Message to ABC: We Want Our Grandmothers’ Muppets

Guys. The Muppets are getting their own TV show!! Praise Henson!

But here’s the description the ABC executive gave for the TV show.

“The Muppets return to prime time with a contemporary, documentary-style show that—for the first time ever—will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires; a more adult Muppet show, for kids of all ages.”

ABC chief Paul Lee also added this nugget of a quote. This new TV show is “not your grandmother’s Muppets.”

These sentiments expressed by the ABC executives seem to be desperately trying to assert that the Muppets are now cool and hip, not so lame like before. These are Millenial Muppets. 

Look, I get that they’re trying to skew more adult with this new Muppet TV show, because it’s been the adults who have consistently shown up for Muppets these past few years. But I don’t think they understand why these adults are showing up.

Yes, we millenials love our cynical satire. I’m no exception. But that’s not the Muppets. Yeah, the original variety show was a goofy play-off of typical variety shows of the day, but to think it was simply a spoof was to misunderstand the show and the heart of the Muppets. As I’ve written before, the Muppets are, at their core, fluffy pieces of love who are just desperately trying to make good entertainment…but are failing miserably. They are earnest and genuine. They are over the top, goofy, and endearingly absurd. So, while the following trailer did get a few laughs out of me, it also made me genuinely fearful for the future of my beloved fluff balls.

Uh…are we really lacking in TV shows these days that are about our personal dating lives? The Muppets are a breath of fresh air and unlike anything else on television or film. Does the network think that modernizing the Muppets means making them more mundane?

I guess the networks execs are thinking that, since the original Muppet show was somewhat of a send up of the most popular TV format of the time, the variety show, that they’d pick ABC’s most popular TV format: the mockumentary. Surely that is the modern equivalent of the variety show?

Beeeeeeh. Sorry. Wrong answer. Thanks for playing.

Pretty obvious guys, the modern equivalent of the variety show, which is also incredibly popular and a perfect medium for the Muppets?

Ding ding ding! The Late Night Talk Show.

I don’t understand why the network is reverting to such reinvention and rewriting to make the Muppets fit today’s television when a modern medium already exists that is practically tailor made for the Muppets. The Late Night Talk Show, as revamped by personalities such as Jimmy Fallon — with their goofy hijinks with celebrities and tongue-in-cheek, friendly, self-deprecating humor — would perfectly showcase what the Muppets do best.

Can’t you just imagine Kermit in a faux late night suit trying to deliver a monologue while Miss Piggy and Taylor Swift are kung-fu fighting in the background over who is more of a ‘nightmare dressed like a daydream?’ With cuts to Fozzie trying his jokes on a determinedly apathetic Louis CK while Gonzo tries to talk him into sliding down a 30-foot rubber tube filled with peanut butter and talking salmon? With Waldorf and Statler as the uncooperative announcers/sidekicks and Electric Mayhem as the band? This show writes itself!

[Big Bro’s note: *standing ovation*]

I know that the mockumentary sitcom will feature Miss Piggy hosting a late night talk show…but from the trailer and logline, that certainly doesn’t seem to be where the focus will be. Instead we’ll get…Kermit dating another pig and getting stuck in traffic? That hurt my soul to even type.

Yes, I will of course watch and see. Who knows? ABC’s promos have made me think good shows were bad shows before. Maybe this show will be the perfect showcase for our 2015 Muppets. I just hope the writers remember what the Muppets are really about: love, friendship, and unflagging effort in the face of horrible yet adorable incompetence.

So just remember, executives, if your TV show fails, it’s not because people don’t like the Muppets anymore.

It’s just that you’re doing it all wrong.