Puppets, Punchlines, and Ruined Childhoods

by Jordan Reynolds

Via Les Vieilles du Muppet

Sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll: three things that would normally never be associated with talking pigs, yet all were used as punchlines on The Muppets’ new show.  In the premiere of the new television show starring everyone’s favorite frog, these marionnette-puppets have been revamped to properly suit a new adult audience- but at what cost?

Created by Jim Henson in 1955, The Muppets originally started on a local television program “Sam and Friends” but quickly rose to fame when they appeared on “Sesame Street.”  From there, the franchise grew at a rapid pace until The Muppets had several of their own television shows and films.  

The new show comes at the end of a long list of feature films and holiday specials, with various celebrity cameos.  Elizabeth Banks, Tom Bergeron, and Imagine Dragons appeared in the series premiere.

The show is centered around Miss Piggy’s new late-night talk show, airing after Jimmy Kimmel Live.  Fresh out of a break-up, Kermit must deal with producing his ex’s television show.  Meanwhile, Fozzie Bear tries to impress the parents of his very human girlfriend.

While they maintained the classic slapstick comedy, a vast majority of the material was crude humor- sexual attraction to pigs, bears and humans procreating, and various sexual partners were just some of the topics explored in the pilot episode.  An obvious ploy to gain the attention of adults who might have been fans in their childhood sounds good in theory, but falls flat in practice.

It was a bit disturbing to hear figures from one’s childhood discuss their sexual histories, to say the least.  Logically, it makes sense that the writers would want to target former fans that are now at various stages of their adulthood, so edgy comedy was utilized.  However, it destroyed the virtue of simple jokes that carry across all age boundaries.  
While it’s certain there were some childhoods ruined on September 22, some intriguing plotlines were introduced, so the rest of the season is sure to be interesting.

The Muppets airs Tuesday nights on ABC.

Jordan Reynolds is a Contributing Writer. Email him at entertainment@nyunews.com

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