The third episode of ABC’s The Muppets was so entertaining that I have almost been sold on the new series. When I tune in, I am still somewhat skeptical that my beloved Muppets are indeed back, but I am quickly delighted a few minutes into the show and disappointed when the episode is over. In “Bear Left Then Bear Write,” we are promised another episode focusing on Fozzie Bear, only it was cleverly done instead of an awkward parody of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). Fozzie has written a skit and asked Kermit to read it and offer his advice, is typical Kermit fashion, when he reads the terrible and unfunny skit, he tries to figure out a way to let Fozzie down easily. Kermit lies to Fozzie and tells him that he should turn it into a movie. Of course, this blows up in his face when Fozzie announces that he is leaving the show within the show Up Late with Miss Piggy in order to focus on writing his movie. Kermit is reminded of all the times that Fozzie has been there for him and what a wonderful best friend he has proven himself to be. Kermit sets out to find Fozzie in order to coax him back to the show and is determined to be a better friend to Fozzie. The concept of friendship is a recurring theme among almost every Muppet series and movie. Usually, Kermit flips out when the going gets tough and becomes tired of leading the Muppet troupe. The rest of the show or movie is spent trying to get the gang back together when Kermit realizes he is just as dependent on his friends as they are on him. The challenge that Muppet writers and performers have faced over the decades is to continually make this theme entertaining and making it appear fresh and new. Once again, they manage to pull it off. Meanwhile, Christina Applegate is the most recent guest on Up Late with Miss Piggy. Knowing that Kermit would never approve of showing a clip that would embarrass or upset Miss Piggy, Gonzo goes behind his back and lets Applegate show a clip from her birthday party when Miss Piggy trips and falls face first into the birthday cake. Miss Piggy spends the rest of the episode trying to find dirt on Applegate, to no avail. Miss Piggy is wonderful in this series. She is a larger than life, jealous, back biting, man hungry diva…just like she always has been! It is the characteristics that would be despised in anyone else that are endearing in Miss Piggy because she is hilarious when she is depicted this way. Deep down, we know she has a heart of gold. The entire time I watched this episode I found myself wishing that Up Late with Miss Piggy was a real late night talk show. Just in case I am wrong about the current series, it would be a fun option for the Muppets. After all, the Muppets have had an affiliation with The Tonight Show spanning most of their existence dating back to the 1950s and even including an episode in which Kermit the Frog guest hosted in April of 1979 to promote The Muppet Movie. It could never be as rough as The Chevy Chase Show (1993). The writers still do not seem to know what to do with Gonzo. In this episode, they recycled the online dating concept from the pilot episode. Instead of featuring Fozzie, this time it featured Gonzo who had posted a picture of Liam Helmsworth on his profile. He was set to meet Debbie, a lady he had met via the site. Pepe the Prawn, Rizzo, and Gonzo hatch a plan to have Hemsworth meet Debbie and trick her into saying looks did not matter to her and she was in love with Gonzo’s personality and not his looks. Jaded by fickle and shallow women from his past that only want him for his looks, Hemsworth became enamored with Debbie and ran off with her. Online dating seems to be the writers’ go-to plot line for cheap jokes when all other brainstorming has failed. I just hope next week’s episode does not include Scooter trying to find love online. The online dating jokes are old and were wasted in the pilot episode. It is time to move on. I am at a loss with Gonzo. He is one of my favorite characters, but I am not sure how he fits in the series. Perhaps he could try to find new, exciting, and bizarre acts for Miss Piggy’s show? I think the main problem with Gonzo’s role in this show is a difficult problem many ensemble television shows face, trying to get every character in every episode. The Facts of Life (1979) faced a similar problem. There were too many girls in the main cast and each episode faced the difficult task of featuring each girl. The show was almost cancelled, but it was given a total over haul and much of the original cast disappeared in order for the show to focus on just three of the original girls and introducing the Jo character to foil Blair. I think The Muppets faces a similar issue with Gonzo, Swedish Chef, Pepe the Prawn, Rizzo the Rat, and Rowlf the Dog. So far, the Swedish Chef has had a couple funny bits, but excuses to pop him into a scene will diminish over time. Rowlf the Dog has only been briefly seen as the owner and bartender of a local bar the Muppets go to in order to unwind. The episodes can only hold one or two subplots and there are too many Muppets to try to include all of them. I fear this is the weakest aspects of the show and its writing. If it is not handled well, it could be its Achilles’ Heel and finish off an already struggling series. That being said, Gonzo’s plotline introduced a new character, Debbie, that was designed for this show, although we probably will never see her again and it introduced a long forgotten character, Chip. Chip is the show’s IT guy. He was a nerdy technician that originally appeared in the MuppeTelevision scenes of The Jim Henson Hour (1989). He has an egg shaped head and has interesting shutter-style pupils that blink and work like the shutter on a camera. The original design and sketch of Chip was created by Michael Frith as a caricature of Muppet writer, Bill Prady. Chip has also appeared silently in Muppets Tonight, Muppets from Space, It’s a Very, Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. Chip is a nod to Prady’s earlier career as a computer programmer. Prady, who is also known as co-creator of The Big Bang Theory, is a writer and executive producer of The Muppets. Weak points aside, this was another strong showing for The Muppets. It has earned 3.5 rubber chickens! The Muppets 1.03 "Bear Left Then Bear Write"Jessica's Rating3.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.