Jarrod Fairclough – Back in August last year, the internet went in to meltdown when it was announced that Kermit and Miss Piggy had ended their relationship. While there was a lot of table flipping and over used ‘grave turning’ comments, I also saw a lot of people remarking that both the frog and the pig were better off without each other. Miss Piggy was never the most loving girlfriend over the years, and it could sometimes be difficult to understand exactly what Kermit saw in her. And while the first few episodes of The Muppets continued the dynamic, it gradually started to show just why these two worked in the first place, which was the main focus of this episode.
When Kermit’s nephew comes to town, Kermit and Miss Piggy have to pretend they never split up, so as not to upset an already rattled Robin. The exes spend an entire day back in the rhythms they’ve both been working so hard to get over, only to have it all blow up in their face when a clueless Scooter tweets that the couple are back on, and the media hunts them down. They are forced to admit to Robin that they’ve been lying, but that ultimately it doesn’t change how they feel about him – it was all very Full House.
Back in my review of Episode 11, I said that despite all the flaws in their relationship, Kermit and Miss Piggy work. And it continues to shine through, as writers Dave Caplan, Jordan Reddout and Gus Hickey (incidentally my favorite name ever) have written a script that aims, and succeeds, to demonstrate the chemistry between the two. It begins when Miss Piggy hears that Kermit and Denise are no more, and for a brief second her heart breaks for him, but at the same time it swells as she realizes that the window she thought was closed has the smallest opening still. Yes, she went to Argentina and learnt that she doesn’t need a man, and she’s absolutely right – she doesn’t. But still, a man would be nice, and who better than the love of her life? It goes to show just how much Piggy has evolved in this series that she’d be willing to go along with a lie that messes with her emotions for the sake of Kermit and Robin, who she has a strong relationship with. It’s a sweet sentiment, and something I’m not sure Piggy could have gotten away with in the past 15 years. She started to become such a Flanderized version of herself for a long time that it’s nice to see Piggy become a whole character again. I’d be genuinely interested to hear what Frank Oz, her original performer, thinks of Miss Piggy in this show.
Kermit and Miss Piggy have had a lot of fun together over the years, both on screen and off (according to the show. I’m aware they are fictional characters), as it’s revealed that they once accidentally attended a party for a dictator and ended up hiding in a bunch of art. That aspect of fun in the relationship is highlighted as they team up to shoot a bunch of families and children in the laser tag arena, and that spark continues to shine in the black light. It’s undeniable that they should be together, and it’s a testament to Steve Whitmire and Eric Jacobson that their voices and their right hands can emote so much. No matter who they’re performing, these two have chemistry and timing that almost rivals that of Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Their years of performing Ernie and Bert, Piggy and Foo Foo, Kermit and Fozzie, and Statler and Animal (okay, so they’ve never been a duo, but they totally should be) has almost been rehearsal for those moments that Kermit and Miss Piggy stare longingly at each other. I can only hope that this characterisation and relationship continues to evolve, no matter what comes after next weeks season finale (#RenewTheMuppets).
This episode saw the return of Robin, who hasn’t been seen in any great capacity in a long time. Besides a one word cameo in Muppets Most Wanted, some background appearances, and a few appearances on Jimmy Fallon, this is the most we’ve seen of Robin since Matt Vogel took over, following the retirement of his original performer Jerry Nelson. I’ll admit it was a little jarring seeing Robin open his mouth and hearing a slightly different voice, but within the first minute I was used to it, and I loved Matt’s childlike portrayal of the little guy. Robin is a welcome presence, and while I don’t think he’ll become a series regular if the show gets picked up for a second season (#RenewTheMuppets) I’m sure he’ll return occasionally to hang out with Uncle Kermit and Aunt Miss Piggy. It was a shame that they didn’t explore or even mention the relationship Robin has with Sweetums, which must be established in this universe as well, as Kermit has this photo framed on his desk. I can understand the issue though, as Matt Vogel performs both characters now, but I hope they don’t ignore it in future episodes.
The episodes B story had Rizzo and Pepe looking for a wingman now that Gonzo is back with Camilla, staying in to watch Chicken Run and Logan’s Run every night. They narrow it down to Sam the Eagle, Big Mean Carl and Chip, the IT guy. When the show started I hoped and prayed that the show would find ways to have characters who don’t usually interact with each other thrown in to situations where they would have to. It happened with Bobo and The Newsman back in Episode 2, which I was a huge fan of. Having Sam, Big Mean Carl and Chip evolve in to their own little group was a lot of fun, and I hope the series gets a second season if only to see how the three of them continue the unlikely kinship between them. Pepe’s flirtation with Good Morning America anchor Lara Spencer was fine, but it’s one of the few instances of needing to know the full story before the episode, as Pepe and Lara have been flirting on GMA for years, making his ultimate rejection the culmination of 10 years of creepiness. Of course, Gonzo returns to the trio when Camilla tells him it’s fine to have some nights apart. After all, she has some gorgeous friends who can come around to hang out, which ultimately ends in a cliche pillow fight. I’ll admit that as a single straight male, this scene was just delightful, if a little out of place for a Muppet show.
The show continues to shine after its retooling under Kristen Newman. Her devotion to making these characters great again is a real beacon of hope, and it’s a shame that the season is ending with an uncertain future with a double episode next week. With any luck, the higher ups at ABC are listening to our calls, and are willing to give the show the second season it so rightly deserves. Kristen Newman and the writers deserves a chance to keep the great work up, these performers deserve the chance to do what they do on a more regular basis, and these characters deserve a chance to show the world why we love them.
- If you follow us on Twitter and Facebook, you’ll notice that we’ve teamed up with our friends at ToughPigs to get the hashtag #RenewTheMuppets trending. It’s already had a great response from the Muppet performers and Kristin Newman. Please support the show in every way you can. You can find the different ways you can contribute to the show’s success right here!
- This episode was directed by our good pal Bill Barretta, in his directorial debut! Congratulations on a fantastic job, Bill!
- It was nice to see real puppets used in the photos of Kermit, Piggy and Robin’s adventures, rather than the frankly horrible photo puppets Disney has been guilty of using in the past.
- Robin eating the wax was some of my favorite puppetry in the series so far. There were no tricks – just Matt Vogel moving his fingers and thumb around, playing with the puppets mouth.
- That said, the puppetry in the Gonzo/Camilla yoga scene was amazing as well.
- Pepe grabbing the eggs marked ‘Possible Offspring’ to make an omelette was a pretty dark joke. But not as dark as the meat Gonzo accidentally kneed on Camilla.
- Big Mean Carl assures everyone that the recently digested Foo Foo ‘got the ball. He’s happy’
- I don’t buy Fozzie being such a terrible actor, but I sure do enjoy it.
- If Steve and Eric are ever unavailable, can The Swedish Chef please perform Kermit and Piggy with his makeshift fruit puppets? Because I could watch another hour of that.
- Did you notice the janitor behind Robin and The Swedish Chef? He seemed to be ice skating and then tripped. You notice these things on your third viewing.
- Scooter has a Pinterest page about miniature horses. Because of course he does.
- Drunk Pepe is my favorite Pepe.
- ‘Cool. Nothing fixes a broken home like a chair’
- ‘Monday funtimes! Whoops, sorry, I didn’t mean to cuss in front of a child’
- ‘Princess Diana’s ghost did not marry that alien. They’re just living together!’
- ‘This is the third least important secret I am currently keeping’
- ‘Two people is a couple or the last surviving members of an ageing rock band. Three? That’s a posse’
- ‘You made me the first person in the world to lie on Twitter!’
- ‘I’m sad that my Mom and Dad broke up, but I get why they aren’t together. My Mom likes quiet nights in, and my Dad likes my teacher’
- ‘You know, maybe I will become a priest. Si, really, really. It’s just another kind of turtleneck’