The Muppets – “The Ex-Factor”
Story by Bob Kushell & Steve Rudnick
Teleplay by Nell Scovell & Emily Wilson
Directed by Randall Einhorn
Kermit’s new girlfriend Denise finally reappears on the show, and she is a big Kristin Chenoweth fan, which is convenient because Chenoweth is a guest on the show today (Uncle Deadly is a bigger fan, though!) Denise charges over and introduces herself despite Miss Piggy being right next to Chenoweth (Denise introducing herself several times because she’s so nervous) Miss Piggy is annoyed as you might expect, and Kristin realizes who Denise is after she leaves.
Denise’s birthday is tomorrow and Kermit has no idea what to get her (he wasn’t going to get her anything, because she said not to get her anything, and is advised by everybody present about that being wrong!) Panic ensues because he’s bad at gift-giving. Everyone’s suggestions for gifts are expectedly terrible, not only are most of the Muppet characters hopelessly single, but now many of them have their own personal romantic failings on the show, so they are extra hopeless.
Scooter takes Kermit to one of those paint your own ceramics stores so he can make a gift himself. Scooter is very very very familiar with the store, going there a lot, especially when his mom is seeing her boyfriend. Scooter even has his own custom smock with his name on it. Kermit paints his first date with Denise, but after some criticism of his art talent from Scooter, it’s tossed in the whoopsie bin.
Kermit finally decides to ask Miss Piggy for help. Miss Piggy says she’ll need to ask some personal questions to get the right gift, because she knows nothing about Denise (heh heh heh!) Piggy grills Kermit while dissing Denise, but due to a meeting with the Network President, he can’t go shopping with her, so Piggy will be going by herself. This leads to Kermit and Denise on their date and him being all nervous waiting for Piggy to arrive. She finally does, and her gift sounds awesome. It’s a well though out custom jewelry box and charm bracelet, made from wood from Denise’s home state and the bracelet charm is a ketchup bottle because she puts ketchup on everything (Disney, stop making Denise just like me in food habits!!!)
Miss Piggy also has the music box play a song when opened. The same song that was Kermit and Piggy’s song, which Denise doesn’t know and she loves that song, too. So now Kermit will always hear that song whenever Denise is using the box. Revenge, it’s awesome.
The B-plot is Floyd and the Electric Mayhem getting Kristin Chenoweth to sing at his parent’s 40th anniversary party, though the van ride out with the Electric Meyham and Chenoweth soon turns into a bunch of bickering between the band. Floyd is upset Janice doesn’t want to be labeled his girlfriend, and is upset that Dr. Teeth used to date her. Janice is upset Dr. Teeth claims to own the band because he cuts the checks while other members of the band become upset that some members are actually being paid. The band yells at each other more until they realize they were all fine until Chenoweth showed up, so they abandon her in the middle of nowhere with only a bag of Funyuns. The Muppets is the only comedy to abandoned celebrities in the middle of the desert.
The ending coda has Pepe and Rizzo invade the painting store, where Scooter is upset they are hitting on the ladies and painting against his rules, which works great as a mini-skit and caps off the Scooter segue while giving him some more characterization and letting Pepe and Rizzo be Pepe and Rizzo.
Overall the episode is pretty solid, with Kermit messing up and forcing Piggy into an awkward situation, which she handles perfectly, both showing her value as a great gift picker and by getting revenge on being asked to do something that is emotionally painful. There is also a great quote by Uncle Deadly – “I don’t present solutions, just dramatic problems!”, and the whole bit with Scooter and Kermit at the paint store was awesome, Scooter’s harsh criticism of Kermit’s artistic choices and talents flipping the usual script of Kermit having all the power.