The Muppets’ first season has come to a close through an hour-long finale that showcases the fifteenth and sixteenth episodes, “Generally Inhospitable” and “Because… Love.” Each episode tackles a different running plot to bring a little closure, though how successful they are is up for debate.
The first episode deals with Piggy breaking her ankle during rehearsal and insisting she’s fine despite the groans of everyone around her. Devious branding guru and show antagonist Pizza (“Pache”) wants to have her replaced with a guest host of his choosing while Kermit and Uncle Deadly have to force Piggy to go to the hospital against her will. To keep Pizza from meddling, Kermit has some of the supporting characters like Pepe, Yolanda, and Big Mean Carl keep an eye on him.
That plot is mainly a way to finish off Pizza’s involvement with the show, which isn’t much of a thread, considering it’s only his third episode and he was introduced as part of The Muppets’ retooling. The closure comes off as more of a hand wave than anything else, but it works out because of how entertaining this whole section of the show is. It’s mostly a cluster of the more entertaining characters messing around at their own devices, being separated from the seriousness.
It’s low-stakes, outside of the revelation that they might all go to prison (which is more of a way of saying, “We really need to move the plot along”), but I really can’t get enough of the Rizzo/Pepe stuff on the show. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed over the course of the series, it’s that the people in charge gradually came to realize that those two are way more entertaining than Fozzie and deserve more of the spotlight.
Big Mean Carl too. That guy’s been killing it lately.
The Kermit/Piggy section works really well. So much that the following episode kind of drops the ball on it. We have a moment where we get the expected Piggy violent outburst, only to have her emotionally break down and show off her vulnerabilities. It’s a great moment, even if it’s marred by the regular reminder of pigs’ roles in actual human society.
It’s weird, but it’s more noticeable in the latter episodes. All the Muppets are essentially people, but they exist in a world where many of their kinds are eaten on the reg. Like Pepe and Rizzo cooking Camilla’s eggs in last week’s episode. It’s…sort of creepy? Kind of disturbing when you think about it for a second? Then again, I guess I’m not really supposed to think about it.
Still, the idea that Piggy goes out to entertain a civilization that devours her kind is really messed up.
I would say the big problem of the episode is that once Kermit figures out a solution about halfway in, there’s no conflict left. It’s just coasting on whatever’s left in the runtime, which isn’t the worst, since it allows jokes, a Willie Nelson performance, and Miss Piggy tripping balls.
“Generally Inhospitable” ends on a beautiful cliffhanger and goes right into “Because… Love.”
I really, really wanted to like this one, but much of it falls flat. It’s about Kermit coming to realize that, as we all know, he still loves Piggy. At the same time, it’s complicated to go back to a relationship that ended messily and his coworkers all have different opinions on it.
I will say what’s great about it is that it puts the problems purely on Kermit’s shoulders. Kermit’s always been seen as the level-headed and reasonable one of the two and, yes, when he broke up with Piggy in the first place, it was because of her behavior. Still, from the very beginning of the series, Kermit was kind of a jerk for being narrow-minded, dating a rebound pig coworker, and not putting Piggy’s feelings on things into consideration. The show, especially the latter half, has been about Piggy improving as a person. She’s changed, but has Kermit?
All the conflict in them getting back together comes from Piggy being the reasonable one. Wacky.
Other than that, the episode never finds its point. Jokes are few and far-between, although the stuff about waffles, calzones, and a certain gift from Rizzo are all aces. The main issue is that it ends with a cliffhanger of its own that doesn’t do anything for me. I guess I can’t go too far into it without spoiling too much, but it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t really work as a hook into a potential next season. It feels like they figure that “something vague” will make more people interested in another batch of episodes instead of a decisive ending.
It’s a bad way to end the season and an even worse way to end the series if it comes to that.
Otherwise, The Muppets has had a pretty good run. It started rough, got exponentially better, then got reworked in a way where there were noticeable improvements and detriments. It brought a lot of laughs, a good deal of occasional heart, and really brought up some characters who otherwise wouldn’t stand out.
If there’s a second season, I’ll gladly keep watching. If there isn’t, I won’t cry about it. Besides, the Muppets will always land on their…puppeteers’ elbows? What I mean is, they’ll be back somehow.
Gavin Jasper could do with more Jack White/Dr. Teeth collaborations. Follow Gavin on Twitter!