Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller’s The Muppets from 2011 reminded us why we needed The Muppets in our lives again, and showed us that they fit right in with our modern world. Now ABC’s new sitcom/mockumentary, The Muppets offers viewers a more “adult” approach to the lovable characters we’ve all grown up loving.
Kermit is now the executive producer for a late night talk show starring Miss Piggy with all the other Muppets on staff. They’re being followed documentary-style like so many work place comedies these days. It’s a familiar premise for a familiar group of characters but that won’t keep viewers from smiling the moment the episode starts.
Immediately, there are a couple of adult jokes thrown at viewers to get us used to how these new Muppets roll. Admittedly, when Kermit used the word “sexy” it made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but Fozzie’s “bear” joke made it all feel normal.
Kermit and Piggy are no longer together and Kermit is dating a hot, new pig. Other than that there aren’t any major changes to the cast aside from their occupations. There are, however, a couple Muppet favorites who weren’t featured prominently in the first episode, like recent addition Walter. It’ll be curious to see how much Walter will be featured and in what capacity, and more screen time for either Rizzo or Pepe is all right with me, but there need to be more of the obscure Muppets featured as the series goes on.
The jokes land throughout the whole thirty minute experience and open up a whole new world of Muppet comedy. Assuming that basically all viewers have some past experience with The Muppets, the new approach may take some time getting used to. Yet, with The Muppets being a parody of shows like The Office and 30 Rock, the transition should be easier than you might think. Kermit is also basically playing Liz Lemon, which is fun, but here’s hoping they steer clear of becoming a bin of recycled jokes from Tina Fey.
As with every incarnation of The Muppets, there are tons of hilarious celebrity cameos, but not an overwhelming amount. Which is good because in the past the focus shifted more towards the celebrities than the actual Muppets (looking at you, Muppets Most Wanted). The musical act bit with Imagine Dragons felt forced, and more so than it needed to be. The Elizabeth Banks and Tom Bergeron material was fun and light, and showed Bergeron as a good sport. Going forward, The Muppets will hopefully continue not leaning so heavily on the star power of their cameos, instead keeping the focus on the story surrounding The Muppets themselves.
Overall, The Muppets premiere is exactly what viewers wanted – assuming they’re watching the show based on a long standing love of the characters. I really hope The Muppets does well because it would be great having a weekly Muppet TV show in our lives again. There will undoubtedly be those who dislike the mockumentary style parody, but with enough time most should be able to get past that. This new show will not only fill the void of Muppets in our lives, but will fill that Office, Parks, and 30 Rock void as well.