On The Muppets Season 1 Episode 3, we follow the now-familiar premise of several guest stars who seem very happy to be there, and several Muppets who do not.
Audiences seem divided over whether or not this unkinder, ungentler version of The Muppets is working for them, but the show's ratings suffered a precipitous drop from week one to two, so it'll be interesting to see the writers respond to that.
Fozzie becomes convinced that he is a great writer, a dream that his best friend, Kermit, can't bring himself to crush.
I should just sell my house and move back to Mississippi. Lower taxes, all the mosquitos you can eat; i can make that work.
Rather than tell Fozzie that he should stick to comedy (which is ironic, since Fozzie's jokes are universally considered to be terrible), Kermit suggests that Fozzie make his work into a screenplay, which is like telling a child to go sweep up all the sand on the beach: a fruitless task that will at least keep them busy a long time.
Unfortunately, Fozzie takes Kermit's encouragement too much to heart and runs away to the woods to write his opus. Of course, Fozzie is an urban sophisticate and doesn't fare too well out in nature, so it's up to Kermit to rescue him in one of the few genuinely kind acts he's done so far this season.
So the A Story is cute, even if Fozzie's neediness is starting to wear thin.
The main reward/drawback (depending on how you feel about it) of Fozzie's absence is the appearance of Nick Offerman as the show's new writer. While Offerman reliably provides that maniacal glint couched in a gruff exterior, it's also painful to see our beloved Ron Swanson made so thoroughly unlikable.
Scarcely better is the guest appearance of Christina Applegate, who surprises everyone by airing an embarrassing clip of Miss Piggy. Naturally, Gonzo snuck the clip in, since Kermit's incessant handling of Piggy would never have allowed it.
Fozzie: I knew you wouldn't approve it so I went over your head.
Kermit: I'm the boss.
Fozzie: Oh that's right. So I went behind your back.
Of course, Piggy is humiliated when America sees her fall face-first into a cake (and presumably is growing tired of 90% of her jokes centering around her weight), so she plots revenge.
Piggy: I'm telling you this because we're friends: we are no longer friends.
Her vengeance is entirely forgettable, but for the presence of Chip the IT Guy, who I find terrifying. I don't know if it's his eyes or his teeth or his weird, fleshy tongue, but that guy is creepy as hell.
The best plot of the episode is also the smallest, with Liam Hemsworth helping Gonzo get a date. My one audible chuckle of the evening came from his one-liner.
I've been gorgeous since birth but I have struck out a few times. Just at a super high level.Liam Hemsworth
Taken separately, I enjoyed all three of the guest stars this week, but as a collection, they seemed like a desperate attempt to snag every conceivable demographic, from tweens to moms. The episode as a whole felt rushed and busy, although it was nice to see Kermit find some compassion and Liam Hemsworth finally find someone who won't judge him on his looks alone.
Be sure to watch The Muppets online and let us know who your favorite guest appearance of the night was.