It’s not like I was a huge fan of The Muppet Show or anything, but I’d watch it from time to time. It was a corny, vaudeville-type variety show that had decent music and good guest stars who were willing to interact with puppets, and so long as you didn’t have to endure too much of Gonzo or the Swedish Chef it was perfectly good entertainment.
Now the Muppets apparently will be returning to network TV, in a show that will will have the mock-documentary format popularized in The Office and what is being described as a “more adult” approach to the characters. Among other things, the new show apparently will get into the Muppets’ “personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires.”
Ugh. Put aside the undisputed fact that the mockumentary format has been done to death. Do we really have to get into mature themes with characters that have always been comic relief? I’m all for puppets, claymation, and stop-motion characters in movies, but don’t ask me to believe that they are struggling with real-world problems. I don’t want to know the sordid back story of the two insult-hurling old cranks in the balcony, or why Fozzie Bear wears a Yogi Bear hat and doesn’t recognize that he is offensively unfunny. I can’t bear the thought of a sincere, romantic scene between Kermit and Miss Piggy, either.
Many great TV shows were ruined when they ran out of ideas and decided that the only plot device left was for a lead male and female characters to fall in love, get married, and have a kid. The Muppets would be better advised to stick to the kid stuff.