Culture of Pop

Review: ‘The Muppets’ Premieres on ABC

The Muppets is off to a strong start with its first episode. After one episode, the characters are immediately well-defined, even for viewers who are unfamiliar with them. The show’s style blends the behind-the-scenes aspects of The Muppet Show with the visual feel of contemporary documentary-style shows like Modern Family well. Most importantly, the first episode was consistently funny.

The premiere establishes that Kermit and Miss Piggy have broken up, but Kermit is still producer of Miss Piggy’s talk show. This has created a tense situation for both of them. In the beginning of the episode, Miss Piggy demands that Kermit drop Elizabeth Banks as the show’s guest. He refuses since he doesn’t understand why she’d drop an A-list guest without a good reason. When Miss Piggy finally reminds him that they broke up outside an Elizabeth Banks event, he realizes how insensitive he actually is. It’s a simple story that worked well for establishing the main character dynamic for the show.

The plot felt very genuine and emotionally earnest, in particular the flashback to Kermit and Miss Piggy’s break up. The show understands how to get you invested in these silly puppets.

The b-plot had Fozzie Bear trying to win over the parents’ of his new girlfriend Becky, played by the always wonderful Riki Lindhome from Garfunkel and Oates. It’s absolutely adorable and I really hope Becky is a recurring character.

There was a great mix of comedy from silly puns like the Dancing with the Czars bit, to meta jokes and more character-driven and situational stuff. Possibly the most memorable joke was Fozzie saying he’s had trouble dating because when your profile says you’re a passionate bear, you get a lot of wrong responses. He quickly adds, “Not wrong. Just wrong for me.”

Not everything in the show worked. A bit about Miss Piggy’s Hunger Games audition tape was confusing and went on too long. But, a lot of the jokes hit, making an enjoyable and endearing show.

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