What’s Worth Watching: ‘The Muppets’ on ABC for Tuesday, October 13

Muppets - Ed Helms, Kermit the Frog
Muppets, Ed Helms, Kermit the Frog

The Muppets, “Pig Out” (Tuesday, Oct. 13, 8/7c, ABC)

“Someone peel and eat me already,” moans scene-stealer Pepe the King Prawn as the obliviously imperious Miss Piggy butts her way into the Up Late crew’s after-hours bar bash. (“They’re about to get a big, steaming pile of moi,” she brags to long-suffering Kermit, who as usual is helpless in averting the calamity.) Seems The Muppets, like Piggy, has a way of rubbing some people the wrong way, with ratings slipping by the week since its heavily promoted premiere last month. Depicting the gang of beloved characters as a dysfunctional backstage family was a calculated risk and has apparently left a sour aftertaste for some fans.

But for those who haven’t yet given up or been turned off, this week’s episode is an enjoyable re-entry opportunity. Despite Piggy’s pig-headed egotism, which prompts an inspired imitation by Beaker of all nervous underlings, the night on the town turns into a rare good time being had by all. Ed Helms joins the festivities (“You sexy side of sausage,” is his greeting to Piggy) and a karaoke montage ensues that’s more fun than it sounds. Followed by the requisite morning-over hangover that renders the long-suffering boss Kermit the only employee who shows up for work.

Earning a strong subplot is The Muppets‘ secret weapon and most hilarious asset, the adorably hapless Fozzie Bear. When his warm-up routine (heckled incessantly by curmudgeons Statler and Waldorf) goes awry, Fozzie lapses into an existential crisis, redeemed by a goodwill mission that reminds us that, beneath this show’s surface snark, the world of the Muppets can still be pretty sweet.