The Muppets “Swine Song” Review (Season 1 Episode 11)

Despite a huge promotional push and social media campaign last summer, The Muppets failed to make a very big splash last fall. The big problem, as noted by pretty much everyone on the internet, is that the Muppets didn’t feel like, well… the Muppets. Instead of giving us a Muppet-charged take on the mockumentary, we got a dull mockumentary that put the Muppets into the roles of average people. Occasionally, the show offered up that familiar goofiness, but for the most part, it was a fairly plodding series, one that was overly-concerned with the Muppets’ sex life.

So, like many, I was happy to hear that ABC felt the same about the show’s creative missteps and would be using the midseason hiatus as a chance to retool the show. With a fresh approach and new showrunners involved, the question going into tonight’s midseason premiere was if the show would truly feel like a Muppet production. Fortunately, though some of the old flaws seemed baked into the show’s DNA at this point, there’s certainly a lot more to like about The Muppets now.

First, it was great to see the show fully embrace its own retooling, with a meta plot about Up Late with Miss Piggy being a disappointment for the network. This led to a lot of jokes about how the show was full of way too much talking and not enough creative energy. We also got to see the characters themselves address a lot of the problems fans have had head-on; the new version of the show, they conclude, needs to feature the wider cast of characters more frequently, and more sketches and less interviews. There’s even a fun moment of the celebrity cameos of the week being straight up ignored in the writers’ room.

And so, the new version of Miss Piggy’s show featured several Muppets classics, including a goofy sketch with Pepe, and a musical duet from Piggy and Kermit. Throw in Uncle Deadly’s side story with a Muppet penguin and the joyful musical number performed in the writers’ room, and things just felt right tonight in a way they never did in the first ten episodes. Yes, there’s still a large focus on adult themes like sexuality, but it now feels like the exception instead of the rule. There’s room for improvement still, sure, but the show has definitely evolved in the right direction. Now, if we can just get an actual appearance from Walter…

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!