“Generally Inhospitable” is the penultimate episode of season 1 of The Muppets, and the first of a two-part storyline. As good as the show has been recently, it really hit its stride in this episode, dialing up the nostalgia to 11, bringing back beloved sketches, a great guest star, and lighting a long-dormant spark between Kermit and Miss Piggy.
We open during rehearsals on a new dance number. Miss Piggy and two backup dancers are recreating Beyoncé’s Single Ladies music video, while Pepé, Rizzo, and Yolanda amuse themselves behind the scenes, earning the scorn of Paché who wonders if they ever work. When he leaves, Yolanda begins to do a spot-on impression of him, mocking the way he talks.
As Piggy dances intensely, we hear a snap, and she goes down hard. She slowly picks herself up, insisting that she’s fine, but the camera pans down to her foot, and we can see that her ankle is bent at a 90-degree angle. All around the studio, Muppets begin to pass out as Kermit and Uncle Deadly rush to her aid.
In all the chaos, Paché wastes no time swooping into action and taking over production, insisting that Kermit take Miss Piggy to the hospital; he has a “Super-fine DJ chick who can guest host.” Kermit tries to protest, but Paché pays no attention. As Kermit leaves, he tells Pepé, Rizzo, and Yolanda to keep an eye on Paché, to make sure he doesn’t mess anything up.
At the hospital, Piggy does everything in her power to convince Kermit and Deadly that she’s fine, but they aren’t buying it. When Deadly mentions that Paché might replace her while she gone, she freaks out and tries to make a bid for freedom, commandeering an elderly man and his wheelchair. Unsurprisingly this does not work.
Back at the studio, Pepé, Rizzo, and Yolanda have enlisted the help of Big Mean Carl and Sweetums to try and figure out what Paché is up to. He’s on his cell phone, but he’s far enough away that they can’t hear him. As they all discuss how to get his phone away, Carl tells them that he’ll take care of it. He walks right up to Paché and snatches the phone, swallowing it whole. The the group rushes him, backing him into a dressing room. Unfortunately, this is one of those times where they’ve just acted without thinking, and none of them have a plan. Paché’s phone is ringing constantly inside Big Mean Carl’s stomach, and none of them know what to do. If Paché doesn’t answer it, people might start to get suspicious. Suddenly Rizzo gets a brilliant idea. Rappelling down into Carl’s stomach, he retrieves the phone and tosses it back out to Yolanda, who answers it doing her spot-on impression of Paché.
In the hospital, Kermit has to break the news to Miss Piggy that the network is refusing to air a rerun. They’re going with Paché’s plan to bring in a replacement. Kermit hides behind a chair, expecting her to erupt in a fury, but much to his surprise, she instead begins crying. She’s not mad; this whole ordeal is just bringing up traumatic memories from her childhood on the farm. Suddenly Kermit has an idea. What if they do the show from right here? They could bring the crew and guests to the hospital and film everything in her room! Piggy loves the idea and cheers up immediately.
While Sweetums tries to treat their prisoner as humanly as possible, Yolanda is still using his phone, doing her best Paché impression. She’s moved on from just answering it to making calls, pretending to be Paché while doing everything from convincing Pepsi to change its can color to proposing to three different girls at once. Suddenly the phone rings again, and this time its Kermit. When she answers as Paché, he tells her about his plan to do the show from the hospital, and she acts like it’s a great idea and then throws out that she (Paché) is on a new hair-loss medication and is probably hallucinating, so any mention of being held captive should be ignored.
When Kermit gets off the phone, he finds that Rowlf and Janice have just arrived. They’re going to resurrect their old Veterinarian’s Hospital sketch from The Muppet Show! Rowlf is excited to be back working with his friends, and Janice is excited to curl up next to dying patients like that psychic cat.
As they are about to go live, Scooter mentions that Piggy’s monitor is giving his equipment a large amount of feedback. Miss Piggy tells him she’ll just call the nurse to come take care of it, but she mixes up the call button with her morphine drip. As she presses the button repeatedly, Kermit realizes her mistake, but it’s too late; they’re going live.
Back in the studio, Fozzie introduces Miss Piggy who is live-streaming to their audience, but as she tells the crowd what happened to her, she slowly becomes more and more incoherent, until it becomes quite obvious that she’s blitzed out of her mind. Kermit orders them to cut back to Fozzie who has no idea what is happening.
Backstage, Paché is still locked in the dressing room when Rizzo comes in to tell everyone that he just talked to his cousin who is a cop. What they’re doing could be considered kidnapping, and they should probably let Paché out. Pepé thinks this is a bad idea because as soon as Paché is free, he’s likely to go to the police. Sweetums pipes in and tells them that Paché might not say anything. He doesn’t think he’s such a bad guy. His terrible attitude just stems from a difficult relationship with his father who never told him he loved him. As Sweetums explains this, Pepé gets an idea. He thinks they can use Paché’s relationship with his father to their advantage.
As Up Late continues, the Muppets have decided to bring back multiple classic sketches for this episode. First they combine the classic Swedish Chef segments with the Muppet Labs sketches to make a segment with the Swedish Chef, Bunsen, and Beaker exploring molecular gastronomy. After Beaker is launched into the rafters, they go back to the hospital where Uncle Deadly introduces Rowlf and Janice in a brand new Veterinarian’s Hospital segment. When Rowlf and Janice have finished terrorizing their first patient in years, Miss Piggy introduces Willie Nelson who joins the Electric Mayhem to sing On the Road Again. Everything is working out great!
Back at the studio, the gang has decided to free Paché, but before they let him out, they have someone who wants to talk to him. Yolanda hands him his phone; it’s Paché’s father! And he tells him he loves him! And he wants Paché to come home to run their family’s sporting goods business! It’s all he’s ever wanted! He bids them goodbye and leaves, saying that he’ll be gone, “as long as it takes.” When he’s gone, the Muppets start to party. They’re free! Except for Rizzo, who is eaten by Big Mean Carl.
After the show, Miss Piggy thanks Kermit for making the show happen for her. He tells her that he just made some calls; she made the show happen. Just then, the doctor comes in to take Miss Piggy away for surgery. As she’s being wheeled out, she tells him, “Just in case, I love you Kermit.” Surprised, Kermit tells her, “I love you too, Piggy.” However Piggy is still flying high from the morphine and on her way out declares her love for a hand sanitizer dispenser, a space cowboy, and a tiny, talking giraffe.
Unbeknownst to them, the cameras are all still going. The show may be over, but everything in the hospital is still being live streamed back to the studio. Everyone gasps in shock as Kermit watches Miss Piggy leave and says quietly to himself, “I love her.”
As the credits roll, Willie Nelson and the Electric Mayhem play Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground to some of the patients in the hospital. As they sing, Janice cuddles up next to an elderly woman who is asleep. She may not be ailing as badly as Janice assumes though, as the woman wakes up and shoves her to the floor.
“Generally Inhospitable” was SO good! So many throwbacks to “The good old days,” of The Muppet Show, amazing sketches and musical numbers, and Kermit and Piggy FINALLY declaring their love for each other! Yeah Piggy was higher than a kite, but I say it still counts!
There was so little wrong with this episode that I just want to get it over with right now before moving on to the awesome. First up, Paché. I will admit that I never liked that guy much. I have no problem with Utkarsh Ambudkar, who was always great in the role; I just didn’t like the character of Paché. He was mainly a one-note character who wasn’t very threatening at all. So, while I am quite glad to see him go, I just didn’t buy the way he left. It seemed like the writers just wanted to get rid of him so they threw together this story as a way to write him out. It just didn’t feel real. I kept expecting him to pop back in and yell, “Psych!” That being said, I loved the way Sweetums was used as a mediator in this whole ordeal. He doesn’t get enough to do, so if Paché had to go in this way, I’m glad Sweetums was there to help.
My only other problem was the length of the sketches and songs. I completely understand why they had to be so short. There simply isn’t enough time to fit in full length songs or sketches with any sort of a coherent plot in just over 20 minutes. The show would need to be twice as long to fit in everything that I feel it needs, and I know that’s impossible. Still, I’m very happy with what we got, so I can’t complain too much; I just hate that it has to feel so rushed.
Now on to the good stuff. First up, the guest. I will admit that I don’t know that much about Willie Nelson. My dad was more into bluegrass artists like Sons of the San Joaquin and Riders In the Sky, when I was growing up, so I didn’t know much more than just Willie Nelson’s name. Regardless of my lack of familiarity with him, I think that he is the perfect kind of guest for the Muppets. He’s someone who has been around a long time, he’s a hippie, and he has a warm, smooth, friendly quality to his voice that just fits right in with the Muppets. I loved both of his musical numbers; they were just like watching the old Muppet Show again.
And speaking of the old Muppet Show, how great was it to see some of the old sketches again? I’m not going to address how short they were; I’ve already done that. I just want to talk about how much I enjoyed seeing something so familiar again. I loved that Rowlf came back to the show too. I really hope that he comes back more often. I know he’s got his own thing going with his tavern, but it would be a lot of fun to see him more often than just once every three or four episodes. I loved his interactions with Janice, both before and during the sketch. It was just a lot of fun.
I also loved how they updated all the sketches so that they seemed to fit more in modern day. I loved that they got Bunsen and Beaker together with the Swedish Chef. Molecular gastronomy is a relatively new concept as far as I know, but it makes perfect sense to get all these characters together to explore it. I really hope this becomes a recurring sketch; molecular gastronomy is such a wide concept. There is so much more that they could do with it.
For anyone who might not have gotten it, Janice’s whole thing about the psychic cat is actually a true story! If you’re curious, I’ll link you to the cat’s wiki page, but that line was probably my favorite of the show. And then they actually had her go and do it! I heard it was cut in the American broadcast, so I really hope you got to see it. I watch the show on Hulu, so I saw it; if you missed it, go to Hulu as soon as possible. It was a complete surprise, and so funny! I loved it!
The best thing about the episode for so many people was Kermit and Miss Piggy taking the first steps toward reconciliation. The fact that they admitted they still loved each other is huge, and it’s a great way to leave the episode on a cliffhanger.
Uncle Deadly: “I have her cornered! Somebody bring a butterfly net!”
Sweetums: “Oh, I’ll need this back by Friday! I’m goin’ to a meadow!”
Deadly: “Piggy asked that you give her weight in stone, so it’s indecipherable.”
Rizzo: “Boy, I wish I knew what he was sayin’!”
Yolanda: “Yeah I know. Hey Carl, can you use them things on the top a your head? They look like they should be able to hear stuff real good!”
Big Mean Carl: “They’re vestigial!”
Janice: “I can like, wander around the hospital, and curl up next to patients nearing death, like that psychic cat!”
Miss Piggy: “Tonight is going to be a very special show, because, earlier today, I broke my leg in a heroic dancing accident. But! I am a trooper and King Tut and Jolly Green Giant, am I right? A Ha Ha Ha! WHEEEEE!!!”
Scooter: “Why is Piggy talking like my aunt who lives in a pay-by-the-hour motel?”
Willie Nelson: “Hi, Piggy. Looks like you could use a little cheering up, Darlin’.”
Piggy: “Now, Willie, I think we’re both happy enough.”
I loved this episode. I’m not sure where it would rank in my list of favorites, but combined with the second half, it’s probably in my top five. The Muppets is making sure they go out of the season on a high note, and I’d say they are well on their way to hitting their goal.
As of this writing, March 13, The Muppets still has yet to be renewed for a second season. All hope is not lost though; the finale did boast higher ratings than the previous three episodes, which is a big deal, considering the ratings had been very slowly declining all season.
Also, The Muppets won the Kids Choice Award for Favorite Family TV Show, beating out a lot of stiff competition including Agents of SHIELD, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Big Bang Theory, and The Flash!
If you’d like to see a second season of The Muppets, there is still something you can do! Just tweet @ABCNetwork, using #RenewTheMuppets. If enough of us make our voices heard, hopefully ABC will have no choice but to renew it!
What did you think of this episode? Were you excited to see the return of classic Muppet Show skits?
Edited by: Kelly Conley