I am writing this section on Tuesday afternoon, mere hours before the new Muppet show airs. At this point, I am unsure what to think about it. I have heard several stories about what the new show contains, and none of it seems to live up to the original of the 1970's. Commercials market the new show "for grown-ups." This is a bit confusing to me, personally. Colorful, fun loving animal puppets who have always been marketed towards the entire family are now exclusively for adults? Frankly, that's a bit disappointing. I didn't expect Disney to go quite this far with the franchise.
Of course, it is being shown on what is perhaps "Disney's wayward sibling," ABC. Shows like Scandal prove that ABC isn't necessarily in it for the family friendly market. Galavant was chock full of sex jokes and adult humor, sugar-coated in a bubbly, happy-go-lucky facade. (Another TFI writer Mirriam Neal wrote this great article about Galavant; I highly recommend reading it for yourself.) Yet, they still felt the need to not let Meghan Trainor sing the expletives in her song All About That Bass when she performed on Dancing With the Stars a season or so ago.
Quite frankly, ABC Network has a lot of double standards that confuse me. I adore some of the shows that air, such as Once Upon a Time or America's Funniest Home Videos. I feel like shows can be made for everyone to enjoy, not just adults. C.S. Lewis once said, "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." The Muppet Show of the 70's was for children, but adults enjoyed it just as much as their children did. What happened?
I truly believe that our standards have changed. Let's face it, everyone: sex sells. ABC knows that just as much as Fifty Shades of Grey's author, E. L. James. This show will probably do great in the mass market, and this is exactly why. That being said, I have not watched the show as of yet and I may completely change my mind. However, the current marketing towards the show is not impressing me in any way.
I just finished watching the series premiere. It wasn't quite as bad as I had thought it would be, but it wasn't anything I'd recommend to anyone. The puppeteering was sloppy, the jokes hardly got even a smile out of me, and the adult themes completely spoiled the whole thing. The Muppets weren't made to have a show all about faulty relationships and sex jokes. The whole time I was watching it, it felt so backwards to me. This wasn't The Muppet Show that I knew and grew up with. Colorful, happy looking puppets feel like they should be on a kid's show, not a Housewives episode.
The show was only "kinda" everything. The jokes were "kinda" funny, the puppeteering was "kinda" clever, etc. I don't think it will do well. It wasn't up to par with Jim Henson's Muppets. ABC, I think, felt the need to follow the new trend of changing up a franchise to make it "fresh" and "new" and "like never seen before." Classic kid's shows such as VeggieTales and Bob the Builder have recently taken part in this trend, and most fans are none too happy about the creative and visual changes to their beloved characters.
The Muppets have gone down much the same path. There are some things you just can't improve. The two Muppet movies Disney produced were wonderful, and I was very impressed by them. This show has made me lose faith in Disney's and ABC's revamps. Taking characters (not created by Disney) and changing their character completely was so out of the ordinary that it was hard for me to sit through half an hour of it. I was glad when the episode was over, to be honest.
This show really should not have been made. I'm not going to get extreme and boycott the whole thing, but I'm really not impressed. Watch the show if you're into subtle sex jokes and overdone sarcasm, but otherwise just avoid it. I hope that maybe some good will come out of articles like this. Maybe Disney will listen to us, the fans, and stop this madness before long.
*bonus Rowlf the dog gif for your viewing pleasure*