The Muppet Show Comic Book #11
Muppet Mash Part Four: The Curse of Beaker
Written and Illustrated by Roger Langridge
James Gannon - As the werewolf bays to the blood red full moon, and the vampires get set for Daylight Standard Time (earlier hour for them to skulk around, you know), our "Muppet Mash" journey comes to a close with Part Four: The Curse of Beaker.
This time, some weird science is going down at the Muppet Theater, care of one Bunsen Honeydew. Which wouldn’t be too much of a bother on anyone else, but the theater suffers blown fuses and power outages from his latest project. For once, Bunsen actually feels that the work load is overstressing Beaker. Something it apparently took years of explosions and sharpened bananas to do. So, Bunsen decides it’s time for a more robotic assistant.
After multiple failures with bad artificial computer brains, Bunsen realizes the only way the robot won’t malfunction is if he puts Beakers brain in the robot instead. Of course, Beaker has to make do with putting a Poob named Hugh in his brain’s place (justified only because it says “meep”). And that’s not all... Gonzo has a mishap with his Morris dancing while being shot out of a cannon that leaves him a little hunchbacked, and Miss Piggy gets a shocking new hair style when fidgeting with the fuse box. Add chickens with pitchforks and you get... well, you should know by now.
I’ve seen stories before that focused on Fozzie, Scooter, Kermit, Piggy, and even the band, but this time Bunsen and Beaker get a turn in the spotlight. I don’t even think they managed to get an actual episode of The Muppet Show to become their character piece. Bunsen is quite mad, but in a logical sense, and deep down, you can tell he does care about Beaker (funny way of showing it trying to remove his brain).
The one thing you won’t find in this issue is "Link Hogthrob, Monster Smasher." Which is a shame, since it was a nice variation on Pigs in Space. A much more subject matter appropriate Vet’s Hospital takes its place, but all the rest of the skits have significance to the plot. Plus, after the Vet’s Hospital skit, Piggy was holed up in her room for a good portion of the issue, refusing to go on--similar to last issue’s Howlin’ Jack story line.
The Muppet Mash story arc really doesn’t connect outside of being a series of themed issues, though there was a Poob in the Calistoga Cleo arc. I don’t know exactly what a Poob is, if we’re ever going to see them again and how they’ve managed to live without them for so many years. It didn’t really need any major story connecting force (like On the Road, The Treasure of Pegleg Wilson, or Family Reunion had), but it wouldn’t have hurt it too much either if there was some small gag that unified everything. But it's still a frightfully good read nonetheless.
As a whole, this has been a good theme based arc, even though two of the monsters were misunderstandings (one was actually founded, but that’s just Kermit and Scooter’s secret). And it really seemed that two of the issues experimented with guest stars more akin to the actual human guest stars on The Muppet Show. There were other guests before, but they felt like the weird Muppets that just happen to be in one episode and never again (like Angus McGonagle the Gargling Argyle Gargoyle). So, until November’s start of the "Four Seasons" story arc, goodnight out there, WHATEVER you are!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier