“Pig Out” gives us a view of the absurdity of The Muppets that has been generally lacking so far in this new reincarnation, and the results are the funniest we’ve seen.

The biggest problem with The Muppets so far has been the general over abundance of different story aspects in an episode providing too little time per story to really allow the jokes to progressively build up to some kind of absurd punchline. “Pig Out” fortunately limits the episode to a single side storyline involving Fozzie shooting Statler in the face with a shirt cannon, and even that storyline was very concise yet contains an expected, though still great, payoff.

In the main storyline, we have Miss Piggy catching wind that the crew frequently goes out after the show for drinks at Rowlf’s bar without her, infuriating her desperate need to be loved. In prime manipulative Piggy fashion, she cons Kermit into forcing the crew to ask her to join them, which she of course accepts much to the horror of everyone.

THE MUPPETS - "Pig Out"-  (ABC/Nicole Wilder) BEAKER, DR. BUNSEN HONEYDEW

THE MUPPETS – “Pig Out”- (ABC/Nicole Wilder)
BEAKER, DR. BUNSEN HONEYDEW

From here, we get our best scenes of the series so far. The crew hanging out in an escalating party complete with insane karaoke and general absurd mayhem we would come to expect from an unrestrained muppet crew. I think one of the biggest things holding the crew back is the generally regulated office environment that wasn’t quite present in the original variety show backstage show. Here in the bar though the crew lets loose with their personality, and we get one of the most amazing things I’ve seen on television in ages, the Swedish Chef singing Rapper’s Delight.

THE MUPPETS - "Pig Out"- (ABC/Andrea McCallin) ANIMAL

THE MUPPETS – “Pig Out”- (ABC/Andrea McCallin)
ANIMAL

I still have my concerns in that all of this insanity involves a crew unrestrained by the fun murderer Kermit, who maybe keeps too tight of a fist over the crew. Even Liz Lemmon attempted to keep the crew in check, but that crew found plenty of opportunity to get creative in their jobs, and I worry that a too heavily Kermit focused show won’t let us see the absurdity that The Muppets needs.

“Pig Out” delivers what the show can be when Kermit takes a forced step back and lets his crew go off the rails, and the results are brilliant.

Other Observations

  • Sam the buzzkill’s weekly axe: Piggy cannot jump into a vat of chocolate pudding
  • “Here in Los Angeles, yellow light means update your Facebook status!” That was actually funny Fozzie!
  • “My PHD stands for pretty hard-drinking.” No truer words said.
  • Swedish Sushi. – Meatballs and Rice
  • This week’s star is Ed Helms
  • “Of course she said yes, she’s so desperate to be love she conned me into being part of her sordid scheme.”
  • The final smirk from Kermit is probably the first time we’ve seen something go sorta right for him so far.
  • “Hey, you sexy side of sausage!”
  • “If I ever shot you, you’d be lying face down in front of my fireplace!” That’s really dark, Statler.

A note on the episode promotion

The show promos department completely missed the mark by showcasing the Swedish Chef singing Rapper’s Delight in the episode teaser (which I didn’t see prior to watching the episode). That was by far the greatest point of the episode, and would have been far more effective if you had not seen the promo beforehand. I was filled with stunned joy like the rest of the bar when he started that. I think any of the other karaoke scenes, especially one with Ed Helms would have been enough of a tease to bring in viewers to the eventual high point of Rapper’s Delight.