Denise is back! In “The Ex-Factor,” we finally get to know Kermit’s new girlfriend a little better! Plus we have another stellar guest star: the amazing Kristin Chenoweth – who was wonderful, as always – but the Muppets were not particularly wonderful to her. Save for Denise and, quite surprisingly, Miss Piggy, who seemed to actually like her guest for once! Shocking! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Lets get to the recap first.
We open on The Electric Mayhem as they warm up the crowd before Up Late begins. As Miss Piggy and Kristin Chenoweth are prepped to go on, they have a bit of a back and forth. There is a smidge of a rivalry going on, but nothing too serious. It would seem that Miss Piggy has a guest on her show who she actually likes!
Kermit is preparing to start the show when Denise comes up behind him, gushing over how much she loves Kristin Chenoweth. Kermit talks her down from approaching Kristin, but the second Denise leaves the room she races back and enthusiastically rushes Kristen, fangirling over her like a madwoman, right in front of Miss Piggy. Kermit is completely chagrinned and quickly walks her out of the room.
Later that evening, as Piggy and Kristin sing a closing number, Yolanda tells Kermit that she finalized his reservation for Denise’s birthday dinner. She wonders if he would like her to pick up a gift for Denise as well. Kermit replies that Denise doesn’t want a gift, but Yolanda tells him this means she definitely wants a gift. Uncle Deadly informs Kermit that, if he messes this up, it could spell the end of his relationship with Denise.
After the show The Electric Mayhem approach Kristin as she leaves and ask her if she can perform with them the next day. It’s Floyd’s parents’ 40th anniversary and they are throwing a party. Kristen happily agrees.
In the writer’s room, Kermit asks the others what they think he should get for Denise. Rejecting the ideas for a snow cone machine, a nice wrench, and the prescription she forgot to pick up last month, Kermit finally agrees to Scooter’s suggestion that they go to Color Me Mine and paint a plate for her.
Once there, Kermit doesn’t seem to be having a great time. Scooter can’t stop regaling him with creepy details of his unhealthy relationship with his mother, as well as his hostility toward her new boyfriend Ken. All of Kermit’s paintings don’t seem to work out and Scooter eventually tosses them all in the “Whoopsie Bin.” With no time left to shop, Kermit finally decides to do the unthinkable. He asks Miss Piggy for help. She reluctantly agrees (they did agree to stay friends after all).
The next day, Kristin and the band are on the road in The Electric Mayhem’s van. Trying to make small talk, she asks Janice and Floyd, who are cuddling in the seat in front of her, how long they’ve been together. Janice tells her they are not “together,” they are two independent, spiritual beings and she isn’t anyone’s lady. This is news to Floyd, who thought they were, in fact, an item. Doctor Teeth tells him he shouldn’t try to tie Janice down. She’s not into being anyone’s lady. He knows this, because she used to be his lady. Floyd reels from yet another shock and goes off on Doctor Teeth, who argues back, and soon the whole band is in an uproar.
Back at the studio, Miss Piggy grills Kermit on everything “Nisey” likes in order to make sure she gets her the perfect gift. She is shocked to learn the two of them don’t have a song, and begins to sing what had been her and Kermit’s song, before the break-up: “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.” Kermit, frustrated with Miss Piggy’s constant references to their past, and her subtle putdowns of Denise, blurts out a bunch of random facts about Denise, including her love of football and ketchup, and finishes with, “Let’s go shopping.” As they leave they are stopped by Yolanda, who informs Kermit he has a meeting with the network president in ten minutes. Piggy tells him to go. She’ll take care of everything.
Later that day at the restaurant, Kermit tries to stall for time while they wait for Miss Piggy to arrive. Denise has to leave for a meeting, so he acts like he’s speeding things up, but he’s actually slowing things down (by adding 52 verses to “Happy Birthday”). Suddenly, Miss Piggy arrives with her gift. Kermit runs outside to get it and wonders what exactly it is. She tells him it’s a jewelry box. It’s the perfect gift because a girl who likes football is too tough to buy one, but she still needs it. Inside is a charm bracelet with a little silver ketchup bottle. Oh, and she’s also billing him for her lobster and caviar lunch.
Out in the desert the band stops the van and takes their argument outside into the desert. Kristin tries her best to mediate, but the argument ends in a physical altercation between Doctor Teeth and Floyd. Kristin breaks them up, but they realize they never had any problems until she came along. They decide the best way to solve their problem is to leave her in the desert.
In the restaurant, Kermit gives Denise her gift, and she loves it. Miss Piggy really did her best to get something she knew Denise would love. Suddenly Denise notices a little switch inside the jewelry box and flips it. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” begins to play. Denise loves it even more, but Kermit is horrified. He looks out the window where Miss Piggy is watching, and she blows him a kiss. She turns to the camera. “I’d do anything for Kermit. I mean, after all, he is my friend. But don’t ask your ex to buy a gift for your girlfriend; that is messed up! I think he knows that now.”
As the credits roll, we head back to Color Me Mine where Scooter is surprised to find Rizzo and Pepé. He is horrified to see them doing everything wrong. Rizzo paints with his tail, and Pepé picks up desperate housewives with water bottles filled with chardonnay. Scooter tells them his happy place is now soiled. He’s going home to be with his mom. He doesn’t care that it’s her private time with Ken.
I kind of have mixed feeling about this episode. There was a lot to love, but also a lot that I did not love. Let’s start with the guest star. On the one hand, I love Kristin Chenoweth and I think she had some great scenes. He interactions with Animal were the best and I loved the Tic Tac bit. On the other hand, the writers once again just chopped a storyline off at the knee and left it completely hanging. Yes, this was not nearly as bad as the way they criminally underused Nick Offerman. But seriously. They literally left her in the middle of the desert with no way of getting back home. That really bugged me. Plus, why have Kristin on the show and then cut out almost all her singing. She has an amazing voice! We needed to hear more of it!
Moving on to something a bit brighter, the storyline with Miss Piggy was great. At first I wasn’t too sure what to think about her revenge on Kermit, but the more I thought about it the more I felt like she was justified. Kermit should not have asked her to buy a gift for his new girlfriend, but the way she went about things was so clever. The music box was meant to be a dig at Kermit, and only Kermit, and was not meant to hurt Denise at all. In fact, it’s slightly hinted that she may actually like Denise. Consider the following scene, just after Kristin meets Denise:
Kristen: “Was that..?”
Miss Piggy: “Yes, it is.”
Kristen: “Oh, she is so sweet.”
Miss Piggy (reluctantly nodding in agreement): “Mmm.”
Were it not for their current circumstances, could they possibly be friends? Perhaps not that far, but it certainly seems Miss Piggy has no animosity toward Denise herself. Would I have preferred that she be the bigger person, and not take a dig at Kermit at all? Yes, probably. But that’s not who Piggy is and I was happy she handled the gift the way she did.
On to Scooter. I don’t really know what to think of him anymore. He’s gone from being someone with almost no personality, except to do whatever he’s told, to now having a borderline creepy personality and an unhealthy obsession with his mother. I was hoping his comments about his mother in the last episode were a joke or a one-off thing, but they seem to be sticking. While parts of his dialogue are admittedly rather funny (“Put a robe on, Ken”) the rest of it is just awkward and uncomfortable. Which, I suppose, is the point. So I guess bravo to the writers for doing what they set out to do. I just wish they’d set out to do something a little different.
Another bright point of this episode was Denise. I really have to hand it to the writers for taking a character that most people were absolutely determined to hate and making her into someone we can actually really like. As much as I want Kermit and Miss Piggy back together, I really like Denise now and I don’t want to see her get hurt. I will be very interested to see where they take this relationship. I hope everything works out for her because, you know, Kermit and Miss Piggy will be getting back together again, right? Right?
Aside from the sparkling joy that Kristin Chenoweth brought with her (Can you tell how much I love her? I’m still gutted, 6 ½ years later, about the cancelation of Pushing Daisies), the best thing about this episode were some of the laugh out loud lines. What the writers missed the mark on with the creepy Scooter stuff and the leaving of Kristin in the desert, they made up for in hilarious one-liners. And also Pepé calling Scooter “Scooper.” Had I been drinking milk, it would have shot out my nose. That bit was too funny.
Kermit: “Oh, no. I’m not getting her anything. She said she didn’t want a gift.”
Yolanda: “Oh is that what she said. Hmm. Let me look that up in my lady translator.”
Yolanda (Holding up her cell phone): “Boop, boop, boop, boop. Aw, look at that. She wants a gift.”
Animal: “Oh! Oh! Animal always wanna perform with live snakes! But Zoot Big Baby.”
Kristin Chenoweth: “How long have they been married?”
Janice: “Oh, wow! Like, how can you measure the intertwining of two souls?”
Kristin: “In years?”
Janice: “Oh, then 40.”
Gonzo (Suggesting a gift for Denise): “What about a scale? That would be thoughtful. Girls are always asking if the look fat, with a scale they could know for sure!”
(Kermit just looks at him.)
Gonzo: “What about a bag of socks? They’re cheap, and if she hates ’em and throws ’em at you, they’re not going to hurt; like that scale did…”
Pepé: “Don’t listen to this thing.”
Uncle Deadly: “Kermit, you seem to be under the false impression that I want to be in this room. You don’t know me.” (Ominously) “No one does.”
Kristin: “So where’s your dad’s house?”
Floyd: “Uh, who’s askin’?”
Kristin: “I am.”
Floyd: “Yeah, that check’s out. Well, I wouldn’t exactly call my dad’s place a house, he dynamited a hole in the desert and drove an old school bus into it!”
Kristin: “How long have you two been together?
Janice: “Oh, wow. Together implies that we’re not two independent, spiritual beings. I’m not anyone’s lady, I’m not even my own lady! I wouldn’t do that to myself!”
Floyd: “You know what your problem is? You think this whole world revolves around you, but it doesn’t! It revolves around the moon! Which is why we have winter!”
While I was a bit disappointed in this episode, it’s only because of how great the last few episodes were. There have been so many great episodes recently that I guess the bar was set too high. That and the whole Kristin Chenoweth thing. On the whole, this was not a bad episode. The fact that I really didn’t mind re-watching three or four times in order to write a thorough review really says something about the show. Even when it’s not so good, it’s still good and that’s what matters.
What did you think of “The Ex-Factor”? What do you think of
Scooper’s Scooter’s new personality?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes