“Bear Left Then Bear Write” takes a stab at one of the central friendships in The Muppets dynamic — that between Kermit and Fozzie and what happens when the two are at odds. But even with that centerpiece story, the third episode of the newest peek into the lives of the Muppets is usually at its best when it’s away from this story and when it makes good on a major problem the first two episodes faced — putting the guest stars to good use.
Yes, “Bear Left” three recognizable human faces: Christina Applegate, Nick Offerman, and Liam Hemsworth. Applegate serves mainly as a foil to Piggy, humiliating the Up Late host with a video that airs during Applegate’s appearance on the fictional late night show. Piggy tries to exact revenge with Scooter’s assistance, and Applegate, aware of what’s happening, is a good sport as she pretends to be hit in the face with a cake by Scooter. She also, however, plays a role in the episode’s most surprising moment.
Meanwhile, Offerman fills in for Fozzie after the comedy bear decides to abandon his post at Up Late to become a screenwriter. After Kermit compliments Fozzie’s writing (“a dumpster fire,” as Yolanda describes his work), he thinks he can make a career out of this nonexistent gift. Kermit eventually comes clean and chases after Fozzie to bring him back to the show. And since no one is around to take care of the show, the writers’ room focuses on Gonzo’s love life.
He’s got a date with Debbie, a woman he met through online dating while using a picture of Liam Hemsworth. So…he brings in the Hunger Games star to start out the date before letting Gonzo slip in and sweep Debbie off her felt feet. Here are the top five moments from Gonzo, Fozzie, and Piggy’s plights:
1. A Swedish revelation: The episode’s biggest character development comes early and unexpectedly from Swedish Chef. Chef asks Applegate for an autograph made out to a “Megan.” But it’s not a daughter or a wife, as Applegate assumes. Megan is in fact Chef, and Applegate doesn’t miss a beat in response. “Oh you’re Megan. You go, girl, live your truth,” she says, opening up some surprising potential for Swedish Chef storylines down the road.
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2. Liam Hemsworth, a not-so-great wingman to cute little elephant beavers: Under the guise of a pre-interview for a guest spot on Up Late, Gonzo and the writers lure Hemsworth to a restaurant where Debbie is set to appear at any moment. They try to appeal to Hemsworth, hoping he’ll understand Gonzo’s position (“No I’ve been gorgeous since birth, but I have struck out a few times. Just at a super-high level.”). He eventually agrees to play along (“Oh I got it, when she says yes, we slide in this cute little elephant beaver, and he closes the deal.”), but the deal turns south when Hemsworth actually falls for Debbie, who likes him for more than being really, really, really ridiculously good looking. Guess Gonzo will have to pick a new Australian actor to impersonate.
NEXT: Nick Offerman subs in for Fozzie [pagebreak]
3. Offerman Is the New Fozzie: With Fozzie out in the wilderness honing his craft, Kermit has brought in the Parks and Recreation star to take his place, and while the cast is initially excited (and Bobo is jealous of that beard), Offerman soon proves to be more trouble than he’s worth. When Kermit admits he owes Offerman for the last-minute assist, the actor wastes no time calling in the favor. “I will take a cappuccino machine,” he says within moments of being hired, and Kermit decides to give in to the demand, even if they have to cut some health benefits. It”s a strange characterization for Offerman when the character turns vaguely racist (he’s not a fan of Italian restaurant owners who have been in America long enough to speak English…), and he then decides later on that, instead of all-you-can-drink cappuccinos, he’d prefer Kermit get him a boat, to be named Cappuccino. Or Janice.
4. Fozzie baaaaaaaaaah: Kermit eventually catches up to his friend to apologize and bring him home, but he arrives too late to completely save Fozzie. Scaring some nearby campers in the forest, Fozzie is tranquilized and can barely say his full name. When he eventually recovers, he and Kermit make up and head home, but not before Kermit admits to a similar experience to Fozzie’s tranq tripping from his past: “No, but I did lick my third cousin once and the walls started melting, so I feel you, bro,” Kermit reveals. (ASIDE: Kermit says bro now? END ASIDE)
5. “I’m Chip. I’m the IT guy.” One of the lesser seen Muppets returns, repeating that phrase early and often throughout the episode. It will never not haunt your dreams.