On Thanksgiving Day, Glee will join an elite squad of network TV series: the few, the proud, the ones with puppet episodes. Not episodes that revolve around inevitably creepy marionettes — like Buffy‘s “The Puppet Show” or Criminal Minds‘ “The Lesson” — but ones that instead feature cute, colorful felt facsimiles of one or more main characters. (It’s important to note that these facsimiles are generally not Muppets. To quote an earlier episode of one Puppet Brotherhood member: “Shh! You wanna get sued?”)
Though puppet episodes are a nascent genre, they still generally conform to a certain set of rules. They’ve got the feel of children’s television as made for a decidedly older audience. They include plenty of meta jokes about the characters’ sudden felt status. At some point, someone’s going to act like Kermit when he gets excited. And finally, there’s got to be at least one song — preferably an original, designed to sound like a grown-up Sesame Street outtake.
Glee, most likely, will hit these same notes in “Puppet Master,” its own imaginatively named puppet episode. But how will the show compare to the faux-Muppet stories that have come before? Let’s speculate — after first remembering the four most notable puppet episodes of seasons past.
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