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.