Holey Moley was already America’s finest television program. This much is not in dispute. The first three seasons were as close to a perfect entertainment product as you can create, just 45 minutes every week of bodies flailing into bodies of water or piles of foam all in the name of an alleged miniature golf competition, like someone watched an episode of Wipeout and said “… but what if, also, golf?” It’s the closest thing we have in real life to Wile E. Coyote launching himself off a cliff or into a mountain that was painted to look like a tunnel. I need you to understand how serious that compliment is coming from me. I consider those cartoons to be the peak of comedy, never topped before or since. I am 40 years old and have a law degree. I feel okay about it.
But then, against staggering odds, the show figured out a way to top itself. The fourth season premiered and it opened with the silliest and dumbest fake intrigue you’ve ever seen, some of it involving co-host Rob Riggle in an expensive sports car and some of it involving a secret plan to “save” the show by introducing a new and awe-inspiring final hole for the end of the season. Again, very dumb, very silly, very on-brand, but also…
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the Muppets are now a part of Holey Moley. They’re mostly there so far to help Riggle plan, and do stuff like, well, this…
… and this…
… but still. You cannot imagine how excited this makes me. It’s one of those very tiny little silver linings of massive companies buying up beloved entertainment properties en masse, because now Disney, which owns both ABC and The Muppets, can throw two of its most chaotic properties together for a goofball circus that airs for an hour a week every spring and summer. Someone somewhere deserves a raise for this. Or at least a pizza. Preferably both. This is, on paper, one of the greatest ideas I’ve ever seen.
In practice, at least so far, there is good news and bad news. The bad news, through one episode, is that we have yet to see Gonzo fly through the air on a zip line or try to run through a pair of flaming windmills, and we have yet to see Statler and Waldorf laugh at any human contestants who fail miserably at the show’s borderline impossible physical challenges. I need both of these things to happen. I need them. Replace Riggle and Joe Tessitore in the booth for one episode with Statler and Waldorf. Just one episode. It is very important to me that you know I am not joking about this.
The good news, though, is that even in its early stages, Holey Moley is still a beautiful endeavor. Madness, straight through. The show introduced some new holes this season, including one that involves trapeze and a dummy with Riggle’s face on it, and they spent like five minutes setting it up, only to cut to, well…
… and this, too, which is also funny because this guy showed up in a pink tutu and it was barely mentioned at all, because, like, it was maybe the 10th most chaotic thing going on at the time and there are only so many minutes in a primetime network slot.
Did we have a dancing bozo in a pink suit and tie who everyone knew was going to get absolutely rocked by the flaming windmills and did not disappoint the viewing audience even a little bit? I think you know we did.
The thing I like about Holey Moley — in addition to, like, all of it — is that they never settle for the easy way out. They’re always looking for ways to top the sundae, to put a hat on a hat, which is how you get things like “the windmills are on fire now” and “the Muppets are here.” It’s nice. It’s a treat for the audience. All of which I say because this poor guy got out of the water and proceeded to get rocked by the second windmill, too.
And it gets better. This guy lost on that hole — I mean, yeah — to a young woman who somehow made it through both windmills unscathed. That’s only happened a few times. It’s an athletic fest on par with, like, winning the decathlon. I was legitimately impressed. Which made it even funnier when she advanced to the next round and turned in the single worst performance on the Pol-cano zipline I’ve ever seen.
It was incredible. I was full-on belly-laughing, harder than I have at any scripted comedy in… I don’t know, maybe ever? I have no clue how people could watch this and not be charmed straight down to their soul. It’s nonsense. It’s chaos. There are Muppets now. It’s really just a perfect hour of very stupid television that you can watch with your brain switched into power-save mode. It’s important to have shows like that, or at least something like that, in your life somewhere. The world is big and scary and there are plenty of fancy prestige dramas on the 15 streaming services you’re subscribed to. Take a little time off and enjoy the Muppets and a bunch of goofballs whomping themselves into windmills. You’ve earned this. You deserve this. It’s too beautiful to ignore.
I am serious about seeing the Muppets try the obstacles before the end of the season, though. I know there are logistical hurdles there involving wires and puppeteers and potential wet fur, but I also know they did this in The Great Muppet Caper way back in 1981.
We have the technology. We have the maniacs with ambitious dreams. We have, again, the freaking Muppets. Nothing is impossible here.