‘The Muppets’: S01/E01 ‘Pig Girls Don’t Cry’ Review


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THE MUPPETS

Title Season Number Episode Number Episode in Series Written by Directed by Appearances by Air Date My Grade
Pig Girls Don’t Cry #01 #01 #01 Bill Prady, Bob Kushell Randall Einhorn Elizabeth Banks (herself), Tracy Anderson (herself), Tom Bergeron (himself), Imagine Dragons (themselves), Riki Lindhome (Becky), Meagen Fay (Holly), Jere Burns (Carl) 09/22/2015 Grade: B

WHERE WE LEFT OFF

The last Muppet property before this was the 2014 feature film ‘Muppets Most Wanted’. This is the pilot episode of the series. The build up all summer has centered around the breakup of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. This will clearly be the driving story behind the series.
The concept is that The Muppets are the staff of a new late night talk show called ‘Up Late with Miss Piggy’. Kermit serves as Executive Producer, Gonzo and others are on the writing staff, Fozzy is the warm-up act and announcer, Scooter is the talent coordinator, and the house band is naturally Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.If you don’t know who the star of the show is, I’d like to welcome you to Earth, please enjoy your stay.
There is a documentary crew shooting behind the scenes footage and we’re being exposed to the personal lives of our favorite Muppet characters. Yes, it is essentially ‘The Office’ but with Muppets.


THE MAIN EVENT

The main plot of the story is that Miss Piggy insists that Kermit cancel the booking of Elizabeth Banks on her show. At first Kermit complies and Tom Bergeron is booked as the new guest star.
When Kermit’s new girlfriend Denise, who works in the network’s marketing department, informs him that Miss Piggy had a bad screen test with Banks, he decides that is no reason to remove her from the show. Attempts are made to hide Banks from Miss Piggy, but of course they fail. Unfortunately for Kermit, Miss Piggy’s reason for not having Elizabeth Banks on the show is far more personal. Kermit really is an insensitive toad.
Things are eventually smoothed over and Elizabeth Banks appears as originally scheduled on ‘Up Late with Miss Piggy’. This news is somehow not communicated to Tom Bergeron in one of the episode’s funnier bits. Imagine Dragons perform their new single as the musical guests.


THE SUPPORTING STORY

The show’s secondary plot involves Fozzy Bear going to meet the parents of Becky, his new girlfriend. This is when her parents discover that Fozzy is a bear and they don’t take it well. Jere Burns as Carl (Becky’s father) cracking on Fozzy and being strongly opposed to woman/bear love is my favorite guest star on the entire show.
The secondary plot intersects with the main story when Fozzy brings Becky’s parents backstage to meet Miss Piggy before the show. Unfortunately, they are there at the same time that Piggy discovers the deception with Elizabeth Banks. This does nothing to help Fozzy’s cause.


MEMORABLE MOMENT

My favorite scene from the whole episode involves Scooter and Elizabeth Banks. Scooter is giving Elizabeth a tour of the studio to keep her away from Miss Piggy, and Elizabeth is less than impressed. Scooter tells her that since she’s an actor she could at least act like she appreciates him taking time out of his day to give her the tour. Eventually, it gets physical in a violent sort of way.
That felt like a scene that could have been done on ‘The Muppet Show’ or at least one that Jim Henson would have approved of quite a bit.


BULLET POINTS

  • Apparently, Tom Bergeron only merits the regular salami in his apology basket
  • When Carl wonders if Becky and Fozzy’s potential children would go to the bathroom in the woods, Fozzy calls it a stereotype. I wonder how many children looked to their parents for an explanation?
  • There’s an old saying that: “The road will own you”. Apparently it has owned Animal, as he told Imagine Dragons: “Too many women, too many towns” when they invited him out on the road with them.
  • Animal as a player is an idea that is a mix of funny and frightening… but mostly frightening
  • Sam the Eagle as the Standards and Practices guy is the perfect role for him.
  • I haven’t made my mind up on Denise just yet, but it is nice to see an actual female puppeteer (Julianne Buescher) assume the role.
  • So it is apparently Kermit who is coping with his split from Miss Piggy by binge eating. Going the other way would have been too obvious, I suppose.
  • I’ve been watching the Muppets since I was a kid and I remain baffled by Kermit and Miss Piggy’s relationship. I’ve always thought Kermit was more of an unwilling participant, but apparently he found her sexy.
  • Am I the only one who would rather watch ‘Dancing with the Czars’ than ‘Dancing with the Stars’?
  • Statler and Waldorf are my favorite Muppets, but I have to wonder if they are ever going to be funny again. They’re heckling in this episode was kind of weak, and it feels like it has been that way since Jim Henson passed.

FINAL ANALYSIS

Many people have wondered about the adult nature of the show. In truth, there has always been adult humor in The Muppets, but this series is more “in your face” about it. There has been backlash, including that most useless of maneuvers, an Internet petition.
Here is the cold hard truth about the adult humor of this series. For awhile it is going to seem like a novelty because it is kind of different. A rock band with substance abuse issues is practically cliche at this point, but Muppets with substance abuse issues is a more novel idea. However, the novelty will wear off quickly and the show will be forced to draw humor from the show’s main concept and familiar characters. There are moments in ‘Pig Girls Don’t Cry’ where I thought they were still able to hit on that classic Muppet humor and that gives me hope.
Whether this show is a success in the long run will depend on two things. How long will the novelty of seeing The Muppets in more adult situations last and what will be left when that novelty wears off? Right now, it is too soon to tell.


MAKING THE GRADE

I’m going to give this episode a B. There were some good bits that held up on repeat viewings, and I can see that the show has potential to grow. How many sitcoms can you think of where the pilot episode of the series ended up being the best episode of the series? If the pilot is the best episode, chances are the series did not last long.


EXPLAINING THE GRADE

In order to do a thorough review, I will view an episode multiple times before writing my review. However, my intent is to grade the episode based off of my initial impression. I use a standard A to F grading scale and strive to judge each episode on its own merit.

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