The Muppets S01E02 “Hostile Makeover” Review
Airing in the UK on Sky One, Mondays, 8pm
Teleplay by: Dave Caplan & Gregg Mettler
Story by: Bill Prady & Bob Kushell
Director: Randall Einhorn
Essential Plot Points:
- Miss Piggy is a monster at work because she has no date for the Peoples’ Choice Awards, so Kermit sets her up with Josh Groban.
- The couple start dating, which means that the office is suddenly heavenly, but the show is horrendous as Groban influences Miss Piggy’s choices.
- Fozzie befriends Jay Leno, but can’t help stealing from him.
We had our concerns with the tone of the first episode of this series, but now that episode two has rolled around it almost feels like a different show – far more family-friendly (despite an amusing joke about dopeheads loving cookies), with more slapstick laughs to tickle kids’ funny bones – such as Kermit trying to leap like a frog, and failing miserably. The pacing also seems faster and the humour smoother, with laughs flowing naturally rather than feeling carefully set up. All in all, this episode feels considerably more confident than its predecessor.
It’s a curious change, mind you: given how much work always goes into the first episode of a new series, it’s generally accepted that episode two isn’t quite as punchy as the first, as all the energy has already been spent. But “Hostile Makeover” is a riot from beginning to end. Assuming these episodes are airing in the order in which they were made – we don’t know for sure – the cast and crew have found their feet astonishingly quickly. Then again, the Muppets team has been doing this in various incarnations since Jim Henson first debuted them in 1955, so it’s hardly as if they’re newbies…
- Josh Groban
- Jay Leno
- Lea Thompson
- Laurence Fishburne
- Reza Aslan
- Miss Piggy throwing a strop is as iconic a part of The Muppets as Kermit throwing his arms in the air and crying, “Yayyyy!” It’s lovely to see it here.
- And then Kermit throws his arms in the air and cries, “Yayyyy!” All the classics, present and correct!
- “We’ve created a colour-coded alert system to track Miss Piggy’s moods,” says Kermit. “Green: she’s calm… But she’s never been at green.” Kudos to voice actor Steve Whitmire for delivering this line with the perfect amount of pathos and sadness to make you realise just how hellish Kermit’s life must be.
- Without a doubt, the funniest moment comes when Kermit nearly rams into Laurence Fishburne’s golf cart on the studio lot – “Watch where you’re goin’, frog!” the actor yells, before chasing him down to hurl more abuse a few seconds later. Morpheus and Kermit having a fight? Someone needs to make a movie of this.
- There are so many little touches you could easily miss on first viewing, such as the fact that Kermit’s office is full of jungle plants and has a humidifier pumping out steam in one corner – he is a frog, after all. Check out his “World’s Greatest Producer” mug, too.
- Author Reza Aslan’s shocked expression when Miss Piggy asks him, “You write so eloquently about history. Where do you get your ideas?” is priceless.
- We get what the writers were trying to achieve by showing Statler and Waldorf being bewitched by Groban and Miss Piggy singing, but having Statler shout, “Woo!” feels so out-of-character for the grumpy old curmudgeon that it made us wince. Then again, Waldorf looked just as shocked.
- The scenes between Fozzie and Leno are sweet at first, but wander perhaps a little too far into Larry David territory by the end. Car-crash television and so awkward to watch – you’ll be squirming…
And The Random:
- We’ve already decided not to spend too much time discussing the vagaries of puppeteering in these reviews, but have to admit we’re baffled as to how Miss Piggy is being operated here. Is someone lying inside that piano?!
- The whiteboard shows a list of men Miss Piggy fancies – and her tastes are hugely varied, with everybody from Keanu Reeves to Brad Pitt to, er, Gérard Depardieu.
- Keanu Reeves, we’re told, isn’t able to take Miss Piggy to the awards because he’s put on weight to play “that Hawaiian ukulele player”. For those wondering, they’re talking about Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. You can watch him singing his biggest hit here. And now, imagine him as Keanu…
- Best Quote Miss Piggy: “How DARE you try to calm me down with cake! [waits a beat] Give me that cake!”
Reviewed by Jayne Nelson