in Television

‘The Muppets’ Pilot Review: It’s Time To Light The Lights!

the muppets abc

Even though NBC is trying to bring back the traditional variety show (Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), the rest of television — including The Muppets — have moved on. Reinventing their classic television show into a starring vehicle for Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog is now the showrunner of a late night gig that follows Jimmy Kimmel on ABC.

All the familiar felt faces are there, but their behaviour is decidedly more adult. Fozzie is trying to win over his potential in-laws, while Kermit is navigating a world where he works with his ex. Rather than just creating a celebrity talk show hosted by the muppets, The Muppets is taking a backstage look at late-night television show in what sort of feels like a BoJack Horseman version of 30 Rock. And just like with BoJack Horseman, there seems to be some hints of serious emotional issues waiting in the wings of Up Late with Miss Piggy.

The pilot packs some pretty good jokes, but critical feedback to the show so far has been lukewarm to heartbroken. A lot of  viewers have a very particular memory of The Muppets, and I think if these characters weren’t the beloved felt animals that they are, the meta, single camera feel of The Muppets might not have felt as jarring as it does, indeed feel. But we all know these characters, whether it be from their recent movies or the more classic productions in The Muppet’s history, and I think it’s always going to be a little hard to place them in a new setting.

But Kermit and Miss Piggy still have that romantic connection between them that nearly all media outlets in the last few weeks have been mourning the demise of, and they have an tender moment near the end of the episode that lends itself in good faith to what this show could give us.

No, this isn’t The Muppet show of the 1980s that you remember, but hey, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Notes

  • The only woman that can break into the man cave that is late night television is a felt pig. Here’s hoping we get a few jokes about that.
  • The band becoming stereotypical rockstars (with AA meetings and Animal being too tempted by women to go on the road) is an especially funny change. I would really love a proper theme song, though! The Muppets need their music!
  • Miss Piggy on not wanting Elizabeth Banks on the show: “I have an excellent reason: I hate her stupid face.”
  • Greatest sketch idea? Tom Bergeron doing DANCING WITH THE TSARS.