If it wasn’t for the “controversies,” I wouldn’t have known about the Muppet Show reboot. I probably wouldn’t have watched it, either. ABC’s new The Muppet Show is a 21st Century take on the classic syndicated show. As with the old show, the gags are both what goes on behind the scenes and in the “show” itself. Now, instead of a vaudeville show in a theater, the vehicle is a late night talk show hosted by Miss Piggy, with updated, “edgier,” gags.
Supposedly, some are upset by the new treatment, which some criticisms that would make a funny show within a show itself. Don’t hold your breath: for all the supposed edginess, there are some things that are simply not done, and making fun of Social Justice Warriors isn’t favored in liberal circles. Well, this is ABC. But even though I liked the original Muppet Show, things change. Just as some were upset that Disney chose to change the Star Wars Extended Universe “canon,” no doubt some will dislike this treatment of The Muppet Show, and –
What? Did I like it? No. The reason wasn’t the the change in the characters, which wasn’t all that major. It’s because it wasn’t that good.
Did it completely stink? No. There were some genuinely funny gags, most of them associated with the behind-the-scenes aspect that was similar to the original Muppet Show. The opening when Zoot discovers he’s at a meeting, starts to introduce himself, and is told “It’s not that kind of meeting” is funny, as were some other gags. The problem was pacing. The Fozzie Bear and Kermit – Miss Piggy personal dramas dragged and ruined the rest of the show.
The Fozzie Bear segments in particular didn’t work. We’ve seen this sort of thing before in the GEICO Caveman commercials, and the short-lived series. If you don’t remember the series, don’t feel bad. It wasn’t that funny. Nor what this. They could have at least made the girlfriend’s father a hunter, and, after he clearly doesn’t like Fozzie, say something like “So, do you like to go hunting? We need to go hunting sometime,” and Fozzie taking a nervous glance at the trophies on the wall. Anything to break the “Been there, seen that” feel and add gags to pick up the pace.
In the same way, the Kermit – Miss Piggy drama drags. Not enough gags, and it may have telegraphed how this is going to play out. Ho, hum. Again, “Been there, seen that.”
Both combined to destroy the show’s momentum worse than the Statler and Waldorf sequences, which sort-of worked in the original and doesn’t work at all in the reboot.
Needless to say, I won’t be watching. Despite the funny gags, the “dramas” just drag it down too much. If this thing stays on the air, it will have to punch up these “dramas” into something actually funny. Unlike other incarnations of The Muppet Show, this one has promise. Unfortunately, there’s many broken promises in this world, and this will probably be one of them.