Rejoice! The Muppets have returned. The creative team behind the new Muppets packed plenty of material into 20 minutes. Love or hate the separate cameras for each character approach – which apes Modern Family – you have to admit that the Muppets were made to break the fourth wall. Heck, they had the two curmudgeons in the audience from the original show.
As you would expect, we got a healthy dose of Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Fozzie. The first episode, “Pig Girls Don’t Cry,” revolved around Kermit and Piggy’s break up and Fozzie meeting his human girlfriend’s parents. Even if you don’t know who these characters are, The Muppets gave us some nice background. We saw their history play out—and the Muppets have a lot of history. The fourth wall breaks worked for the most part. Gonzo actually had a chance to poke fun at Modern Family’s storytelling device of individual cameras for each character. Fozzie had as many one liners and puns with his girlfriend’s parents than he did during his standup. And while I didn’t know whether or not I’d like Kermit moving on from Miss Piggy when I first heard of this series, their breakup made sense and we could see those two getting back together at some point. Kermit does have a type.
A variety show, like the Muppet’s former show within their show, doesn’t translate in today’s market, and the switch to Miss Piggy fronting a late night show in The Muppets is a good compromise. Like the original Muppet Show, we had guest stars Elizabeth Banks and Tom Bergeron, and musical guests Imagine Dragons. If you’re not a huge Imagine Dragons fan, that’s okay. They played with Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem as the credits rolled. I thought that was a nice touch.
If you’re expecting sketch comedy like the original, don’t. The Muppets all but abandon their original format. They’re still the characters you love but this show’s gone in a different direction, and as if there was any doubt, I’ll keep watching.
The Muppets tip their hat to their original Muppet Show but it isn’t a complete retread. As a result, it’ll turn away some viewers but it’s a good show in its own right.