The Muppets S01E03 – “Bear Left Then Bear Writer”
Bear Left Then Bear Writer is a mixed bag episode, the storyline exploring the Kermit/Fozzie friendship is supported by two very weak B-plots, producing a show that has what may be the best long joke in the series so far, but makes us wander in the wilderness too long to get to it.
Kermit and Fozzie’s friendship isn’t really harped on that much in Muppets fiction, even though the two are always depicted as best friends. They just are friends, so an episode that gives some depth to the friendship is a welcome thing. We see Kermit’s reluctance to tell Fozzie the truth about his awful skit, first trying to hide from Fozzie, then lying so much Fozzie thinks he should quit his job and become a movie screenwriter, running off to the woods to work. Of course Kermit has to go bail him out of the latest jam, but not before we see via slideshow Kermit explaining how Fozzie helped him get out of a funk when he was striking out in getting Hollywood work.
The b plots are: Gonzo doing online dating, only he used a photo of the lesser Hemsworth brother on his profile and is meeting the lady, Debbie, later that afternoon. They use the Muppet influence to get Liam Hemsworth into their plot to do a switcheroo, except Liam decides he wants Debbie all for himself. They try to lead you away from the obvious conclusion by making Debbie a Muppet as well, but that wasn’t enough, and we get sadsack Gonzo as our payoff. =(
Miss Piggy is humiliated when Christina Applegate brings a clip to the show of Miss Piggy faceplanting into a cake, then falling down and the cake and entire tablespread falling on her. She vows revenge to get dirt on Christina Applegate, resulting in her trying to make her own cake face smash video. We hit peak Miss Piggy unlikability in this episode, though thankfully they fix that in the next episode. We know this will backfire on Miss Piggy from the get-go, just like Gonzo’s story, so the focus should have been on the journey, not the resolution.
We finally get to see Rowlf and Rowlf’s bar, and they get the cone of shame jokes out of the way immediately, which are pretty funny. This episode also (re)introduces Chip the IT Muppet, who was seen long ago in The Jim Henson Hour, and at one point I thought he was Bill the Bubble Guy from Muppets Tonight. He wanders in and out of the plots as needed. Fozzie’s absence is dealt with by having Nick Offerman replace him, and Nick makes increasingly expensive demands because Kermit says they owe him one, and he calls it in.
The heart of the episode is Kermit trying to deal with Fozzie, his lying causing a trouble situation and then having to fix the problem he created by not telling the truth. Fozzie’s super-ecstatic reaction to going off and doing his writing dream is hilarious. The best joke in the series so far is Fozzie trying to use his iPhone while driving and talking to Kermit. It just keeps going and getting more ridiculous. That’s the kind of stuff the show needs more of. I’ll even take more slams against pumpkin spice beer. Here’s hoping they can come up with more nuggets of gold to get focus away from the Muppet with relationship problems of the week.