. I climb in there on Friday, when I get out it’s Saturday. The whole thing takes about a day.”
Janice: “Oh, you know, you should let me like, pierce your ear, I never noticed, but you have great lobes!”
Scooter: “Hey, an earring! That is pretty edgy! I mean, Chad from my spin class has one, and the way he rides! You can tell he doesn’t give a hoot! I’ll do it!”
Gonzo: “So what are you saying?! Unless everything goes perfectly I’ll be a fruit smoothie!?”
Dr. Honeydew: “Of course not. You’ll be a flesh and blood smoothie! Presto, science!”
Gonzo: “You know, I’m super excited about the jump, but the daredevil’s code does compel me to tell you that there is a sort of a 99.9% chance that this ends with a violent explosion of fur. Sooo…”
Sam: “How exciting!”
Gonzo: “So, the network has no objection to people of all ages watching that kind of carnage?”
Sam: “Carnage? No! That’s healthy fun! It’s what keeps the lights on around here! All I ask, is that when you hit the wall and explode, you do not curse.”
Dave Grohl: “So, you guys remember how we did it in rehearsal?”
Janice: “Oh, we like to do it different from rehearsal.”
Dave: “Ok, well then why did we even rehearse?”
Floyd: “Oh, cause if we don’t rehearse, then there’s nothin’ to do it different from.”
Dave: “You know, I actually, I dig that!”
This episode was one of the best so far, simply due to the almost perfect blend of humor and heart. If the writers keep this up, The Muppets will only continue to get better and better.
What did you guys think of this episode? What do you think of the growing focus on character development?
Edited by: Kelly Conley