The One Million Moms organization was worried that this updated version of the old favorite gang would not be appropriate because it is “aimed at a mature, modern audience and addresses subjects not suitable for family viewing.” The group worried about the “perverted nature” of the series.
Are they right? Is it not suitable for family viewing? To be sure, this is not a preschool show. Rated as TV-PG, it’s more for those who grew up with the Muppets than for those who are growing up now.
We tuned in to the first episode and we can tell you that, yes, it is a more adult-themed Muppet show. But perverted? Please. There is nothing “abnormal, wicked, evil, deviant or unnatural – or any other definition of the term” about it.
The storyline is that Kermit is the producer of Miss Piggy’s late-night talk show. And we’re let in on the behind-the-scenes action as a documentary crew is filming the filming. (Think The Office.) Piggy’s a diva, throwing insults at her makeup person and other staffers, and denouncing guest Elizabeth Banks saying, “I hate her stupid face.” Kermit’s trying to hold the show together in his humble frog way. And he’s dating Denise, a pig who works in marketing. “What can I say? I’m attracted to pigs,” he explains as an aside. And Fozzie Bear is dating too. He’s fallen for a human and her parents have serious doubts about the unconventional pairing – an obvious metaphor for any kind of unconventional pairing in the world today.
There are topics that are targeted to an older crowd, such as a reference to Internet dating and a band member’s reference to being in a 12-step program. But there are also plenty of puns that are family-friendly. Our favorite old guys – Statler and Waldorf – provide the best comic relief as they make simple wisecracks on the goings-on from Miss Piggy’s show audience.
Twitter reaction ranged across the board, as it often does, from those who grew up with the original Muppet Show and Muppet Babies finding this a “sad imitation” and not liking the “reality show” aspect of it – to many who simply “loved” it.
For me, seeing Miss Piggy as mean and our favorite green guy dating another woman was definitely different—and a little strange. The storylines are more adult than the pre-school and after-school Muppet material that has entertained and enlightened us for decades. The only ABCs being taught here, so far, are about the heartache of relationships and the challenges of managing a diverse staff. And maybe the difficulties of booking celebrities on a talk show. But there is humor and emotion. You feel for Kermit – just as you always have, and the many supporting characters will make you laugh at least once during the 30-minute show, if not more.
If you wind up not watching, it isn’t because it’s so racy (believe me, there are far worse things your kids can watch on TV and online), but because you don’t like the concept. You should check it out and see what the true judges – the tweens and teens in your family – think of it.