“Single All The Way” was the best possible episode to end the first round of The Muppets episodes. In fact, this could quite possibly be the best episode of the season. I haven’t been able to decide yet.
We open on a scene of Muppety chaos. Everyone is trying to get the studio ready for the Christmas episode, but things are going wrong all over the place. There’s only an hour until the show, and Animal is eating the decorations, Dr. Honeydew is electrocuting Beaker, and Fozzie is having an emotional breakdown because Becky broke up with him.
Elsewhere, Sweetums is visiting Yolanda. He was her secret Santa this year, so he has a gift for her. But he’s not the only one. As Dr. Honeydew delivers another gift to her, Yolanda tells us that she has rigged the drawing. Last year everyone left her name out of the drawing; this year, she’s fixed it so she’ll be getting all the gifts.
Outside the offices, Sam is looking for a place to hang a sprig of mistletoe. He tells us that it’s a seasonably appropriate way to jump-start his relationship with Janice. Once he gets it hung up, he positions himself underneath it and settles in for a long wait.
Backstage, Kermit asks Fozzie what happened with Becky. It turns out Becky accused him of never taking anything seriously, and when he made a silly face to break the tension, Becky told him they were done. Kermit tries to console him as he too recently went through a break-up, but Fozzie turns him down, explaining that because he was the one who broke up with Piggy, there’s no way he could possibly know what he’s going through.
As Fozzie runs off sobbing, Scooter races in to get Kermit; there’s an urgent problem with their guest for the Christmas show, Mindy Kaling. They go out to the stage to watch Miss Piggy and Mindy practice their duet for the show. Everything looks like it’s going fine until Mindy opens her mouth. She is cringingly, horrifically flat and somehow also sharp! It doesn’t sound like she could carry a tune to save her life, and it would seem that she is completely oblivious, belting out every note with vigor.
After the song, Mindy goes to Kermit to ask why things felt off. But it’s definitely not herself that she feels is off; it’s the band. Kermit seizes upon this opportunity to try to cut her song and asks her if she might be more comfortable just handing the whole song over to Piggy as a solo. Mindy turns him down and decides she’ll just power through it.
As she leaves, Kermit starts to freak out. They only have 45 minutes until the show goes live, and their big number is out of tune, not to mention the whole Fozzie crisis, as he is still off somewhere having a complete emotional breakdown.
In the writers’ room, Rizzo and Pepé are discussing their Secret Santas. When Rizzo reveals that his Secret Santa is Yolanda, Pepé’s red flags start going up. He also has Yolanda. Of course this can only mean one thing: Rizzo is lying to him. Rizzo must have gotten him, and he’s trying to keep it a secret!
In Piggy’s dressing room, it’s just one crisis after another. Her ugly Christmas sweater isn’t ugly enough for George Clooney’s ugly Christmas sweater party, and the manicurist did a horrible job on her nails, which shouldn’t matter since she always wears gloves, but she feels this is no excuse for laziness. Kermit tells her that he doesn’t have time for this. He’s too busy trying to figure out what to do about Fozzie. Miss Piggy tells Kermit to just send Fozzie to her. She was the one broken up with, so she knows exactly what he needs to do to move on.
Back outside the offices, Sam is still waiting for a chance to get a kiss under the mistletoe from Janice. As he waits, Chip approaches him to offer him a sour cream and onion Pringle. Sam declines and tries to send him on his way, but Chip does not take the hint. Instead he regales Sam with a multitude of Pringles facts and tells him all about his synesthesia. Sam is not amused, and in the middle of Chip’s weirdness, Janice walks between them, and Sam misses his chance.
Back at the writers’ room, Kermit and Gonzo think they have solved the Mindy problem. Instead of a song, they pitch her a sketch, a parody of The Bachelorette, but with Rizzo and Pepé as elves instead of bachelors. Mindy loves the idea, but when they tell her there will only be time for the sketch, not the song, she chooses the song instead. They’re back to square one.
Back at Piggy’s dressing room, Piggy is trying to cheer up Fozzie. She tells him when Kermit broke up with her, she consoled herself with stuff. Deadly pulls back the wall to reveal a wealth of “Stuff,” all for Fozzie, guaranteed to lift his spirits. It doesn’t work; he still misses Becky. Piggy tells him he just needs to get over it for now. Couples break up and get back together all the time. In a moment of uncharacteristic tenderness, she tells him to just talk to Becky, fight for her! Let her know that he is still willing to work on things! Fozzie asks her why, if it’s just that easy, things never worked out with her and Kermit. Surely she fought for him! As Uncle Deadly furiously tries to warn him to stay away from the topic, Miss Piggy tries to justify her non-actions while Fozzie digs deeper, telling her that now all she has is a pile of stuff, and she’s alone at Christmas! Suddenly a light bulb goes off in his head. Miss Piggy must now want this terrible fate to befall him as it did to her! He has to go call Becky right now! As Fozzie runs out the door, Piggy asks Deadly if he thinks she was too proud. Fozzie was right! She lost Kermit! He’s moved on, and she’s now alone at Christmas.
Outside, a large group of Muppets find themselves heading for Yolanda’s office. The jig is up. They immediately figure out what happened. All of them except Pepé of course, who still thinks Rizzo is lying to him. As they discuss what she’s done, they realize that Yolanda was forgotten last year, and they all feel bad for her. Instead of confronting her about her deception, they all go and apologize for forgetting her last year and give her their gifts. As they leave her office, she calls after them, “I love you guys! There’s gift receipts in all these, right?”
Out on the floor, Fozzie runs up to Kermit all smiles. He called Becky and apologized, and she said they could give things another chance! He’s ready to do the show now! Just as one emotional crisis comes to a close, another one rears its ugly head, and Scooter comes running in to inform him that Piggy is not doing the show. She’s having a break-down in her dressing room, muttering things about a work-life balance, and how the show won’t keep her warm at Christmas. In a panic, Kermit runs off to find her.
When he gets to her dressing room, Kermit finds Miss Piggy drowning her sorrows in a massive cheese basket. Kermit tells her that everything is going to be fine. Fozzie talked to Becky, and everything is going to work out fine. Miss Piggy looks up from her basket and asks him what would have happened if Fozzie had been too proud to talk to Becky. What if Becky had moved on? What if Fozzie had to be alone at Christmas? Kermit finally understands that this isn’t about Fozzie and Becky at all; this is about him and Piggy. He sits down next to her and tells her that even if Fozzie and Becky never got back together, they would still always be friends, so, in that way, they’d never really be alone.
Miss Piggy guesses she knows what he means, but it’s still not enough to help her feel better. Kermit tells her that there are people all over the world who are alone. They’re all alone until she comes on their TV and makes them feel like they have a friend. That perks her up. Kermit turns to her and tells her that she was his favorite show, long before she was ever on TV. “You were my favorite show too, Kermie,” she replies. They look at each other for a moment, until they are interrupted by Bobo, knocking on the door to give them a 30-second warning. That gets them. They both leap to their feet and race out to the stage.
The show goes off without a hitch that night. Even the song. Miss Piggy starts out with her part, but when it’s time for Mindy to come in, all the Muppets join them onstage for a big, old-fashioned Muppet sing-along. Even Kermit gets in on the song. Everything works out perfectly.
After the show, the gang all heads to Rowlf’s for their Christmas party, even Piggy, who is in much better spirits. While they all visit, Echosmith plays live onstage. As they sing, Gonzo gushes to Dr. Teeth that he can’t believe that they got Arrowsmith to play their Christmas party. Dr. Teeth corrects him and pulls up a picture of Arrowsmith on his phone to show him the difference. Gonzo is disturbed.
Across the room at the bar, a downtrodden Sam tries to tell Rowlf his problems when Janice interrupts him. Flustered he tries to make words but is unable to utter anything intelligible. Janice tells him she saw him talking to Chip earlier. Chip has such trouble making friends so she thinks it was totally sweet of him. As Sam is rendered almost immobile by Janice’s presence, she leans in and kisses him on the side of his beak. “Happy holidays!” she calls as she walks away. Sam is momentarily stunned before finally being able to say, “God bless Christmas!”
As I said before, this was one of, if not the best episode, so far this season. Everything that people felt was missing from the show was here in spades. We had music, both a comedically awful number, as well as a big, full-on Muppet performance with virtually every character on the show so far, as well as a closing number by another musical guest!
We’ll get my one nitpick over with at the beginning and then move on; really my only (very small) complaint is one that I’ve had before, and it’s again the way they used their guests. Echosmith was there for just a blip, almost a throwaway appearance, and Mindy Kaling seemed to be there to only serve as the butt of a few jokes. Yes she was funny and cute, but it felt like she was underused. They could have had almost literally anyone do her part of the episode, and nothing would have changed. I don’t know; maybe that’s just me.
There was a ton of great Muppety gags, both with the regulars as well as the small players. Uncle Deadly got some awesome lines, Miss Piggy, even in her emotionally disheveled state, still managed to be funny, and Big Mean Carl was great as always.
But, the thing that made this episode so much better than most of the others this season, the thing that pulled you in and had you on the edge of your seat, the thing that made us totally root for these characters once more, was the heart. This episode had heart up to here! From Piggy trying her best to comfort Fozzie, to her journey of self-discovery, realizing that she has been too proud to talk to Kermit about how she feels, and then Kermit trying to cheer her up, realizing that she still loves him. The fact that they made a few tiny steps toward reconciliation was just huge!
Just a couple episodes ago, I would not have felt any of this possible. Miss Piggy has been so selfish over the course of this show, aside from a few tiny moments of “realness” here and there, that I was not expecting this level of emotion out of her so soon. This whole thing took me so off guard in the best possible way! I love it when I get to the end of an episode of anything, and I have an emotional high of just feeling good! I was so happy! This turn of plot was no accident, however; this episode, and specifically these scenes that I just described, were the first scenes tackled by Kristen Newman, the new showrunner of The Muppets, when she first came to “reboot” the show. I went into this in detail in a previous article, but I’ll transcribe the important bit below.
“I came in for episode 10, which was the Christmas episode that aired before the break, and Day 1 of work was rewriting Piggy-Kermit scenes to really bring that connection back.”
“The heart of the whole franchise has always been Piggy and Kermit, and I think breaking them up was really smart. There’s always more story to be told and more tension when two people who love each other are apart instead of together. But what’s important to remember is that they do love each other, and that was being walked away from completely.”
If there were any doubts about the new direction that Newman would be taking this show, they should have all been dispelled watching this scene. I am looking forward to The Muppets return next month, and I cannot wait to see where she takes this.
Animal: “Tinsel! Tinsel! Ah ha ha ha! Christmas in mah belly! Om nom nom!”
Sam: “And now, I wait. >Sigh< *Long pause* Shoulda brought my Kindle.”
Floyd – About Mindy Kaling’s singing: “Sounds like a cat, drownin’ another cat! And neither one of ‘em can sing!”
Janice: “Hush! She’s obviously releasing the evil spirits from her soul! Stay strong sister! We know it hurts!”
Big Mean Carl: “Twas the night before Christmas, and all through da house, not a creature was stirrin’ not even a mouse ‘cause I told ‘im ta shut up!”
Pepé: “Here’s the thing, I got Yolanda, so that devious little rodent is lying, okay. And there’s only one reason for this; he has me. Life is a chess game, and what is the most powerful piece on the board? The prawn!”
Uncle Deadly – To Kermit: “Gugh! Women!”
Turning around to Piggy: “Gugh! Men!”
Chip: “Sour cream and onion Pringle? They’re shaped like the human tongue. Sometimes I lick the coating off, and then throw the rest away. I’ve got all of the sour cream and onion flavor, with none of the calories! Life hack!”
Chip: “Do you sometimes see numbers as colors? I do. For example, four is blue. I realized I had this talent when I was yellow-and-a-half years old.”
Miss Piggy: “So Fozzie, I heard what happened, and from one broken heart to another, I know exactly what you need.”
Fozzie: “A hug?”
Piggy: “No! Oh no! No, no, no, no, no, no, no!”
Pepé: “Okay, I think everyone here knows exactly what happened. So… Please tell me, because I’m totally lost.”
Deadly: “Obviously she rigged it to get all the gifts. Clever girl…”
Rowlf: “Everything okay there, buddy?”
Sam: “Yah, I just had a bad experience with a sprig of mistletoe.”
Rowlf: “Oh! I got into some’a that last year and ended up spendin’ Christmas in urgent care. I know, dogs aren’t supposed to eat it but, it’s berries, and leaves, and just so delicious… You uh… You got any on ya?”
Sam: “No, I-”
Rowlf: “Okay, no problem, no problem…”
There’s not much more that I can say about this episode without continuing to gush over how much I loved it. I have high hopes for this series going forward. Let’s hope that when it comes back from hiatus, the changes that Kristen Newman is putting in place will have continued to steer this show toward a brighter, funnier future.
What did you think of this episode? Do you like the new direction the show seems to be heading in?
Edited by: Kelly Conley