Review: The Muppets Mayhem, Episode 5 – “Break On Through”

Published: June 7, 2023
Categories: Feature, Reviews

“Break on Through” may be the most important episode of “The Muppets Mayhem” for the lesson it teaches. No, not the lesson about not being afraid to make commitments, or letting go of perfectionism, or even the importance of self-care. Those are all nice things to learn, but it pales in comparison to the real point of the story:

Doing hallucinogens is cool and makes you a better person!

A controversial concept, I’m sure, but the band only manages to reflect on the issues that have been forcing the creative stalemate once they consume the expired marshmallows they find on their desert trip. And as the trip-within-the-trip shows them the lessons they need to take to heart in order to start writing new songs again, we learn so much about hallucinogens, such as:

1. Hallucinogens show you your true purpose in life!

Lips is the first to trip out, where he learns that he alone has to save the world. Hopefully, the universe means for him to do it through the power of music. Otherwise, we may see him auditioning for Marvel Studios. But he finally has clarity that there’s more to life than music alone. People can have more than one passion! His eyes are opened (literally) to the world beyond the band.

2. Hallucinogens can give you visions of the future!

Janice’s vision allows her to have a conversation with herself on the astral plane, backed up by scores of other Janices. Now sure, she learns not to ignore her own needs as she tries to support her friends, but this also offers some heavy foreshadowing into her role as the leader of the like-minded Forsurelans later in the season. Without knowing it, she’s basically a Muppet time machine! (Note to self: send a pitch to Disney that reads “Muppet time machine.”)

3. Hallucinogens allow you to see yourself in new and exciting ways!

Meanwhile, Dr. Teeth is trapped in a stop-motion nightmare, and what a groovy-looking nightmare it is! The stylized figure of the good doctor really opened my mind to how unique and interesting Muppets can look in other mediums. I really love how the curvature of his neck gives him more of a stylized hunch, almost as if the weight of indecision is physically weighing on his head. Even he’s finding himself crushed by his (lack of) choices! But no matter how lost he feels, Penny is there to give him the tough love he needs. She’s starting to be a great catch for Dr. Teeth!

4. Hallucinogens make you smarter!

Animal, on the other hand, has a conversation with his infant self, who proves to be quite articulate in explaining the shared connection between himself (the adult version) and Nora. The marshmallows enable him to unlock his mind and see just how emotionally intelligent he is, and discover the responsibility he feels as the one to guide Nora as she navigates the world of the Electric Mayhem. Gee, Animal is pretty complex in this show, isn’t he?

5. Hallucinogens can provide fascinating conversation!

Floyd, dissatisfied with everything the band has come up with during their rut, has a heart-to-heart talk with accordion-playing lyrical genius and superstar (and also kinda my personal hero), “Weird Al” Yankovic, who helps Floyd get to the root of his problem: he wants things to be perfect, because he feels his friends deserve perfection. Ever the nice guy, Al tells him to stay true to himself, saying “stop worrying about what the world thinks. You go tell them what to feel.”

Taking His Weirdness’s advice to heart, Floyd thumbs his nose at Freud’s superego and embraces the love he has for his friends as his driving creative force. Personally, I think it’s about time he let his crusty exterior slip away, because that snarky attitude is so much better when it’s infused with affection.

Now I’ve always thought intoxicated Muppets are funny, but having them  go through internal crises while zonked out of their minds really opens them up to big realizations that normal introspection just couldn’t convey. They could’ve kept things silly (like they do with Nora), but the bold choice to allow these journeys inside the self helped me better understand the characters and the bond they share. These are very flawed, very human, characters, which makes them all the more endearing. They are us, and we are them, and it’s all thanks to the magic of hallucinogens.

Most Valuable Muppet: While every member has their moment, I think Floyd’s really the emotional core of the story. His vision quest takes him out of his metaphorical shell, and serves as a salute to the creative spirit in all of us.

Most Valuable Human: C’mon. You must know that I’m giving it to Mr. Yankovic. Not only is his brief cameo funny (and provides a ballpark estimation of how many original songs he’s written), but it’s also poignant. I will give a slight points deduction for the lack of an accordion, though.

Musical Highlight: The album has its first original song, as the journey helps to inspire the optimistic folk-rock track “Gonna Get There.”

Best Joke: Zoot showing up in everybody’s visions adds a fun wrinkle to his picture-taking bit. It also leads me to believe that the real reason he doesn’t eat the marshmallows is because he’s actually made of marshmallow. Like, this is something I really need to know for sure. #LetMatthewEatZoot

Weakest Joke: Nora describes her ideal life: “Maybe just a cute little house. A partner. Preferably handsome. 6’2″, super driven, we compete for success in a healthy way, while we raise our 2.5 kids. That’s the national average.” I can’t tell if it’s cute or off-putting.

First Appearance of…: Wait, those people at the door are Dr. Teeth’s parents?!?!? At least they say they are. How do we know they’re not hyper-aggressive vacuum salespeople trying to get their foot in the door? Oh, now I see how these hallucinations can lead to paranoia.

Notable Muppet Fan Easter Egg: During Lips’ vision as he gazes into the vastness of space, keep an eye peeled for the spaceship Swinetrek in the bottom left corner.

Notable Cameo: See “Most Valuable Human.”

Coolest Puppet Trick: It’s not a complex thing, but having Dr. Teeth appear stuck in a hole by operating the puppet at knee-height to Moog is a neat effect.

Adultiest Content: I mean, they’re all tripping on expired marshmallows. That’s literally the basis of the bulk of this episode.

One More Thing: Speaking of the stop-motion sequence, did you know that it came from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the same folks who bring you “Robot Chicken.” Working on an official Muppet project shows they’ve come a long way from depicting Animal being euthanized.

Okay, One More Thing: Seriously, #LetMatthewEatZoot. The marshmallows demand it.

Click here to check the expiration date on the ToughPigs forum!

by Matthew Soberman –

Previous episode review: “The Times They Are A-Changin”

Next episode review: “Fortunate Son” (coming soon)

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