The Muppets are back, and this time you won’t find them teaching kids how to count on Sesame Street! This clip shows a preview of the pilot of ABC’s new show The Muppets, which promises adult themed laughs with our favorite furry puppets.
Although the Muppets enjoyed 5 seasons of comedic success on The Muppet Show (1976-1981), and several movie credits since then, their contemporary entertainment appearances have been limited, with their most recent movie The Muppets Most Wanted (2014) the first since 2011. ABC’s new series promises to change all that. The show begins as metafiction with Kermit the Frog making a presentation to a table full of Muppets, both recognizable and obscure, as they brainstorm the best way to approach the upcoming “prime time” series, that will examine the Muppets as actors, illuminating their personal lives and their relationships.
To add to the charm, the show will be filmed largely as a ‘comedy mockumentary’, a satire of an already satirical genre, and in the 11-minute clip, some comedic trappings of reality shows are highlighted — including actors talking to the camera in interviews, and celebrity cameos. Although the Muppets are playing the actors behind the Muppet characters, the clip is still fundamentally “muppety,” rich with irony and the absurd, allowing longtime Muppet fans to rejoice that the characters’ charm will still be recognizable, even if the jokes and themes have become more grown up.
And grown up the Muppets have become — Rowlf the dog has ‘had the surgery’ (been neutered) and must wear a cone to prevent him from chewing the stitches, Animal offers to “do nudity, if tasteful”, Fozzie Bear is meeting his human girlfriend’s parents, who clearly disapprove of the interspecies dating, and Kermit and Miss Piggy have broken up, with Kermit dating another pig — Denise.
Kermit and Gonzo recognize the show will never be accepted without Miss Piggy, and they visit her on set of the movie she’s filming with her current boyfriend, Topher Grace (played by himself), where she plays an overacting Civil War nurse. Trying to make Kermit jealous, Piggy tells Grace suggestively to rest up for the night they are going to have, and then dips him for a deep and passionate kiss, in typical overdone Miss Piggy style. Piggy assures Kermit that she will not be a part of the show. Dejected, Kermit has to return to the Muppets to tell them that the show is off. Just when all seems to be lost, Miss Piggy makes a dramatic entrance and says that she will do the show after all, but she promises that it has nothing to do with trying to get back together with Kermit, which a gimmicky reality show off-script interview challenges.
The short clip, which, if you believe the introduction, was never supposed to be seen, does a great job of setting the Muppets up as actors, rather than just puppets. They joke about traffic on the 405, TMZ, and allude to the legalization of marijuana, showing that the Muppets are exposed to things that human actors face in their own careers. The Muppet actors have already spent the money recklessly before they have even received it, on things like a tour bus lap pool, Swedish Meatball sushi restaurant, and even filling their shoes with caviar.
Viewers of ABC’s The Muppets can expect the show to break through several genres to poke fun at LA, actors, and offer pertinent commentary on universal issues, all while maintaining a comedic Muppet flair and not taking themselves too seriously.
The Muppets will premiere on September 22 and will air Tuesdays on ABC.