Review: New “Muppets” Show Not Your Father’s Muppets


Chelsea Lombardo, Staff Writer

“It’s time to get things started/On the most sensational inspirational celebrational Muppetational /This is what we call the Muppet Show!”

That is the opening theme to the original “Muppet Show,” the hit comedy show that ran from 1976 to 1981. The Muppets are the focus of a new ABC show, simply titled “The Muppets,” but I was sorely disappointed when I watched the first episode. Immediately, it felt like there was something missing when the opening number did not happen.

I wanted to be told that it was time to play the music and light the lights.

The original series was set in the vaudeville-style Muppet Theatre and the characters used it to produce an entertainment show, performing classic songs like “Rainbow Connection,” “Halfway Down the Stairs,” and “Mahna Mahna.”

Tuning into the new show, the expectation was to enjoy something very similar to the original, but it was nothing like that. So far, “The Muppets” have not performed any musical numbers, although Imagine Dragons did perform during the closing credits of the premiere episode.  Instead, “The Muppets” is like watching “Modern Family” with fuzzy plush creatures, thanks to the annoying interviews that occur between scenes.

The original show was a cartoony version of “Saturday Night Live” with unrelated skits such as “Pigs in Space,” “Gonzo the Great’s Motorcycle Stunts,” and Waldorf and Statler heckling from the stands. Even though the behind the scenes antics are present in the new show, they aren’t as funny as they used to be.

“The Muppets” stars Miss Piggy in the Jimmy Fallon-role at a late-night talk show for which Kermit is the producer. The guest stars (Elizabeth Banks and Tom Bergeron in the premiere) have nothing to do with the plot as it is pretty much all about how Kermit and Piggy are handling their post-breakup lives.

Most of the original characters are present, which is great, but the fact Sweetums –the big, loveable brown monster – only makes a small appearance in the first episode of the new series is sad because he was such a large part of the original.

Some new characters have been added, such as Kermit’s new love interest, Denise, and Fozzie Bear’s new human girlfriend (Riki Lindholm) and her Muppet-phobic parents (Jere Burns and Meagan Fay). Even though Denise is a pig, she is not the right pig. Miss Piggy and Kermit were kind of a power couple. And the fact Fozzie Bear, one of the most loveable characters in television history, has a girlfriend with parents who do not like him is ridiculous; he is still the same awkward bear who makes uncomfortable jokes, but he seems to have lost confidence in himself.

Even though the show only aired its first episode on September 22, it is obvious “The Muppets” will not live up to the original “Muppet Show” glory.  This new outing show is full of forced jokes that are not even remotely funny, and fans expecting to see something that reminds them of their childhood will find the show lacking in nostalgia.

“I really like the Muppets,” said Lucas Martinelli, a first year college student, “I’m quite the fan of the old show, but the new series seems like it could be a pretty promising show.”

“I’m excited to see where the new Muppets show is going,” said Jillian Young, a freshman. I will continue to watch to help remember the nostalgia of my childhood.”

After the success of the Jason Segel’s “The Muppets,” the 2011 movie that saw the Muppets get their beloved theatre and show back – and spawned the 2014 sequel, “Muppets Most Wanted” – why did this new TV series not follow the solid story that had already been set up?

The one benefit to having a new show is that younger kids will become familiar with the characters. Characters as iconic as the Muppets should not be forgotten. They are a part of classic American TV history.muppets