ABC's Sordid Prostitution of the Once-Sweet Muppets
By Julie Gunlock, The New York Post
ABC’s “The Muppets TV Show” is a betrayal of Jim Henson’s tender, optimistic vision — a pointless prostitution of a children’s entertainment franchise.
Tuesday’s premiere was a half-hour of tough-to-watch anthropomorphized drama dominated by the puppets’ troubled love lives, choked with “jokes” for adults that all turned on bathing Henson’s sweet and innocent creations in the tropes of our cynical age.
The show — done documentary-style, like “The Office” — focuses almost exclusively on the complex (and “realistic”) relationship storylines of the characters, Miss Piggy, Kermit and Fozzie Bear.
From jokes about Miss Piggy’s bikini waxes to gags on boob jobs, tummy tucks and butt lifts, the humor (such as it is) comes out of late-night comedy-club routines.
In the premiere, viewers got to witness a sad Kermit-Miss Piggy breakup scene. It wasn’t screwball hilarity involving a series of mishaps, but heartbreakingly real and anti-climactic, with Kermit simply mumbling confirmation that the split had just happened to a shocked Miss Piggy.
That’s not funny! That’s almost exactly how humans break up. Wait . . . are puppets really even supposed to break up, or engage in realistic relationships?
Kermit’s new love interest is Denise — the office flirt, and another pig. Indeed, Kermit confesses to the camera his attraction to pigs.
That’s not the end of the interspecies relationships: We also get an awkward discussion about the possibility of Fozzie and his human girlfriend having children (gross!). Is this the show’s blundering way of tackling the no-longer-taboo issue of interracial relationships, or just an “adult” way to mock decades of material meant for kids?