Muppets using technology!
I eagerly watched the premiere of The Muppets last week, along with many other people. I’ve been surprised at the backlash the show has received. Reviewers are claiming the show is too mature, perverted, and that this incarnation of The Muppets is “raping their childhood.” Anyone crying out things like this likely has not seen The Muppet Show since it was originally on the air, when they were substantially younger.
Being born in 1980, I’m too young to have seen the majority of The Muppet Show during it’s original run (1976 – 1981), and definitely too young to actually remember it. I know I saw it from time to time in syndication when flipping the channels. As a young child, I was drawn to the puppets, recognizing some of them from Sesame Street and Muppet Babies.
However, when they started releasing The Muppet Show on dvd back in 2005, I went back and watched every season released. Seeing the show as an adult opened up a whole new world to me, and made me realize that Muppets were ALWAYS meant for adults. There is an absolute brilliant level of humor that was always there that I was simply too young to understand when I first saw The Muppet Show.
The Muppets continues this tradition. Sure, it’s slightly edgier than The Muppet Show, but everything is edgier now than it was in the 1970’s. As has always been the case, the “adult” humor should go over kids heads. In the very first scene, Zoot thinks he’s in an AA meeting. When Fozzie meets his girlfriend’s parents, the father clearly alludes to the joke “Does a bear shit in the woods?” Fozzie also has another line about online dating, and attracting the wrong type of people when they read that he’s a “passionate bear looking for love.” All of that is technically mature, dirty humor. However, all of it is worded in a way that children really should not understand (like the Muppets have always done). While Kermit does say that world “hell,” Sam the Eagle immeidately calls him out that he can’t say that on the air.
The only thing that bothered me about the show was Kermit’s new love interest, Denise. I like the idea of her, but her design just looks a little off to me. I think it’s her eyes. They look long, and unnatural compared to the shape of her face. It’s the only character that when I see on screen, the illusion that I’m watching puppets feels broken.
Overall, I enjoyed The Muppets first episode. While being a little edgier, the humor still felt Muppety. I’m going to continue watching it, and hope that they continue to walk the line of adult and family humor they have always been known for.
The Muppets airs on Tuesday nights at 8pm on ABC.