Feels like this was just announced a week ago, but here’s your first look at ABC’s upcoming Muppets show…
I should probably thank everyone for notifying me on every piece of news leading up to ABC’s officially resurrected Muppet show. This is splendid news indeed! However, many folks started to groan a bit once it was announced the project would be shepherded by a Big Bang Theory alum, and would also be shot “documentary style,” a la The Office and many other shows I don’t watch. But I think it’s just fine. And some time in the three hours between announcing all that news, a trailer for the Fall 2015 program hit the web. Damn your efficiency, Disney!
Did you know the original Muppet Show was kind of the highest-rated thing ever. Seriously, the show broke global syndication records for five years, quit while it was ahead, and a spawned comics, a merchandising empire, games, cartoons, and EIGHT fucking theatrical movies… all after being rejected by every major North American network. The characters were already famous from commercials, talk shows and other televised appearances, yet nobody had faith in the concept of a weekly comedy show starring Muppets. It took a lordly British fan to finance The Muppet Show into existence, where it then exerted global dominance over all those other shows greenlit in its stead and its legacy has rather hilariously outlived every stupid network executive who originally passed on it. What’s my point? I wouldn’t want to be the guy who publicly doubted the power of the goddamned Muppets and you shouldn’t either.
Just sayin… it’s fine to be skeptical, but these characters are bigger than you, me, and all of our collective reservations. They are timeless, they can can work forever, and it’s a wonder nobody’s attempted a Muppet Show resurrection since 1996. Now I know what you older folks are saying…
Yes, Muppets Tonight didn’t work. I remember wanting to love it, but it didn’t work for this Muppet lovin’ lad caught in throes of puberty. I’d argue that it failed to connect with children and adults because it adhered too rigidly to the formula of the original Muppet Show. Quick, grab your closest millennial and ask them “What’s a variety show?” Hell, I shouldn’t even know. That television genre was dead long before I was branching out of Nickelodeon. Muppets Tonight ignored this, and thus the musical numbers and damn near vaudevillian scenarios failed to bridge the audience gap between kids and adults in the same way The Muppet Show so deftly did.
Blaze up and watch every second of The Jim Henson Hour
But remember: The Muppet Show was every bit about the show the audience was seeing and the drama behind the curtain. Max Landis once said something to the effect that only professional wrestling and The Muppet Show contain a behind-the-scenes fiction that’s absolutely essential to enjoying the big show centerstage. 30 Rock would probably count if they ever hung on one of TGS’ actual sketches for more than a three-second cutaway. See what I’m getting at? The documentary approach is PERFECT for a modern day Muppet Show! We’ve been looking at them on both sides of the curtain for almost four decades, they’ve just never spoken directly to camera (And when Gonzo does in the new trailer, it’s pretty fucking funny.) Maybe the Muppets are trying to get a movie made, or make viral videos for YouFace, but the point is we’ll get to see all of their failed attempts at entertaining the nice people, in addition to and the wonderful personalities and ids that clash together to make those endeavors nigh impossible. That’s The Muppets. Furthermore, can you think of any cast of characters more worthy of being followed around with cameras? What I’m saying is… JESUS, WHY ALL THE CYNICISM, PEOPLE?! Instead of bitching about the Muppets being shot documentary style, you should probably be asking why we all swallowed the conceit of a documentary crew following around white collar nobodies working at a Scranton paper, state-employed pencil pushers or an American family for umpteen seasons. The Muppets will own your face this fall.
SHOP THE MUPPETS ON AMAZON, SUPPORT LASER TIME!!