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Why You Are Wrong If You Don't Like the New 'Muppets' TV Show

By Joe Starr | Think Pieces | October 15, 2015 | Comments ()

By Joe Starr | Think Pieces | October 15, 2015 |


gonzo kermit.jpg

I’ve been watching ABC’s The Muppets for a few weeks now, and there’s just something super glaring about it that I can’t get past:

How the hell can you not like this show?

I honestly don’t get it. It’s great Muppets style humor meets The Office and 30 Rock. You love Muppets. You loved The Office. It makes no sense- the Muppets can adapt Treasure Island but they can’t do a mockumentary style sitcom? The thing that makes Henson’s Muppets fantastic is the property’s ability to adapt and change. To challenge itself. They’ve done movies. They’ve done a variety show. They’ve tried to repeat those old successes and those attempts didn’t work out wonderfully.

And so, it’s time for a new challenge: a sitcom with an ongoing narrative. And so far, it’s a great show that you’re so, SO wrong about.

It’s cool that you’re wrong. I get it. You, like me, are a spoiled 80’s-90’s kid that won’t let go of their childhood properties. You’re Jason Segal. You’re more interested in cherry picking the things you insist you remember about the Muppets from when you were a kid, whether that be the opinion that they’re clean family fun, or that there is no place for darkness or conflict among Kermit’s gang.

And that’s fine. If you’re one of those folks, there is hours of Muppet stuff for you. Enjoy watching endless archives of Muppet material full of the same things you insist you hate about the new Muppets series. Or, if you just want to get angrier at me, you can read along as I address dumb complaints about the show one at a time! Rage! Snark! Huzzah!

It’s disgusting that they broke up Kermit and Miss Piggy

I know! Kermit and Miss Piggy being a solid as a rock romance is the bedrock of the Muppets. Like Kermit constantly turning Piggy’s advances down in The Muppet Show, or in 1990 when Jim Henson broke them up via press release. Or in The Muppet Movie when an aloof Piggy makes a practice of breaking the frog’s heart (making room for a great Steve Martin cameo). Or in the 2011 movie where they are clearly separated. Kermit and Miss Piggy not working out is as much a part of the Muppets as Frank Oz’s hand.

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Look. This franchise can’t sustain itself on nostalgia, and that’s all the recent movies were: A love fest of ‘remember when we liked this thing?’ That only gets you so far. When was the last time the Muppets hit you with a fresh emotional punch that wasn’t tied to youtube videos of old songs or Henson’s memorial? Because if the camera staying on a shattered Miss Piggy after Kermit walks away from her didn’t wreck you, you’re beyond fixing. I honestly didn’t think these characters had that kind of impact in them anymore. It’s the most relevant the characters have felt to me in ages.

Denise, Kermit’s new girlfriend, is a garbage Muppet

Of course she is. That’s the point of Denise. Can I ask you a serious question? Have you ever seen a TV show or a movie? Read a book? Been told a campfire story? There’s a whole genre of these things called the romantic comedy and it is full of Denises. Their job is to make you pull for the two people that are clearly supposed to be together to get together.

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Denise is doing her job, and honestly, she might be one of the most important muppets created in ages. When was the last time a Muppet gave you such a strong visceral reaction? It sure as hell wasn’t Walter.

It’s gross that social media played such a big role in this pig/frog break up

If you love the Muppets so much, why are you mad that for like a month, they were all anyone talked about in the news and on social media? Beyond that, the Muppets have always satirized show business, and these days that means Twitter and trending and think pieces. We created this world, my friends. We have to live in it.

The Office, 30 Rock, and Curb Your Enthusiasm are terrible shows and it’s a crime that the Muppets are playing with their genres

Get out.

Kermit seems depressed and sad and that’s wrong

It’s totally weird that Kermit seems depressed and frazzled. Like when he sang that sad as hell song about rainbows on his banjo. Or when he calls it quits in Muppets Take Manhattan and sang a song about his dreams being dead. Or when 2011’s The Muppets opens with him literally living as a hermit in an abandoned mansion who gave up on his life.

Kermit has always been sad, melancholic, but ultimately hopeful. He’s the underdog. He’s you. He’s me. Are you static and constantly happy? Of course not. That’s why you identify with a frog made of felt. Finding hope is his constant character arc, just like it’s ours. He’s now in an interesting spot we’ve never seen before: he is a complete success but still struggling to find happiness and hope in his next move. It’s relatable, it’s 100% Kermit, and it’s an arc I’m excited to see. I’ll never understand why people hate letting stories get from point A to point B.

There are no songs!

That’s fair. Crazy Ex Girlfriend is giving us a great fix, though.

It’s way too adult!

And so are you now. The Muppets have always been about subversive humor in family entertainment, and while sure, there is some stuff in the new Muppets that you might not want your kids to watch, this show wasn’t made for them. It was made for manbabies and ladykids like us that would probably be calling the show boring and not good enough if they had just done a Muppet Babies retread. Calm down, puritans. No one is showing their puppet dicks on this show. The Electric Mayhem has always been a bunch of drug addled stoners. Piggy has always been impossible to deal with. Josh Groban has always been great at cameos.

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I don’t understand why anyone would want a bland, retread of a Muppets product. If you’re not taking risks, you’re creatively dead. Why do you want the thing you love to die collecting dust in a closet? It’s time to get things started, light some new lights and play some new music. It’s just a shame so many people started covering their ears and yelling I’M NOT LISTENING a few beats into the song.

Speaking of songs, has anyone ever noticed that Adam Duritz from Counting Crows sort of sounds like Kermit?


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