After two months of worrying what a “reboot” might mean, “Swine Song” showed us we had nothing to worry about. The Muppets is still the same show it’s always been, with just a few little changes here and there that go a long way towards improvement.
We open outside the offices at the Up Late studio as the Muppets are all returning from vacation. Everyone is discussing where they went over the hiatus, while Kermit is looking for Miss Piggy. Over the break, he told Denise that he was going to be drawing more clear boundaries between his work time and personal time, and he wanted to meet with Miss Piggy to let her know as soon as possible.
In Miss Piggy’s dressing room, Uncle Deadly is going through her luggage and is finding a large quantity of clothing that does not meet his approval, mainly ponchos; one of which reeks of goat. Miss Piggy had just gotten back from an Argentinean vacation, a vacation that she describes as transformative. She seems to have returned a new pig, telling Deadly that she is completely over Kermit and has vowed to be a better version of herself.
As Deadly peers into another bag, he is startled by a baby penguin that jumps out at him, scaring Foo-Foo half to death. Miss Piggy introduces the penguin as Gloria Estefan and says that she rescued him.
As Gloria Estefan proceeds to bite and pull on Deadly’s beard, they are interrupted by Kermit, who has come to tell Piggy about his soon-to-be-imposed boundaries. Much to Kermit’s surprise, Miss Piggy is totally fine with everything! He tells her he’s leaving at 8 sharp that night because he’s running a charity 5k with Denise in the morning, and Piggy doesn’t bat an eye. In fact, she thinks it’s wonderful! Suddenly Scooter runs in to tell them that the network president has just shown up, and she wants to talk to everyone. It’s not good news.
The network thinks that Up Late is “too talky.” To fix this terrible malady, the network has hired a branding guru to come in and give the show a complete makeover. The president introduces the branding guru as Paché, and as she leaves, she tells the Muppets to think of him as part of the family now but as the dad.
Paché tells them that his name is spelled P-I-Z-Z-A, and he’s there to make old things relevant again; a statement that infuriates Miss Piggy, as it implies that she is old and irrelevant. He tells them that he’s getting rid of Fozzie in favor of a kid from YouTube who plays video games and makes noises with his mouth, and they are going to start airing live, so people can tweet them in real time.
As soon as Paché is gone, Miss Piggy and Kermit try to reassure everyone that they’re not firing Fozzie or changing the show. They’ll try to figure out a way to change things up that the network will approve of but also stay true to themselves.
In order to understand what they’re up against, Kermit and Piggy call in Key and Peele, who had previously worked with Paché. What they have to say is not what they wanted to hear. According to them, Paché was brought in to do for them what he’s going to do for Up Late, but his ideas were utterly horrible. They refused to do anything he told them, and soon after, their show was cancelled.
Miss Piggy immediately freaks out. If Key and Peele got their show cancelled for refusing to listen to Paché, then they need to do everything that Paché tells them. She can’t have her show cancelled! Kermit tries to reassure her. They will do whatever it takes to keep Up Late on the air, and they’ll work as long as they have to until they figure it out.
While most of the Muppets stay overnight at the studio, Uncle Deadly is given charge of Miss Piggy’s new baby. It’s quite apparent that he doesn’t know how to care for an animal though, as he takes Gloria Estefan home with him and promptly locks her in a glass case while he sits down with a martini. Gloria Estefan is having none of that though and escapes the case, crawls up on Deadly’s lap, and guzzles his martini. Furious, Deadly plunks her down in front of the TV and sets it to a penguin documentary to keep her occupied while he reads his gossip magazines.
Back at the studio, the Muppets all try to come up with new ways to give the show a much needed face-lift. They’re getting nowhere. Fozzie suggests flooding the studio, Lew Zealand wants to throw his fish, and Miss Piggy wants to dress like Miley Cyrus, complete with twerking.
Kermit tries to tell Piggy that this is a terrible idea and drags her away to get her a robe. While they’re gone, the other Muppets start an impromptu acappella rendition of their old Muppet Show theme, and everyone gets in on the act. Outside the writers’ room, Kermit, hearing how great they sound, realizes that they have everything they need right there! They just need to find a way to capture their old magic. Key and Peele are still there; they can get them to guest star on tomorrow’s show. They just need to get busy and write some new material!
The next morning, Denise comes to the studio to find literally everyone asleep in the writer’s room, including Kermit and Miss Piggy, who have fallen asleep on each other. She is understandably upset. Not only is he asleep next to his ex, but he completely missed the 5k run they were supposed to take together. Kermit tries to explain, and Denise tries to be understanding, but she’s still upset. She tells him she just wants to feel like a priority.
The next night, Miss Piggy tells the audience that they’re trying some new things that night and introduces a few new segments. They have a bit with Pepé, posing as an Uber driver, picking up unsuspecting customers, as well as Bobo, doing a dramatic reading of a scene from the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Everything seems to be going well, but Paché is not happy. They didn’t take any of his suggestions, and everything is going great. He tells Kermit that Key and Peele had to bail on them. He got them a meeting to do a pitch for Shark Tank, and they’re gone. Oh, and guess what, the network president’s here! He leaves Kermit in a panic, with no idea of how to fill Key and Peele’s timeslot.
As soon as they go to commercial, Kermit runs to break the news to Piggy and tell her that she needs to find a way to fill the time. Miss Piggy panics; she has nothing prepared, but Kermit has one other idea. What if they did one of their old songs together? Miss Piggy thinks it over for a moment and then tells Bobo to go get Kermit’s banjo.
As soon as the commercial break is over, Miss Piggy introduces Kermit, who comes onstage with his banjo to the cheers of the audience. The two sing an abridged version of John Prine’s In Spite of Ourselves, and the audience loves it except Denise. As Kermit and Piggy sing, Pepé and Rizzo look up into the audience and see Denise watching the two, visibly upset.
Offstage, the network president congratulates Paché on his work. “I know,” he says, taking all the credit for the success of the show.
After the show, everyone meets at Rowlf’s where Kermit tells them that he’s just gotten off the phone with the network, and they loved the new version of the show! Miss Piggy tells him that he needs to come on the show more often, as well as the other Muppets, and she toasts them all.
As everyone celebrates, Denise enters, and Kermit goes to welcome her in. She tells him that during the song, she could see there was still something between him and Piggy; everyone could see it. She suggests that they take a break to figure things out between them, and she walks out sadly.
As the credits roll, Deadly sets up an iPad at the bar to play another penguin video for Gloria Estefan, but she seems rather sad. Rowlf thinks she might be lonely, and Uncle Deadly sympathizes, telling her he knows what it’s like. He then orders a couple martinis and tells her he’s not sharing this time, but when his back is turned she chugs one of them, and then gets sick all over his boots.
This episode was fantastic. It had music, it had heart, it had comedy, and it had drama. Miss Piggy was back to her old, only mostly diva self, instead of her over-the-top completely uncaring diva self; and Kermit was back to his mostly happy, caring self, instead of his stressed-out self, as they had been for a good chunk of the past ten episodes. To be clear, these were not things that I took much issue with. There was one or two times that they both may have gone a bit too far, but for the most part, I was willing to just go along for the ride. However, I do prefer these versions of their characters far more than those, so I am loving the new direction the show is taking.
I also love the slight update that they gave to the opening titles to reflect these changes in the show. While everything is still mostly the same, Kermit appears to be much less frazzled, and instead of having the coffee he poured himself be taken by an oblivious, and probably uncaring, Miss Piggy, she actually brings him a cup of coffee! Kermit still has pretty much the same line he’s always had, but the way he says it is far more positive than the first ten episodes. Instead of a slightly downtrodden, “Time to get things started…”, he calls out to everyone, “It’s time to get things started!” The changes are subtle, but to me, they’re huge.
The drama was high this week, as Denise and Kermit actually broke up! And they did an excellent job of making me feel for Denise! I am a Kermit/Piggy shipper all the way; I want them to make up and get back together and get married and live happily ever after, but I felt so bad for Denise in this episode. Their breakup scene was genuinely heartbreaking! As much as I want Kermit and Miss Piggy back together, I really hope this all does not come at the expense of Denise. I hope they’ll have her get over Kermit quickly and find someone else.
On a lighter note, I am really liking the new sketches so far. I mean, they’re no Veterinarian’s Hospital, or Pigs in Space, but they were pretty entertaining. If they keep working on these Jimmy Kimmel style bits, I think they’ll eventually find some that work well enough to become regular things.
Incidentally, I have heard that Veterinarian’s Hospital is coming back eventually, but what about Pigs in Space? If they brought back Pigs in Space, that would mean that Link Hogthrob would have to come back as well. And Link is a pig… Denise is a pig…they’ve got the whole brokenhearted Denise-thing solved right there!
I really enjoyed the way they utilized their guests this week. Instead of having them be the sole focus of the show, they relegated them to just a couple scenes each, and it worked perfectly!
Utkarsh Ambudkar as Paché was great, and a much-needed foil for the Muppets. They really needed an adversary other than Miss Piggy to deal with each week, and I think Paché will fit the bill perfectly.
As a side note, even though they explicitly said that Paché is spelled P-I-Z-Z-A, I decided to spell it the way it sounded because otherwise I’d be reading Paché as Pizza the whole time, and I figured you all would be too. It was just a bit too ridiculous. That would be like Fozzie telling everyone his name was spelled F-A-U-X-Z-H-I. No one would read that mess as Fozzie if it was spelled Fauxzhi.
Gloria Estefan and Uncle Deadly were some of the best parts of the show. Uncle Deadly always is, but the addition of Gloria Estefan was an unexpected and welcoming delight. Every scene they shared was gold, and I have a feeling that a good chunk of my favorite quotes this time will be from these scenes.
Another side note, you may have noticed an inconsistency in the way that I gendered Gloria Estefan, and that was on purpose. In the show, Miss Piggy and Rowlf referred him to with male pronouns, but Uncle Deadly used female pronouns. As I have no way of knowing who was correct, I used the pronouns of whoever was talking about her at the time when I wrote out that scene. My guess is that Uncle Deadly is correct, but I can’t know for sure.
Also, unrelated, yet kind of related, Uncle Deadly is on twitter now! He did a Q&A the other night, and I was totally following it the whole time I was supposed to be paying attention to the guest speaker at our meeting.
Don’t tell anyone I said that…
Follow Uncle Deadly @unclebydeadly on twitter. This is not sponsored; I just love Uncle Deadly.
Janice: “Oh, wow! Somebody looks like they had a good vacation!”
Kermit: “Oh, yeah, yeah, it was great! Denise and I just stayed home, played board games,”
Janice: “Um, actually I was talking to that super tan, relaxed spirit next to you, love your puka shells! Wanna grab a coconut water?”
Uncle Deadly to Gloria Estefan, who is yanking his beard: “No. Ow. Don’t. Stop. Let go. Cease. Desist.”
Miss Piggy: “Kermie! Bonus nachos, mi pequeña rana!”
Uncle Deadly: “She thinks she can speak Spanish now. It’s a nightmare.”
*Whispering* “A nightmaaaaare!”
Miss Piggy: “Good for you for running for charity; my cause is saving the penguins. Like this one I brought back in my cosmetics tote.”
Paché: “I’m thinking we do every show live, so that people can tweet at you in real time.”
Kermit: “Yeah, well the thing is that everyone here is not tech savvy.”
Animal to a muffin: “Siri, Siri?”
Miss Piggy: “We have to do everything Paché says. We have to YouTube, and Periscope, and update everything! Snapchat, tweetable moments, Oculus Rift, selfie stick!”
Kermit: “Okay, now you’re just saying stuff that your niece says.”
Uncle Deadly: “I am not happy about spending the night with you, Gloria Estefan. And that’s not the first time I’ve said that.”
Uncle Deadly: “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! Oh, you’ve ruined my martini! That is it! Oh, I’ve had enough! As my mother used to say, let’s let the old boob tube do some of the heavy lifting.”
*Turns on a show with penguins* “Ah. Now daddy gets his gossip mags.”
Miss Piggy – dressed as Miley Cyrus: “Yoo-hoo! Consider me updated! Doesn’t this make me look young?”
Scooter – sounding distressed: “No!”
Piggy: “But… It’s the full Miley!
*Dancing around* “Mmh, mmh, mh, uh mh mmmmm!!! Mm, mm,”
Kermit: “Uh, Piggy?”
Piggy – continuing to dance: “Twerk it, twerk it, twerk it, twerk it-”
Kermit: “Piggy! Piggy!”
Piggy: “Hmm? What? What?”
Kermit: “Yeah, uh, I think you’re spiraling here.
Denise: “Dooooh! Do you know how long a 5k is? Because I did not! The only thing that kept me going was pretending that the ground was your face!”
Miss Piggy: “Let me put it this way. When you’re alone, at the bottom of the world, looking out over the glaciers of Antarctica, and you think about all the people who live there… Without their own shows… Well… *Deep breath* It make you glad… You’ve got your own show.”
Uncle Deadly: “Oh! Gloria Estefan! You’ve gotten sick on my suede boots! A- and that is not the first time I’ve said that.”
This episode was the perfect way to bring back the show. It thoroughly addressed pretty much all the issues people had with it and made it so much better. And I thought it was good before, so now I think it’s amazing! They gave it more heart without taking away its edge, and they gave the Muppets more time to do skits and songs without taking away the mockumentary-style format this show has done so well. It’s totally the best of both worlds, and I loved every second.
What did you think of this episode? Do you like the new direction the show has taken?
Edited by: Kelly Conley