Muppets Now has been a salve for the mind in these dark times offering hilariously over the top skits in good 25 or so minute bites. Episode 3 is out today and it offers up a few more segments we’ve seen before, but nearly as good if not better than what we’ve seen in the last two episodes. It also finally introduces Statler and Waldorf who are here to do some audience testing in between segments. This can’t go well.
Once again, Scooter is rushing to get skits uploaded to Disney+ right in the nick of time, but this time Statler and Waldorf get to comment on each skit before it gets loaded. Something that struck me in this third episode is how the theme of a low budget, barely held together TV show being made without any thought is more apparent. Graphics, sets, and other aspects that pop up in nearly every skit remind us this is an off the cuff kind of production. It helps that much of it is improvisational giving it an underdog feel. That suits the Muppets to a T.
This episode consists solely of skits we’ve seen before although some build off previous episodes like Miss Piggy’s Lifestyle show which continues to have issues getting the titles right. This episode opens with Okey Dokey Cooking with Swedish Chef and it features Chef Roy Choi. This segment mixes things up as Choi flirts with Beverly Plume in a way that is totally improvisational and it’s very genuine. You’ll smile as Plume gets flirty and overwhelmed, or laugh when she finds out Choi is married. Swedish Chef continues to be extra as he is in a huff over being tasked with making rice. He once again pulls out the steps with a finisher joke that’s laugh out loud good.
Following this is the “Muppets Lab Field Test” which features Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker smashing things against a wall. This time they have Al Madrigal join them only not as himself, but as a pizza delivery guy. Per the usual comedy of this skit, they increase the danger of the scientific studies until Beaker gets his due.
Miss Piggy’s skit continues to be the least funny, at least for me, which in part is because it’s starting to become clear it’s like one long skit split up over episodes. Taye Diggs joins here again, as well as Linda Cardellini and the skit plays up the comedic morsels we’ve seen in previous episodes. There’s a bit using darkness and Diggs that works for the most part, though. Since we’re on the topic of least funny, Kermit continues to be shockingly ordinary and uninteresting. He barely shows up and he serves more as wrangler of the lawyer more than anything else.
Wrapping things up is “Pepé’s Unbelievable Game Show” and it’s about as good as it was the last episode. It harnesses everything this season is about from the low production values to the on the fly style of show making. Pepé is great once again, and even a special Muppets guest shows up to spruce things up. Pepé’s has the human contestants do some outrageous things and it’s fun to hear him give them arbitrary points. It’s also fun to see the final round, which once again throws in an underused Muppet for a peculiar guessing game.
I’m having a blast with this show and I imagine little kids will love it even more. The handmade, off the cuff nature of the show, mixed with some truly erratically funny Muppets, make Muppets Now a well rounded good time. This episode is better than episode 1 but doesn’t quite reach the level of hilarity as episode 2.