Mitchell Stein- Now that the first half of The Muppets first season is over, what are we left to do with these few long weeks as we eagerly await Episode 11? Multiple rewatches, ranking, and nitpicking the best and worst episodes, of course!
Some episodes hit it rough and some worked marvelously, but The Muppets has truly morphed into something special. Now that the first ten episodes are finally out for your holiday binge watch pleasure, means we are finally going to rank the top ten episodes of The Muppets from worst to best for your pleasure.
Of course, this is just my personal opinion and I imagine there are many different opinions on the matter of the true best episodes of The Muppets so I’m interested in hearing what your favorite episodes are. Please share your favorites in the comments below!
Now, let’s get things started.
#10: Pig Girls Don’t Cry (Pilot)
Maybe this might come as a surprise to some. And honestly it’s a bit of a surprise to myself. But as I think it over there’s truly no other episode that deserves the bottom spot than Episode 1 does. It isn’t bad by all means, but looking a look back at the quality in comparison, the pilot didn’t do a great job at launching The Muppets back into primetime as they should have. Maybe the format was too forced or the weird sex jokes felt out of place (The Muppets are known to be better at those jokes when they’re a bit more subtle).
I haven’t quite put my finger on what it is, but something about the characters out of place snarkiness threw this show for a loop. It was a absolute hilarious episode and well-directed, but no doubt it belongs way down at the bottom.
#9: Walk The Swine
Maybe I’m in the minority of people that actually thought this episode was good, but it features some truly hilarious subplots. Obviously characterization was way out of place, but the side plots were really funny. Rizzo weaseling Scooter after damaging his car, and sending him all over the city to his shoddy rat relatives was hilarious, and began Scooter’s great series breakout. Was not a fan of Fozzie’s characterization for the sake of a cheap joke, but with Piggy’s rivalry with Reese Witherspoon and a great musical number make this episode a rather fun one.
#8: Hostile Makeover
Episode 2 was an indication of a show still learning to find it’s proper footing. It was only the second episode and it was already so entirely different than it’s pilot episode, showing that this show can be so diverse and different with each episode, and an indication that it was still figuring out what works in a format the characters have never been before.
But this episode has many merits. I love the B-plot with Fozzie stealing a candydish from Jay Leno’s party and the C-plot with Bobo and the Newsman bantering about selling cookies Girl Scout cookies for their daughters troupe is absolutely fantastic, which makes it a memorable episode.
#7: Pig Out
Again, I really don’t hate any of the episodes, but Pig Out didn’t quite cut it for me the same way the other ones did. The Karaoke scene is admittedly one of the show’s funniest moments, but the bare story and rather luckluster use of a great guest star push it to the bottom. Still, a great episode, but is pushed to the bottom by far more superior episodes.
#6 The Ex-Factor
Finally, we get an actual great look at why Denise is a character worth caring about. It’s a bit of a generic sitcom trope, but I actually enjoyed this story about Kermit unsure of what to buy his new girlfriend for her birthday. We even get a full on Electric Mayhem subplot featuring weekly guest star Kristen Chenoweth. Granted, the Electric Mayhem end up being kinda jerky by ditching Chenoweth in middle of the desert, it was still a super fun episode and 0ur A-plot was worth waiting through.
#5: Too Hot to Handler
Yes! More Scooter-centric episodes please! I would have never thought Scooter would end up becoming the MVP of a weekly Muppet series, and I’m so glad that this has happened. Scooter has pretty much delivered some of the series’ absolute best moments, and this episode centering around Scooter and pursuing his celebrity crush Chelsea Handler worked really well. But what was even funnier was a B-plot about a bantering between a well-meaning but overprotective Kermit and Fozzie over Fozzie’s new girlfriend Becky. This episode marks one of the funniest, and even does a great bunch of hilarious gags at the mockumentary format the show has taken on, and the type of humor that’s been so sorely lacking. Plus Robot Kermit truly stole the show.
#4 Bear Left, Then Bear Write
This episode has a multitude of reasons why it earned itself an instant favorite for me. For starters, we get three absolutely fantastic subplots that all play out in spades. Our A-plot centers Kermit, who finds himself unable to strike up the courage to tell Fozzie the brutal honest opinion about his script for a segment on Up Late with Miss Piggy. Afraid to hurt Fozzie’s feelings, he convinces him that his script is in fact so good, that Fozzie should adapt it into a feature length film instead. Fozzie then takes Kermit’s advice and sets off to Hollywood to adapt his story. Not only is it funny, but it gives time to the Kermit/Fozzie duo that I love. Our B-plots are both about Piggy seeking revenge on Christina Applegate for sharing an embarrassing video of her, and Gonzo in a bit of trouble with his online dating.
Granted, I wasn’t a fan of Gonzo ditching Camilla for his online dating shtick, but I have to admit his subplot with calling in Liam Hemsworth for dating advice worked really well. The only thing that didn’t quite work well for me in this one is that there’s a bit too much going on in one episode that some plot points kinda trailed off with no conclusion. Thankfully the episodes got more focused as time went on.
#3: Single All The Way
The perfect mid-season send-off that any fan could ask for. Thankfully, instead of ditching the ongoing Kermit/Denise relationship (Kernise? Dermit?), we get a wonderfully sincere and heartfelt fleshed out story between Kermit and Miss Piggy. We all know that the end result will be inevitable, but I like that the writers are spending time presenting it in a well-thought out manner that we can care about. Kermit and Piggy haven’t been as close as they have been since they split.
Oh, did I mention how funny this episode is? There’s absolutely so much in here that works so so well. This episode did a great job at blending Muppet heart and humor which allows it to earn a spot so high up on this list.
#2: Going, Going, Gonzo
After witnessing his extravagant redemption to the much crazier Gonzo in The Muppets (2011), and his absurdly superb performance in Muppets Most Wanted, Gonzo has weirdly slipped into a dull, melancholy version of himself. Luckily for us, everyone’s favorite Muppet daredevil redeems himself in one of the most Muppety and flawless entries in this new Muppet series. The episode first acknowledges the problem on most Muppet fans’ minds, and we see Gonzo fleshed out in his yearning to break out of this new emotional struggle. (Wow, this is deep stuff.)
Thankfully, Gonzo realizes how much he misses his daredevil life, and shoots himself out of a cannon across the Disney Burbank lot, and my favorite part about this is that the camera crew wasn’t even there to see it. Gonzo shoots out of a cannon not for the fame or fortune, but for himself, and it’s a really sweet moment that Gonzo and Kermit share at the top of the building. Sure no one saw it, but it was only important to himself that he accomplished it. Welcome back Gonzo.
#1: Pigs in a Blackout
The obvious choice to earn the #1 spot for me was undoubtedly Pigs in a Blackout for a multitude of reasons. Firstly it was the first indication of how this show can be both Muppety and contemporary at the same time, as well as blending heart and humor to create the best Muppety material in this new series. Just like Going Going Gonzo was about the redemption of Gonzo, Pigs in a Blackout is about the redemption of newly frantic, snarkier Kermit. After taking some time off to control his stress, Kermit returns to work realizing he loves what he does, and he couldn’t do it without his friends. The stress and jerkiness of his outside life kinda keeps crushing down on him, but eventually he goes back to doing what he enjoys and spends it with the people he enjoys it most with. I like how they turned Kermit back from a character working because it pays the bills, to a character that sticks around more for his friends. That’s the Kermit I want to see.
The end of the episode wraps with a heartfelt and another gorgeous rendition of Rainbow Connection. It doesn’t get any more perfect than this.
What do you think is the best episode of ABC’s The Muppets?