Beth, Reviews

The New Muppets

All right, let’s talk for a minute about something near and dear to my heart – The Muppets.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock or don’t pay attention to the things I post on social media, you probably know that the Muppets returned to TV this week for the first time in MANY years in a half hour sitcom. It’s been advertised as an edgier, more adult, more current version of The Muppet Show.  I thought I’d share my thoughts on a couple of things since I’ve had a chance to view the first episode a couple of times now.

I think that the “mocumentary” style that they’re using (ala The Office, Parks and Rec, etc) is a GREAT idea.  It’s a new way to look at the Muppets and it puts them even more on our level.  I’m a bit fan of those types of shows anyway and I think that they’re doing this very well.  It seriously makes them feel pretty real to us.  I love that they are truly interspersed into the human world, Fozzie is even dating a real live woman, not just a puppet, but it doesn’t feel over the top or too far out of left field.  That being said, there are a couple of things I’m not loving so far – Miss Piggy is definitely a diva and has always had to have all the attention on her and can be somewhat mean spirited, but they’ve made her almost TOO mean in my opinion.  The scenes she was in were by far my least favorite, and that’s a little worrisome when the entire show takes place backstage of “Up Late with Miss Piggy.” We are also treated to a flashback of her and Kermit the Frog breaking up and for all the publicity they gave it leading up to the show, the “break up” was kind of anti-climatic and actually borderline stupid.  It will make for a good plot device though as I can see them working to put the two of them back together at some point.

Let’s talk about Kermit – I’m also not super excited about what they’ve done with his character.  He’s now dating “Denise from Marketing” – also a pig, because “what can he say, he’s just attracted to pigs” and he just seems far more wishy washy than the Kermit I remember and love.  The leader, the saver of the day.  This Kermit just seems to let everyone walk all over him and then goes home where Denise fills him up with food and there was even a joke made about him getting “tubby.”  I’m not a fan, I hope they turn this story around.

The rest of the characters are great and perfectly IN character.  I hope we see more of some of them as time goes on.  Fozzie never used to be my favorite, but somehow he has totally won me over.  There are definitely a lot of classic, silly Muppety moments that are guaranteed to make you smile.  I think it might take them some time to find their stride, I truly hope this show sticks, I think it’s unique and something that’s been missing from TV for awhile and it’s something the entire family can enjoy.

And on that note – I want to address something else.  The One Million Moms group raised a bit of a stink this week about the fact that the Muppets are on in the 7:00 time slot and that they are “too risqué and too grown up” and not “family friendly”.  Ok, here’s the thing. Jim Henson never truly intended for the Muppets to be strictly for children.  Yes he created Muppets for Sesame Street, but his original intent was for the Muppets to actually be meant for adults.  He struck a balance with the original Muppet show and Muppet Movies where it was something that was appropriate for children, but had many jokes that went over their heads that adults could appreciate.  That is what makes the Muppets work for the entire family.  You know who else used to do that with their movies?  Walt Disney.  After viewing this first episode, yes there are a few things that are mentioned that are a little adult in nature but you know what, most kids aren’t even going to understand what they were.  That’s the brilliance of innuendo.  It’s implied.  Kids will not understand that.  I would have no problem letting my child watch this show, he’ll mostly be excited about the “Green frog” – that’s what he calls Kermit.  He won’t really understand what Kermit is talking about (even when he says he’s getting “tubby.” Dear ABC, that’s my only complaint, cut the fat jokes!)

So there you go.  I am excited to see what happens in the next few episodes, I see that Josh Groban is guest starring this next week – I am a big fan, so this is like the best of everything for me!

7 thoughts on “The New Muppets”

  1. Great analysis. I agree with everything you say. These characters are interesting and, to me, were obviously aimed more at adults than children. (Same with Pee-wee Herman.) I think most shows can be watched by both kids and adults; the adult-material flies harmlessly over the heads of kids and entertains us old folk.
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  2. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but I do love what you said about the intended audience and innuendo and all of that. So many kids movies these days throw in jokes for the parents and my kids never “get” them and it makes the viewing more enjoyable for me! Also, you know what, if you don’t want your kids to watch, just change the channel. I mean, really.
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