The Muppets: Swine Song
February 2, 2016 7:51 PM - Season 1, Episode 11 - Subscribe

The whole crew just returned from hiatus, and everyone is rested, recharged and ready to get back to work. But when a new branding guru (Utkarsh Ambudkar) comes in to revamp “Up Late,” the gang rallies together and realizes that they don’t need gimmicks and hijinks; they just need each other and a couple of familiar tunes to get them back on track.

Guest stars: Utkarsh Ambudkar as Pache (spelled exactly how it sounds... p-i-double-z-a -- "Branding 101... build your brand on an already established brand"), June Raphael as network president Lucy Royce, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Key & Peele, former television comedians and now maker/shipper of fine oven mitts via Etsy (and now contestants on Shark Tank!)
posted by filthy light thief (14 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't hate the retooling yet, but I'm interested to see just how far back toward the original Show they'll swing.

Good to see they're still embracing Deadly S the breakout star.
posted by Etrigan at 7:57 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

More adventures of Deadly and Gloria Estefan.
posted by PussKillian at 8:02 PM on February 2, 2016

"I am not happy about spending the night with you, Gloria Estefan."
[Penguin squawks]
"And that's not the first time I've said that."
posted by filthy light thief at 8:39 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Weirdly I felt vaguely upset at the Muppets allowing underage drinking. He's just a baby penguin, getting him served martinis at a public bar seemed way over the line unethical. Like he's what, twelve? And technically, kidnapped? And now I'm thinking a teenage runaway or a house pet? The felt line went blurry.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:07 AM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Okay, I would watch an entire series of "Pepe the Uber Driver".

Deadly is so on point that he almost overwhelms the entire episode. "Ah, the old familiar burn..." indeed.

I wish they would just give up on the Piggy-Kermit-Denise triangle. If Piggy and Kermit are going to be star-crossed, that's fine, but Denise is tacked on like an afterthought and isn't a great character.

Felt like the whole storyline about Pizza was a reference to the new showrunner and the fan reaction that he would ruin what has turned out to be a decent show, and their demonstration that it's still the Good Ol' Muppets. Maybe I'll feel differently after another couple of episodes, but I don't really want them to go back to more of the original Muppet Show, I want them to sharpen up this one.
posted by briank at 6:33 AM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

On the whole, I really liked this episode, but in reflection I think Key & Peele get the highest praise, after Uncle Deadly (who, as usual, gets top marks), followed by Pepe and Rizzo. I agree, the baby penguin bits were fun, until you realize Deadly tried to keep it in a box overnight, then got it drunk.

And because I had to know, Magellanic penguins reach maturity around 4 years old, and live to be 25 to 30 years old in the wild -- so I'm thinking this little penguin is actually baby, which is even more icky.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:12 AM on February 3, 2016

I think this show's problem all stems from them getting the characters -- the old characters, particularly the band -- wrong.

Yeah, that martini bit at the end was glaringly wrong, too.
posted by Catblack at 7:36 AM on February 3, 2016

I liked a lot of things in this episode. The entire Pizza (it's spelled exactly how it sounds) subplot got rather meta in a lot of weird ways to me, nearly making me wonder if someone involved with the show has been reading these Fanfare discussions. ("I make old things relevant.") Deadly was great from the cold open on, and Piggy bringing Kermit a coffee at the end of the opening credits was a wonderful change.

Key & Peele could start their own network as far as I am concerned.

Gloria Estafan and the alcohol thing didn't bother me. You can't really take a puppet show too literally, no matter how real the puppets are in your mind. I loved the scene in front of the TV where s/he has an open mouth in response to the penguin feeding scene.

Piggy shaking her boobs and twerking made me laugh out loud.

I loved the scene in the writers' room when they started an impromptu performance of the Fraggle Rock theme. That was a moment when I realized they were actually reforming the show in a direction that was going to please me.

What exactly are the logistics of getting two puppets with wire-controlled arms to hug?

Bobo trying to cross his fingers also made me laugh out loud.

I liked the song, even if they didn't actually do a full song, they did enough of one to make me warm and fuzzy about muppet singing moments once again.

I oddly found myself wondering about all the non-muppet humans in the background of the shots. Are they writers or otherwise involved with the show, or are they actually hired just as extras?

One would hope "and that is not the first time I said that" would catch on somehow.
posted by hippybear at 10:33 AM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

They've totally been reading these.

*stares at muffin*

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:58 AM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

OK episode, although Community-level meta. Bonus points if Denise is forever left as a background character. Deadly and Pepe are still great. Gloria Estefan must be a regular from now on. Key and Peele too (although, I'd still rather have Laurence Fishburne dropping randomly to tell Kermit how much the show sucked).
posted by lmfsilva at 11:08 AM on February 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

The puppetry of Gloria Estefan was fantastic. For a character with no lines, she was great.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't mind if Ambudkar either stuck around or came back occasionally, especially if they found a reason for him to sing.
posted by rewil at 12:08 PM on February 3, 2016

I loved the penguin tv bit too! That was a true guffaw moment.
posted by bq at 7:47 AM on February 4, 2016

I've been mentally comparing this to Greg The Bunny, the short lived show from the early 00s about a children's tv show with (live) puppets on it (starring Seth Green, Sarah Silverman, and Eugene Levy, among other incredibly talented people). Gtb went with a different puppet framework: the puppets were a real part of society but they were also really puppets. They were made of fabric and could be ripped, their brains were full of fluff so they couldn't do math, and there was a 'Puppet-American' subculture. The Muppets otoh seem to operate in a world where they are actually pigs, frogs, and bears. And... Monsters? Things? I dunno.
posted by bq at 7:52 AM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

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