So, Pepe wrote a book. He took one of his seventeen tiny little hands, held an even tinier littler pencil, and jotted down his most personal inner thoughts. Of course, this isn’t true (Spoiler: He’s a puppet). Jim Lewis gets the “As Told To” credit on the title page, although this is his only mention, as his name doesn’t appear on the cover and he doesn’t get an “About the Author” blurb. Poor Jim Lewis. But I guess it serves him right, since he keeps letting Muppets tell him things.
Let me start with the title. It’s a joke referencing a song about someone who rents out their employees for sexual favors. Well, cover him with fleece and he’s already a Muppet! I’m as much in favor of risque humor as the next guy, but it’s hard to know where to draw the line when it comes to material being marketed toward kids. Does this cross the line? Probably not, but I can’t help but think about that whenever I look at the book. Now, if Pepe decided to go into the whoring business himself, maybe I’d forgive it for the autobiographical issue.
The book starts with an introduction by Kermit the Frog. Kermit’s his old wacky self here, but if you stop to think about it, Jim Lewis also wrote Kermit’s shtick. So here we’ve got an introduction by the same author. It wouldn’t be a big deal to most people, but it quickly becomes anticlimactic once you put two and two together. I guess that’s the trouble you get into when you’re making a book written by fictional characters.
Immediately after Kermit’s introduction is Pepe’s foreword to the book. The foreword is written like conversational Pepe, which helps to hear it written in his voice (the rest of the book is not conversational, more on that in a bit). Here, Pepe introduces us to the guy we’ll be reading about: he’s greedy and womanizing and Spanish and edible. There’s a bit with potential where he begins to tell his life story: “Born off the coast of Malaga, Spain, I was discovered by a casting agent on a fishing trip. This happened, then that happened… The next thing you know, I am meeting the very famous Kermin the Frog.” Well, so much for that. Maybe we’ll learn something new about him in the next book.
And that’s where the entertaining part ends.
The rest of the book is split up into broad categories (money, friends, work, fashion, etc) for which Lewis wrote a series of one-liners. There’s one or two on each page, leaving a lot of empty space. Even leafing through the book at the bookstore, you’d be able to tell that you’re getting a lot of ink-less paper for your dollars. Even the money-grubbing Pepe would tell you that’s not a good deal.
The book is small and short. It’s only about 150 pages long, and if you read slow, you’ll get through it in about an hour. It took me the better part of three days, because I grew very sleepy trying to weed through all of the “Okay”s and “Kermin”s.
The jokes are mediocre, but better than I thought, considering my expectations of both a Pepe book and a joke book. It’s far from laugh-out-loud funny, but clever enough to avoid eye-rolling. I think the material would have worked much better if the book was written in the form of a narrative. The presentation made me feel like someone said to Robin Williams, “Ok, so you’re a crustacean talking about polygamy. Go!”
Because everything is written from Pepe’s perspective, none of the advice is actually good advice. That puts this book in a different category from Kermit’s recent books, “It’s Not Easy Being Green” and “Before You Leap,” both of which double as an entertaining Muppet romp and an inspirational gift for high school graduates. Therefore, I can’t figure out who the audience for this book is. It’s not funny enough for the joke book crowd, it’s not uplifting enough for the self-help people, it’s not kid friendly enough for the young ‘uns, it’s not small enough for a stocking stuffer. As far as I can tell, I’m the only one in the demographic, and I’ve already got mine.
I’m guessing that Pepe’s opus was only written for one reason: to have a book to sit in between “Before You Leap” and the upcoming Miss Piggy book, “The Diva Code.” There are a lot of completists out there (yours truly included) who might want one of each of the series. And while that’s a little sad for those of us who will get this book and never bother to open it, it might give hope that a book by Fozzie or Gonzo or Statler and Waldorf or Crazy Harry might be around the corner. Though hopefully they’ll take a hint and avoid the inspirational genre. Kermit can pull it off. Greedy, slutty prawns can’t.
Sorry to say, this book is not recommended. Unless you are Jim Lewis’ parents, in which case you should be nice and support your son.
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