After a shaky first episode, I’m feeling a lot better about the muppets. (using their titling scheme there) after last night’s episode. One reason for that? Excellent use of guest stars. And I don’t just mean episode MVP Josh Groban.

First of all, this isn’t Groban’s first encounter with our felt stars- he actually did a cover of Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory alongside violinist Lindsay Sterling. Go check it out and come back. I’ll wait here...

During a backstage meltdown from Piggy, Kermit, Scooter and Uncle Deadly (who IMO is one of the two Muppet MVP’s of the night) list possible reasons for her rampage, until one of them realizes she doesn’t have a date for the People’s Choice Awards. Kermit immediately gets the entire staff to call her free pass list to get her that date. Jeff Goldblum? Happily married. Keanu Reeves? Just gained a hundred pounds for a biopic “of that Hawaiian singer.” Josh Groban? He’s in... to appear on the show. That’s good enough for Kermit, who launches a scheme to get the two to fall for each other during a duet (and reveals that Lea Thompson is on HIS free pass list).

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Meanwhile in the b plot, Bobo the Bear (Muppet MVP #2) keeps trying to sell girl scout cookies to try to earn his daughter a mountain bike. He keeps getting stymied by the Muppet Newsman (anyone know his name?), who flees in terror every time Bobo confronts him.

Apparently Kermit’s scheme works too well, because Groban not only starts dating Piggy, but giving her notes to improve the show. Notes that result in some of the WORST television I’ve ever seen (thank goodness it was FAKE television!). Allowing the band to play a fifteen minute epic ballad on air? Questioning an author of a non-fiction book about how writing about history is kind of a cheat and doesn’t require imagination? OUCH!

Kermit keeps trying to ditch Groban, but can’t get to Piggy, first thanks to the staff, then thanks to Groban himself. In a rage, he begins driving around the lot (the speed limit is only 5 MPH, but Kermit will drive 6 or 7!). he runs into Laurence Fishburne twice, who hilariously declares the previous night’s episode sucked. And immediately afterwards Kermit realizes how to ditch Groban.

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He unviels new key art for the show to Josh and Piggy- JOSH GROBAN PRESENTS- UP LATE WITH MISS PIGGY! Groban loves it. Piggy... obviously doesn’t, and in a side interview declares that Josh was holding her back and she let him go.

Meanwhile, a despondent Bobo is about to give up on selling cookies when Scooter suggests selling to the band (who is hungry all the time AND happy all the time LEGALLY now). As a joyous Bobo watches the band consume cookies and demand more, he declares “Screw a mountain bike, my girl’s getting a Prius!”

In the stinger, Kermit enters an elevator and finds Lea Thompson. Just as he begins to chat, Gonzo interrupts, and ruins the moment by riding down the elevator with them.

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What did you think? This episode was stronger, but didn’t solve last week’s problems with Piggy. They did go a step in the right direction by displaying her feminism brilliantly, but I think there’s still a ways to go. And just like Tom Bergeron’s appearance last week, the show brilliantly used Groban, Thompson and Fishburne in the limited time they had with them. And did anyone else find the c plot with Fozzie and Jay Leno completely forgettable? Hell, I forgot about it until I glanced over another site’s recap of the episode to make sure I didn’t forget anything!