I had to watch The Muppets twice. While I enjoyed the show on the first watch, as an avid fan of this brand of characters, I knew there was something off, and I was correct. The Muppets has been the best pilot I have seen, but that is not saying much, the show is a mixed bag.
The show is focused on a behind the scenes of the making of a late night show entitled “Up Late with Miss Piggy.” At least in this world there is a woman on late night television. Kermit is the show runner, the band is well the band, and Fozzie Bear does Miss Piggy’s introduction.
The format of this new show uses the cutaway interview style like within reality television, and The Office. There is a joke where Gonzo talks about how someone will say the love it in the group, but then hate it in a solo interview, Gonzo does that exact thing. This is not spoiling anything because in the promos for the show this joke was to death, and while it was slightly funny the first time it lost its landing, when it aired. I like the way they mock this style of television too, and that works on and off.
The main story lines in the show focus on Miss Piggy and Kermit and their breakup, and Fozzie Bear dating a human. I think the biggest flaw in this show is the tonal change of Kermit the Frog; he is not Liz Lemon, and their push to make him something he is not forces this show down a path that does not line up with The Muppets. I will say this show did make me hope Up Late with Miss Piggy was the real show.
The other awkward part of the show was the adult tone of the jokes. The Muppets always had the double entendre elements to their joke. My favorite from the pilot, was Zoot being woken up, and told he was at a meeting, and treating it like it was AA. Hilarious! Focusing on the dating life of Fozzie is another place the show lost me. The story felt off, and “adult” tone is not a wrong direction, but it just did not mesh with the series.
I think the show could find its footing, because there are opportunities there, and it had clever moments. I think the writers need to find their balance with capturing the classic Muppets style with their new direction for this show. I have faith, for now. I will say one last thing, lose Denise!