Mitchell Stein- Just when you thought this show couldn’t possibly have gotten any better: It gets better. Adding to the five-thousand Christmas productions the Muppets have put on, The Muppets gives a perfect mid-season send off for the characters as we await the final six episodes beginning in February.
But not only doesn’t it feature the cast of The Muppets! Guest starring this week is the awesome Mindy Kaling! Indeed, we are obsessed with her as well. Mindy is probably one of the best uses of guest star appearances on the show so far, tying second place with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Dave Grohl from last weeks appearance.
But the greatest thing about this weeks’ episode is that we finally sort of get some closure on some running gags and continuing story lines giving it a proper send off before the Christmas break. Thank goodness what I feared would be a cheesy lazy way to throw Kermit and Piggy back together again was instead a thoughtful and heartfelt moment within the two which is a stepping stone to what we all know will be inevitable by the end of the season- which I’m totally excited for, but I am so wonderfully thrilled by the Kermit and Piggy relationship for the first time in years, so I’m actually really enjoying seeing the hilariousness and heartbreaking moments within the two on that journey. Plus, Denise has become one of my new favorite characters, so it’d be a real loss if she was written off the show and never seen again, so I do hope this relationship continues to play out for just a bit longer.
Other relationships that played themselves out this week were Fozzie Bear and Becky (Riki Landham) and Sam the Eagle and Janice. Still trying to fathom how that’s a thing, but man has it been fresh and funny, so I couldn’t be happier about these two. At first the breakup between Fozzie and Becky rubbed off as a lame tie-up for taking care of a subplot which garnered much controversy, but I’m glad things aren’t quite done with the two. Although that relationship feels like it hits a bit off a missed opportunity, I’m glad that things aren’t over for Fozzie yet. I want that bear to be happy. And the fact that I actually care about a fictional bear in a television show is the indication that this series is doing a good job at things.
Not only is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but it’s also incredibly impeccably Muppety. What we’ve witnessed in the past four or five episodes felt like something easily worthy of the mayhem of The Muppet Show. Obviously The Muppet Show is pretty much unreachable in comparison, the past few episodes alone have been so spectacular that it’s an easy second best. I’m glad the writers learned the characters can be fun and fresh without being too snarky to each other. With all those changes it feels a bit more like The Muppet Show than “office sitcom starring The Muppets”. Maybe the only criticism I would have is to parody the mockumentary format a bit more rather than just using it. It’s become more of a plot device than a joke factor, so maybe we need a bit more of mocking modern television to make it fit a bit better.
The Muppets is a show that truly pays off in the long run. Sure, some episodes were better than others, but last night’s winter finale succeeded in accomplishing what a great winter finale should be. Allowing some closure on some stories, while leaving a few open to be further explored after the holidays.
Oh yeah, some band named Echosmith make an appearance on this week’s show for about seven seconds of screen time. I don’t really know what to make of such a short appearance. It doesn’t really add anything to the episode and there’s not even any interaction with the Muppets, so it just feels like a total loss of a guest star appearance. Also Scooter recycles the same jokes about Ken and his weird relationship with his mom. Looks like Scooter’s character trait is now “that dork that lives with his mom”. I’d be very satisfied with an episode in which Scooter’s mom and Ken pay a visit to the studio to the embarrassment of Scooter, and Ken befriending The Electric Mayhem. As long as something fresh or newly funny comes out of this weird relationship, I’ll hold back from complaining about Scooter’s new tiresome character trait.
But even that lackluster miss of a guest appearance or recycled tiresome jokes won’t bog down the awesomeness of this episode. Once again, The Muppets managed to blend humor and heart together for a highly satisfying mid-season conclusion to the biggest will they/won’t they celebrity couple of the decade. Adding another wonderful addition to the ridiculously huge roster of Muppet Christmas related productions.
With that, the entire first half of The Muppets comes to a wrap, and it’s incredible to see how far it’s come. From a rough start to some pleasant surprises, The Muppets has morphed itself into something truly spectacular and it’s been quite a fun ride since. I’ll miss this show for the next six weeks. See ya in February, gang!
- Avid Muppet fans will have noticed the Swedish Chef’s wedding ring in the past, but this week was the first in-universe mention of the Chef actually being married. The gag started long ago in which performer Bill Barretta was wearing his real life wedding ring and the fact has stuck with the character since, with the ring appearing on plushes and figures since.
- [Obligatory weekly comment about the absence of Walter. Seriously. Where is that guy?]
- Please more Rowlf’s Tavern-centric moments! I love the moments in which the Muppets hang out and let loose at the bar. Also an appearance by Rowlf is always something truly exciting.
- I adore that every week has featured at least one musical moment and this weeks giant musical number is both equally fantastic and heartwarming.