It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green: Why the New Muppets Fall Flat

It's Not Easy Bein' Green- Why the New Muppets Fall FlatThe Office and Modern Family hit it big with their innovative mockumentary style, offering dialogue that was clever, at times side split-tingly funny and adult in its sensibilities while still enjoyable for the whole family. Well most of it over the age of about 12, anyway.

That’s where Bob Kushell’s and Bill Prady’s The Muppets that debuted last Tuesday on ABC is an epic fail.

I, for one, grew up on watching The Muppet Show and looked forward to sitting down and watching Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy the Bear and Company each Sunday. I was also about 6 years old at the time.

But since, I’ve enjoyed each subsequent movie, even 2011’s The Muppets starring Jason Segal and Amy Adams ( I must admit I gladly skipped on the 2014 follow up) because the franchise made such a deep impact with me and the experience and joy remained with me. Like many others, the Muppets harkened back to a simpler time, a cuter and more cuddly era of bath time and hurrying to get your pajamas on and teeth brushed before the opening theme song, one of the greatest of all time, I might add.

The genius of Jim Henson and the life he breathed into the characters is enduring and safe, so why not green light a new rendition? But as a 30 Rock ripoff? Indeed, Henson is turning over in his grave.

The comedic timing is awkward and plain off-putting. It just doesn’t work for stuffed animals to be making sex jokes. Luckily my daughter is only 4.5 months old and I skipped an equally uncomfortable explanation about what Fozzy was referring to when discussing his online profile. (He’s a bear, get it? Yeah.)

The new Muppets is just strange. Call me old fashioned but I don’t want to picture Miss Piggy’s and Kermit’s love life. For years the show was built on the premise of this unnatural pairing, but Henson did so in a way that was innocent and fun. This new version is overtly sexy/sexist and unsettling and the Modern Family monologues that work wonders when given by Phil, Claire, Jay and Cam do not translate at all from our furry friends.

Skip it as there is too much good TV at your disposal on all four networks plus cable and the streaming services.


About Ryan Gray

An award-winning, professionally and academically trained journalist. I'm a reporter and editor of news, business, sports, and entertainment and manager of the entire production process for print, online and multimedia/interactive for my company. I drive our brands and those of our clients via storytelling and audience engagement. I also direct curriculum development for related conferences and provide quality assurance on all projects and facilitate teamwork throughout the company and convert traffic and readership into dollars. In my spare time I enjoy music, playing with my daughter, blogging and consuming great TV shows and films. Specialties: News/feature reporting, editorial direction, editorial production management, video direction, multimedia, blogging, content marketing strategy, social media, editing/proofreading, page layout, HTML, public relations, photography/videography

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