Is this the episode of the season? I think it just might be.
We pick up immediately where the last episode left off, with Dr. Teeth’s parents arriving at the Shack. Tina and Gerald Teeth Sr. (played by Stephanie D’Abruzzo and David Bizzaro, respectively) are in town to receive an award at Cavity Con, while also making their once-a-decade attempt to sway their son out of the music business and take over the family dental practice.
And like clockwork, Dr. Teeth spins out and must cycle through a “process” in order to get back to his normal self again, a process that includes making gumbo, impulsively proposing to Penny, and rejectifying shapes of all kinds. It’s up to Nora to bring him back to reality, or so she thinks. Along the way, we get numerous flashbacks to how Dr. Teeth and Floyd met and the beginnings of their musical journey together.
One thing I think we were all worried about when we first heard about this show is how the Mayhem band could carry a series. There was certainly reason for skepticism, but this is truly an episode that proved they can be the focus and they can develop beyond the one-joke personas they’ve been in the past. I don’t think I have ever thought about Dr. Teeth and Floyd having any sort of connection, but I loved seeing them develop this bond and act like they’ve truly been life-long friends.
And those flashbacks? I love ‘em. They provide fairly obvious answers to long-standing questions – why is he called Dr. Teeth? Why is he Sgt. Floyd? – but it doesn’t feel trite or dumb because they play the scenes so earnestly. I also like that they just don’t care about any semblance of a coherent timeline of when these things happened and how old the characters are. There’s no reasonable explanation they could give because Muppets just don’t age, and the best path is to just ignore it. And boy oh boy, young Dr. Teeth and Floyd look and act terrific.
In the end, music saves the day and everyone learns something important – be true to yourself, and parents should accept their children for who they are (hey, that seems timely for this particular month!). And also it’s important to floss!
I truly think this is the stand-out episode of the season, and should there be a season two, I hope they lean more into storylines like this that are about the characters rather than poking fun at internet culture. This just had everything – great characters, funny jokes, good music, and pathos. What more could you ask for? Maybe some more floss – floss toss!
Oh yeah, there’s also a subplot where Animal ships Moog and Nora. It’s about as interesting and consequential as that sentence makes it sound.
Most Valuable Muppet: Dr. Teeth and Floyd really get to shine in this, and Gerald Sr. is technically the emotional lynchpin of the episode, but man do I love Stephanie as Tina Teeth. She makes a meal out of everything she says.
Most Valuable Human: I guess I’ll give it to Nora for trying to get stuff done. And for having a good taste in cereal.
Musical Highlight: The episode’s only full song – “Gotta Be,” which is woven into the story pretty well and the final result is catchy as heck.
Best Joke: Dr. Teeth pounding the keyboard and crying, “Why?” over and over. Zoot replies, “Huh, maybe the next line is ‘Z’.” Zoot kills it in this show, folks.
Weakest Joke: Maybe not a joke per se, but the moment with Nora gratefully telling Moog “I could kiss you” is awkward.
First Appearance of…: We only get a glimpse of the backs of their skulls in the last episode, but as you can tell from above, we meet Dr. Teeth’s parents Tina and Gerald Sr.! They’re fun!
Notable Muppet Fan Easter Egg: The music shop young Floyd works at is called Jerry’s Tunes, established the year Jerry Nelson was born. I’m very glad they put this in.
Notable Cameo: While Stephanie and David are credited as guest stars, Cedric Yarbrough is the only other celebrity in the episode, just in the cold open.
Coolest Puppet Trick: I didn’t even think about it until skimming through the episode, but Floyd tossing a harmonica, and Dr. Teeth catching it is one of those “things that look effortless, but probably took awhile to do.”
One More Thing: So Dr. Teeth’s gold tooth is actually a gold floss case he’s stuck in his mouth? That’s one of the more unexpected developments. I’d imagine that wouldn’t feel very comfortable?
Okay, One More Thing: In the credits, “Young Floyd Pepper” and “Gerald Teeth Jr” are listed as separate from Dr. Teeth and Floyd. Does that mean they’re totally different characters?!
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by Shane Keating