Muppets Premiere review

The Muppets Series Premiere: Grade Kermit and Miss Piggy's Return to TV

After months of staged interviews hype, ABC’s The Muppets made its long-awaited debut Tuesday, reintroducing America to a cast of beloved — and kinda, sorta edgier — characters.

This latest incarnation presents the Mups as staff members of Up Late With Miss Piggy, a talk show hosted by Kermit’s ex-girlfriend, whose diva persona has been heightened to the point of utter annoyance. As iconic “beast” Eileen Davidson might say, I can’t find one damn thing to like about Piggy this time around.

Kermit, whose “bacon-wrapped hell” of an existence is further complicated by having to work alongside Piggy as her show’s executive producer, does his best to keep from hanging himself using a piece of string pulled from his own body. Additional staffers include Scooter (sans Skeeter) as Up Late‘s talent booker, Fozzie Bear as the Andy Richter to Piggy’s Conan O’Brien and Gonzo as the show’s head writer. (Legitimate follow-up question: Am I the only one who kind of enjoyed Gonzo’s Catherine the Great/Ivan the Terrible bit? It had potential.)

The main conflict in The Muppets‘ series premiere revolves around Piggy wanting to drop Elizabeth Banks as a guest, leading to a whole mess of shenanigans involving Kermit, Scooter and Tom Bergeron (who ends up being the episode’s MVP, but more on that later). It’s ultimately revealed that Piggy’s disdain for Ms. Banks stems back to the night she and Kermit called it quits, a messy breakup that happened outside a screening of Pitch Perfect 2. (Sure, it’s a flimsy reason, but if there’s one thing reaffirmed by this premiere, it’s that Miss Piggy is an irrational nightmare person.)

Now, back to Tom Bergeron — aka my new favorite Muppet — for a minute: I think it’s safe to name him the MVP of the premiere, as he’s largely responsible for some of the episode’s best jokes. Don’t even pretend that you didn’t laugh when Kermit assured Scooter that a gift basket of “regular salami” would be fine as an apology for booting Bergeron from Up Late without any prior notice.

As for America’s least favorite Muppet — yes, Kermit’s new girlfriend has officially usurped that titled from Oscar the Grouch — the pilot offers merely a glimpse of Denise (from Marketing), who’s basically the Muppet version of Louise from Revenge. That said, it seems like she’s the perfect companion for Kermit; she’s kind, attentive and went an entire half-hour without physically assaulting her web-footed lover, a hurdle which Piggy was rarely ever able to overcome.

But what did you think of The Muppets‘ big debut? Does the show’s mockumentary style work for you? Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with more of your thoughts.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Mike R says:

    I personally loved it, it wasn’t laugh out loud for the full 30 minutes but most shows aren’t. I was consistently entertained and loved seeing my favorite characters. Also I love muppet humor, I loved the scooter and Elizabeth banks segment. I will definitely continue watching.

  2. Jules says:

    So disappointed by the show. It lacked The Muppets’ humor almost entirely. The only spark of the old Muppets I loved was during the all too brief Gonzo & Rizzo dance pitch.

  3. BenM says:

    Kermit and Miss Piggy are endgame. Calling it now.

  4. Mika02 says:

    I actually kind of like The Muppets Jim Hensen would be pleased I think. My kids can’t watch this though.

  5. Gina says:

    I believe Jim Henson just rolled over in his grave! I have loved Kermit & the muppets for close to 40 years and watching this awful show nearly brought me to tears. This is not what the Muppets have stood for, acted like or been EVER! I am not one to go to a website and pan a show, but this drove me to do it. Please, God, let this be the first and only show that ever airs. It WAS AWFUL!

  6. Christine says:

    I loved it. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be so funny! Regular salami lmao.

  7. Jay says:

    The “passionate bear looking for love” line was the funniest thing I’ve heard on abc in a while…

  8. Lysh says:

    It was weird, like the Muppets meets The Office. A lot of jokes fell flat for me. Even my favorite curmudgeons Statler and Waldorf couldn’t make me chuckle. I couldn’t watch the entire thing.

  9. TAL says:

    Sorry, this was bad. Very bad. I am very disappointed and will not be watching any more episodes…

  10. A. D. says:

    Loved it!

  11. BenM says:

    My opinion is, because the muppets go back so long – it is inevitable that there would be people who hated it. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m so far encouraged by the overall poll results.

  12. iHeart says:

    You know what this show is still watchable despite the turnaround. one million mom’s may think this isn’t good but none of them are my mom, unlike them she likes the muppets.

  13. T says:

    This isn’t the muppet show of years past, so I watched it trying not to compare it to the past muppets. So I watched it and compared to other comedies on the air and I was entertained. Was it perfect, no but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Muppets turns into one of the better comedies by the end of the year

  14. Charlie says:

    I watched yesterday due to the fact it aired first in Canada. Tbh, i was never a fan of the Muppets growing up. I did go in with an open mind,it didn’t disappoint,but i didn’t really feel it. I had a little chuckle,that’s about it. I rate it a “C” it’s going to take a few more episodes to win me over.

  15. anonomousaurus says:

    I don’t know if I can get over how inappropriate is was. It wasn’t subtle…

  16. Neemo says:

    I like it and ill continue watching. Good thing is theres a lot of place for improvement

  17. AngelWasHere says:

    It was weird. It’s hard to describe. Some of it was funny and then some of it wasn’t. It almost like they were even trying to be serious at times. I don’t think kids will enjoy it too much. They probably won’t even understand it. It was almost too grown up or adult like.

    • AngelWasHere says:

      B/w I’ll give it another chance. I’m not sure if like this new “grown up” direction they going for. I grew up watching them and it was just weird to hear some of those not so subtle jokes and topics come out of their little mouths. :o

  18. Michelle says:

    I didn’t like it. I wanted to, but I didn’t laugh ONCE. Not even Tom Bergeron! Piggy’s insufferable, Kerlit’s barely recognizable. The Office like approach is all wrong. I’m gonna give it a few more eps, but right now I’m not a fan.

  19. John says:

    Not suitable for family. Very disappointed in the Muppets return tonight! Halfway through the show, I turned it off and pulled up reruns of the original “Muppet Show” on YouTube. Much more entertaining and kid friendly.

    • David4 says:

      Are you and I watching the same The Muppet Show? It’s adult too.

      • chiguy79 says:

        That’s what I’m not getting about all these complaints. If you go back and watch the old Muppet Show with adult eyes and not your childhood memories you’ll see it was just as adult for that time as this episode was.

  20. Et al. says:

    Loved it.

  21. c-mo says:

    I was excited about this show after watching the preview that TVLine posted over the summer but after reading Matt’s comment about the show the other day, I decided to not watch live and I’m glad I didn’t because I didn’t like it at all. This show resembled nothing of the preview or the cheesiness of the promos. Apparently it took so long to put the premiere together because it was even more unwatchable than tonight’s version. I’ll watch next week’s show but it needs to overwhelm me because this week was definitely underwhelming.

  22. Steven says:

    Too many women, too many towns.

  23. lrdslvrhnd says:

    I’d much rather the show focus on “Up Late” rather than all the reality show/documentary stuff. Meh. I think that would be much funnier. Be more like “The Muppet Show” except about a talk show instead of a variety show. Could still have all the behind-the-scenes stuff, but just make it about the show-within-the-show rather than about their personal lives.
    ‘Cause really, nobody wants to see Fozzie sitting through an awkward dinner with his girlfriend’s parents, or Kermit and Denise in bed together (you know that’s gonna happen!), or any of the rest.

  24. ms Thang says:

    Loved The Muppets!

  25. Ray says:

    It was fun. Although it felt as there were more commercials than actual show. And it felt oddly quiet, which didn’t help.

    Like, pretty much every comedy pilot, I can see them working out the kinks as it goes on.

  26. makparis says:

    It wasn’t as good as the 10 minute preview that they put out for pilot season, but it has potential. I am looking forward to seeing what they do next.

  27. Pangolin says:

    Most of the humor was about dating, which wasn’t relatable to my 5 & 12 year olds, with physical violence to fill in the gaps. It did not have the old Muppet spark, or jokes that work on multiple levels so that it’s fun for the whole family.

  28. Sam Winchester says:

    This was a bland attempt to restart a series that was based on variety and clean humor. Here we are now in present day and all I see here is a series of just more of the same. It’s muppets meet Modern Family. The producers took a childhood iconic series and morphed it into a drowned out comedy that is neither family friendly or stable. This show will not likely last past the first season. Sadly our whole family was looking forward to this show. It is a bad omen when you have send your kids out of the room because of sexual innuendo from a freakin puppet..Seriously America have we sunk so low that we are that desperate for a giggle at any expense…well there goes the morality…whats next Rudolph drugged up

  29. Was totally disappointed. They’ve taken a great thing like the Muppets and modernize it in a horrible way. Will not be watching again.

  30. Liam says:

    People complaining about the “adult” jokes do realize that the pilot of the original Muppet Show is called Sex and Violence, right?

    The original Muppet show and movies had jokes for adults. They had jokes for everybody. This show is a work in progress, like most TV comedies out of the gate, but it seems like they were trying to bring back that edge that was there in the 70s (does nobody remember Animal chasing scantily clad women, alcohol and Hari Krishna jokes?).

    There was nothing on this show as risqué as that Sex and Violence title! Any “adult” jokes were squarely in the TV-PG zone.

    • murley says:

      Thank you for this comment. I think people are forgetting the original show and thinking more about Muppet treasure island or something. I thought it was a clever reimagining of the original muppets premise and I like the modernisation. I think there are some kinks to work out but I am excited and hopeful. I am a lifelong muppets fan and I am looking forward to more of this iteration.

  31. Beckers0505 says:

    Kermits new girlfriend really annoyed me!!! Like I hope she is gone in a episode or two, or I won’t make it.

  32. Allie says:

    I watched it with my kids. My 12 year old was bored and left. My 8 year old felt it was a guilty pleasure but didn’t quite understand why. My husband and I wanted to love it but found it annoying and boring. So basically it was an all around fail.

  33. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give The Muppets an A but I really don’t care what the people would say about it. Good first episode in my opinion and I can’t wait for more in the coming weeks unless it don’t be a disappointment for ABC. Kudos to Elizabeth Banks and Tom Bergeron for their guest starring performances.

  34. Ok was it wasn’t flat out funny but it was entertaining enough to believe that once the writers and producers get a hold on exactly how far or not they want to go with the humor it may turn out to be a great success. I too felt that the format pushed the action along too quickly without getting the chance to sink in. The scene where kermit and piggy break up is an example of where the show could go adult if the flow and jokes are constructed to amplify the drama and get laughs. Most shows need a few episodes to work. I’m hoping this show is given at least two seasons to try and make it.

  35. Brian says:

    I liked it. Will tune in again next week.

  36. Babybop728 says:

    I laughed a couple of times. I’ll watch again. But I’m confused by everyone being mad that this isn’t “kid-friendly” because as I recall, The Muppet Show was made for adults. Sesame Street was the one made for kids.

  37. Red Snapper says:

    I really liked it. It was about how I expected it to be. I laughed out loud quite a few times. It wasn’t perfect but I have hope it’ll improve. Its how I remember The Muppets of my childhood. Okay, maybe a little bit more uncensored but I thought that was sort of the point with it being a behind the scenes look at them. I don’t get why some people are up in arms about it, but that’s just me. I never once that it was going to be a family kids show, I figured it would be a family show just use your own judgement for your kids. I am super excited to have the Muppets in my life on a weekly basis.

  38. Susan says:

    Still love the old Muppet show. Wish they’d show that instead. Tried to watch, but turned it off halfway through.

  39. It’s the Muppets ofc I loved it though I can be improved (but what show can’t?)

  40. amanda says:

    Not a fan. Muppets humor is a quicker pace and more obvious than the documentary format allows. In the original, the viewer picks up on the humor. In this format, the “director” tells you what is supposed to be funny, and it either succeeds or falls flat.

    My 2 cents.

  41. mike says:

    Epic fail. Perhaps if there hadn’t been a far superior Muppets variety show way back when. Every star and celeb worthy of the name was on that thing. As an old timer who watched that show almost religiously, this is a travesty by comparison. For me, it was very distracting that the voices of most of the main “cast” had changed. Fozzy, Kermy, gonzo, piggy, all pale imitations of themselves.

    Heck, Greg the Bunny was superior to this.

    I think i’ll stick to watching clips of those much better shows on youtube.

  42. np says:

    re: “Legitimate follow-up question: Am I the only one who kind of enjoyed Gonzo’s Catherine the Great/Ivan the Terrible bit? It had potential” *raises hand* I thought it was a pretty cute idea. I wanted to know where that bit was going to go… hopefully not an execution! ;p

  43. rjbailey says:

    Not terrific, but not terrible, either. At least it’ll tide me over ’till Flash season 2 starts in a couple weeks.

  44. robandco says:

    I loved it. It wasn’t as awesome as I would imagine but if they keep this format with Ms. Piggy’s talk show and stars guest starring as themselves and making fun of themselves I am sold!

  45. Sue says:

    It just wasn’t funny. It lacked the cleverness of the original series. Boring and unoriginal- I won’t be watching again

  46. rhensrude says:

    I loved it but I agree about not liking the new girlfriend for Kermit. I think it’s about time he finds a frog girlfriend. I think they should go back to the original series for inspiration. I’ve always liked the Muppets for the multi-levels of comedy that appealed to adults and kids. Give them a chance to see what they can do this time.

  47. Me says:

    They should bring on Jason Seigal as a producer/writer. He was one of the main reasons the Muppets got a successful reboot. He really gets the humor and tone of the muppets.

  48. Marissa says:

    It was…. ok. It got some chuckles out of me, but they brought Miss Piggy to another level of annoying, and I do not care to see Fozzie suffering through an awkward dinner with his girlfriend’s family. Best line, courtesy of Janice: “Their original name was Imagine Dragons.” “That’s still their name.” “Yeah, they kept it.” LOL. I’ll tune in again because the Muppets were a big part of my childhood, but can’t say they’ll get a permanent place on the DVR just yet.

  49. Me says:

    Why the shakey cam? SO annoying.