Gonzo and Pepe Shrimp will miss this year’s Muppets Halloween Party. It’s big lousy luck because Kermit dresses like Miss Piggy and Miss Piggy dresses like Kermit, something that feels like an EVENT, but we only experience it for a short time. No, the alien and crustacean alternative plan is to visit the haunted house, which is, in reality, a mansion, not just something at an amusement park, and celebrate the anniversary of the disappearance of Gonzo’s favourite wizard.
The great McGuffin, a conspiracy that, for some reason, feels like it’s going to work.
A lot for no good reason. There’s also no good reason for Yvette Nicole Brown to be her limousine driver. But here she is because celebrity cameos are part of the Muppet exceptional film/television experience. And that’s precisely what Pepes meant for the night. He believes the villa had a VIP room where he could meet all sorts of famous people.
Once there, Darren Chris sings a haunting song at a nearby cemetery. Which is filled with celebrity cameos in heavy haunted dust (among many I noticed Danny Trejo and Ed Asner (RIP!)). Will Arnett then opened the door and welcomed Gonzo and Pepe into the mansion. He was the host of the spirits who explained how terrible the place was and that they would most likely die at dawn and beyond. And he’s right: scary things are cool. “Oooh! Good!” He said when faced with something that made others swoon. He was grateful for some beautiful indoor lightning effects and only assumed that he wanted to include them in his plot. Gonzo is the best puppet.
In any case, Gonzo walks through the halls and meets Miss Piggy as Madame Pigota. Which is more sinister than Fozy’s usual stand-up act. It gets inspired by Madame Leota from a walk in the amusement park and watches some great music led by Kermit the Spirit. Muppet version of Hatbox Ghost etc.
Meanwhile, Pepe meets Taraji P. Henson, who tries to seduce him so he can kill him;
he is so unreasonable and hopeless, he doesn’t seem to care that the ghost of their ex is trying to warn him of impending doom. No spoilers, but I believe Gonzo and Pepe will die and never play in another Muppet production again.
Well, no one’s going to confuse this with a classic Muppets outing. Why do cute but gentle characters like Pepe get so much screen time while characters like Kermit, Piggy and Fozzy are brought up to speed and supporting roles have solutions? I don’t know its logic, but at least we get to spend some time with Gonzo, the Greatest Muppet.
The dynamics here are fun
Gonzo, flat, pristine, full of boundless wild holes, is the weirdest thing in a villa with ghosts. He also didn’t try to surprise everyone so as not to spoil the specialities. He played it a lot now, and it was a novel. Curious. Specifically. It goes a little deeper. His introspection fits his muzzle like a neatly cut sock. Someone should play him as the emcee in a biopic of a famous person or an adaptation of Henry James.
Plus, the Muppet Haunted House is a bit of crap. It inspires you to smile, if not laugh out loud. Then call it fun. Please don’t take this as a barrier – Disney’s recent Muppets fare has lowered our expectations and is perfectly acceptable as fodder for family reunion nights. I can’t help but think that they only let him down by failing to bring Alice Cooper back to repeat “Welcome to My Nightmare.” That’s how it is.
Muppets are like pizza – and you know another stupid analogy. Only romantics and doodles don’t like Muppets, even if they don’t reach their full potential, like the Muppets haunted house.