Real Talk: This Overlord loathes The Muppets. ABC’s latest incarnation bled the joy from the beloved Muppets, turning Kermit into a cantankerous jerk and Piggy into one endless fat joke while suggesting so many sexual dalliances between man and muppet it bummed me the fuck out.* So, I was relieved to hear showrunner Bob Kushell got dumped in favor of Galavant’s Kristin Newman.
Now she’s telling THR what’s to come with The Muppets mid-season makeover.
Love is coming back.
Kermit and Piggy have been so bitter about their break-up, some Muppets fans (like me) have found it hard to stomach. Well, Newman isn’t getting them back together, but as you can see from the Christmas episode—where she stepped in—there’ll be a shift. “What’s important to remember is that they do love each other,” She told THR, “And that was being walked away from completely.”
Piggy is reclaiming herself.
“She comes back (from her Argentina trip) really focused on her work-life balance and bettering herself. She’s going to start to work on her friendships and realize she’s lost herself in little bits,” Newman promised. “She’s going to be finding her voice again — and Kermit is going to notice.” The new showrunner never goes so far as to criticize what the show was before she joined, but if you read between the lines, she’s saying Piggy won’t be a body-shamed punchline anymore.
Some classic elements will return.
The Veterinarian’s Hospital sketch will be worked into Piggy’s late-night talkshow, along with cooking segments with the Swedish Chef. Plus, old-school characters Camilla the chicken and the fish flinging Lew Zealand will appear.
The Muppets will unite over a human villain.
No more battling each other and breaking our hearts. The Mindy Project’s Utkarsh Ambudkar is joining the cast as a branding guru who “has a lot of slick ideas and it’s all about new, new, new and slick, slick, slick, which is not The Muppets.” Sounds like The Muppets are going meta.
But overall humans will be less of a focus.
Newman realized the celebrity guests were taking too much screentime from the Muppets arcs. So from here on out, the guests will be treated more like cameos and less like co-stars.
Joy will return to The Muppets.
“The Muppets are all about joy and zaniness and heart and the way that they have to fight this bad guy is by binding together,” Newman explained. “They’re going to bring the people who have been backstage on Up Late With Miss Piggy, doing more sketches and bits and bringing more joy back to her show….Muppets root for each other, even if Muppets drive each other crazy and get in each other’s way. Muppets, at the end of the day, love each other. So that’s what I try to make every single decision based on. I walked into the writers’ room on my first day and wrote the word ‘joy’ on the wall. That’s what I’m trying to make every decision based on. What’s the most joyful moment we can have here? What’s the most fun we can have here? Let’s let them do what humans can’t do because they’re puppets and they’re silly. Just because they live in a human world doesn’t mean they have to act like humans. Let’s enjoy and play with what they can do.”