The Muppets S01E06 “The Ex Factor” REVIEW

The Muppets S01E06 “The Ex Factor” REVIEW

Piggy and Kristin

stars 4

Airing in the UK on Sky One, Mondays, 8pm
Writers: Bob Kushell, Steve Rudnick (teleplay); Nell Scovell, Emily Wilson (story)
Director: Randall Einhorn

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • It’s Denise’s birthday, but Kermit is hopeless at buying gifts. So, desperate and against his better judgement, he asks Miss Piggy to get something for her. An ex buying a gift for a new girlfriend?
  • Hmm, not your wisest decision, Kermit… but actually, Miss Piggy (almost) does him proud.
  • Kristin Chenoweth guests on the show and the band asks her to play at a party in the desert.
  • Her presence in their camper van, however, soon kick-starts some fighting.
  • Scooter’s secret hobby is revealed: he loves painting ceramics.

Kermit's art

Review:

Ah, that old, “I don’t know what to buy this new person I’m dating for their birthday” trope, eh? Always guaranteed to touch a nerve, because let’s face it, we’ve all been through it. And when you’re as hopeless as Kermit, you ask your ex for advice: train wreck ahoy!

We all expect Miss Piggy to show her true diva colours and buy Denise something to end the relationship. But instead, she shows a softer side and buys a thoughtful gift instead (albeit with a secret message inside – the jewellery box plays the song her and Kermit used to say was their own… ouch!). Sometimes it’s hard to picture the inimitable Miss Piggy as anything other than a shrieking harridan, but moments like this go a long way towards explaining why she’s not just a figure you love to hate – there’s a squishy heart in there, too.

It’s also nice to see her chatting with Kristin Chenoweth at the show’s start, because the two seem to be firm friends – Miss Piggy actually is liked by other performers, and it’s not all a front. D’awwww, for a foam puppet, she’s actually fairly three-dimensional, isn’t she?

And speaking of foam puppets, when Denise first comes over to talk to Kristin, check out Miss Piggy’s face. How fabric can radiate such disgust is a mystery, but it does…

Piggy's face

Elsewhere, we blessedly lose Fozzie this week in favour of a sub-plot about the band, who are as wonderfully stoned, spaced-out and ludicrous as we’d ever want them to be. Taking them out to the desert is a stroke of genius – somehow Animal’s hair looks fabulous blowing in the breeze – and their falling-out over who’s sleeping with who (and who’s paying who) is marvellously performed.

Is anyone else worrying now about how poor Kristin got home, mind you?

Animal's hair blowing

 

The Guests:

  • Kristin Chenoweth

 

The Good:

  • Miss Piggy and Kristin bonding. “You handled yourself beautifully!” says Kristin, after Denise walks away. “I am pretty good with kids,” nods Miss Piggy. BURN!
  • Kermit’s assistant translates female speak to him – as in: when a woman says she doesn’t want a birthday present, she actually does. Is it any coincidence that week’s script was written by two women? It’s true, guys, it really is.
  • Gonzo’s birthday present suggestions are priceless. “Girls are always asking if they look fat – with a scale, they can know for sure!”
  • Kermit’s dresser, Dudley, seems to get more to say each week. And he’s hilarious. Look out, Pepe, he’s threatening to steal your crown of Funniest Muppet!

 

The Bad:

Creepy Chip

  • What is the deal with Chip? Jokes about him stalking Denise’s emails are really creepy, as is Chip himself. He does get to deliver a funny line, though (see below).
  • Miss Piggy and Kristin singing “I Could Have Danced All Night” is a crime against eardrums everywhere. But it’s nice to see Kristin, well-known for everything from Glee to Broadway shows, so cheerfully parodying her knack of hitting a screeching high note at the end of a song that really didn’t need one.

 

The Random:

Animal in the back

  • When the band drive out to the desert, Animal is in the back of the camper behind a grill, just like you’d use to section off a dog. Course, it turns out they’re just beads, but the illusion still works – and he behaves like a dog anyway, doesn’t he?

 

Best Quote:

  • Kermit: “Chip, close the laptop!” Chip: “But then I don’t know what to do with my eyes.”

 

Reviewed by Jayne Nelson


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