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Muppets Now 1.02 Review – ‘Fever Pitch’

August 7, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Muppets Now 102 - Danny Trejo
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Muppets Now 1.02 Review – ‘Fever Pitch’  

Author’s Note: This review for Muppets Now is based on a screener provided by Disney+.

Episode 102 – “Fever Pitch”

Following last week’s series debut of Muppets Now on Disney+, the gang is back for more high jinks and comedy with Episode 1.02, “Fever Pitch.” There are a couple first-time sketches here, with the wraparound theme being Fozzie Bear constantly bugging Scooter about some new segment ideas for Muppets Now. Poor Fozzie. Only Jay Leno appreciates his comedy. Seriously, that was a subplot on The Muppets. Watch it. It wasn’t that bad.

Pepe The King Prawn gets the spotlight with the introduction of his own gameshow-themed sketch this week, “Pepe’s Unbelievable Gameshow.” The gist here is that Pepe is basically hosting a low-tech, low-budget gameshow that he completely makes up on the fly. I’ve always enjoyed Pepe and found him to be an underrated Muppets character, so I enjoyed this sketch. Pepe’s unique charisma and banter actually produces some good laughs. I especially enjoyed Pepe riffing on typical gameshow host banter.

“Okey Dokey Kookin” with Beverly Plume and Swedish Chef is back for a second helping this week, with special guest Danny Trejo. Thus far, “Okey Dokey Kookin,” this one in particular, was probably my favorite recurring sketch of the whole show. For this week’s battle, Trejo and Swedish Chef face off in a battle of cooking molé tacos. At first, they almost come to blows over who has the better mustache. Trejo is utterly charming in this sketch, and he commits to the Muppets’ style of humor 100 percent.

Obviously, the format has been set here. The celebrity guest cooks a legitimate, delectable dish, while Swedish Chef goes bonkers and over the deep end with his meal prep. I also quite enjoy Beverly Plume’s performance as well, as she plays a nice straight woman, or straight turkey so to speak, to Swedish Chef’s stooge. What really did this sketch for me is when Swedish Chef grabs a live Muppet mole and starts using it as one of his ingredients for his “molé” taco. This is the type of good-natured, Muppets humor that I find both charming and hilarious.

Another new segment this week features Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his long-suffering assistant, Beaker, in “Muppet Labs Field Test.” In this segment, Bunsen tries out his new smart assistant, BEAK-R, which is basically a riff on Alexa or smart speakers. With BEAK-R along, Bunsen and Beaker test out what objects will melt and what will burn while being engulfed in fire. The ending to this sketch was actually a little dark. While I wouldn’t say mean-spirited, but it was a little shocking. That said, Beaker’s final reaction did get a good laugh from me.

“Lifesty(le) with Miss Piggy” also makes a return this week, along with celebrity guests Taye Diggs and Linda Cardellini, for some fitness vlogging. There’s a welcome return for Bobo the Bear, another longtime favorite Muppet character for me. Deadly’s humor is once again on point here, and he’s easily another standout cast member here. He’s very much a scene-stealer when Miss Piggy passes out while trying to do some yoga poses. I found Miss Piggy having a live video chat session with Linda Cardellini and some other Muppet characters quite timely considering the present circumstances. Considering this show was announced and likely produced, or at least had to have began production, ahead of the global pandemic, some of the sketches here feel eerily prescient.

In terms of laughs and humor, I definitely enjoyed this episode more than the first one. I think the show is gradually finding its groove with what characters and sketches to focus on, and when to change things up. There’s less of Kermit in this episode, which was sadly a bit welcome, considering how jarring the switch was getting used to Mike Vogel’s performance as Kermit in the first episode.

The celebrity guests all did great work in this episode. Danny Trejo was especially delightful here, starting off with a fun, good-spirited rivalry with Swedish Chef, with an amusing, and very sweet conclusion. Also, the show is paced very well. Basically, the show offers a good amount of fun, bite-sized Muppets humor. It’s a half-hour format, but it goes by very quickly. Overall, Muppets Now definitely appears to be finding its groove with this format and learning what works best.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
I think this episode was even better than the first one this week. Danny Trejo was fantastic on Okey Dokey Kookin, which continues to be the standout recurring sketch for me on Muppets Now. We also get Pepe the King Prawn getting the spotlight hosting his marvelously made up and improvised gameshow, plus a short, yet hilarious, appearance by Bobo the Bear. Muppets Now appears to still be finding its groove, figuring out what character combinations and sketches work best, but the laughs were a little stronger for this time around.