You Throw The Muppets Away, And They Come Back To TV, Ho Ho Ho

This is now officially my "Muppet News Reaction" default picture

Earlier in the month, it was reported that ABC had bought a pitch from former Henson-ite and Big Bang Theory-er Bill Prady to bring the Muppets back to where they belong, television. At the time, it was yet another example of exciting Muppet or Muppet related news of a project that, if history is any indication, might not go anywhere. Late last week, ABC gave us considerably more hope that this will become a reality, and that the network is legitimately interested in bringing Kermit and Company back to the small screen. The show is still only in pilot stage, though ABC apparently has enough interest that they might make a staright-to-series order should Prady's efforts prove enticing. They have released this description of Prady's vision:
"The Muppets return to prime time with a contemporary, documentary-style show that—for the first time ever—will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires; a more adult Muppet show, for kids of all ages."
A few things about this single, run-on sentence. First, it is a little worrying that they describe it as a "more adult Muppet show" when the whole point of the original Muppet Show was that it was meant for adults, to counter point Sesame Street. The original pilot was called Sex and Violence, and the lecherous puppets got away with slipping a lot of content under the radar, especially for the 1970's. But, it can be forgiven when factoring in 40 years of cultural drift and Disney's decade long attempt to refocus the Muppets on a younger audience. That ABC is willing to take them back to their roots is in fact encouraging.

Second, I love the sound of this pitch. While sources say ABC is looking to lampoon the high, soap opera-style drama of their standard prime time fair like Revenge, Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, and the phrase mockumentary is being bandied about, along with comparisons to the Office, I'd say this sounds more in line with a Muppet reality TV show. And who is more Real House Wives than Ms. Piggy? I was very interested to see what format the show would take, with the original set backstage of a vaudeville show and Muppets Tonight behind the scenes at a TV series. This one, perfectly fittingly, following their efforts to be movie stars in Hollywood. The potential in that set up, for celebrity cameos alone, but also material like Rowlf and Rizzo getting ice cream at the drive-thru, as they did in that Highlander commercial last year, is endless.

Finally, and this is a point I occasionally make and it blows peoples minds a little: the Muppets are actors. What we see on the screen isn't their lives, it's them playing themselves in movies, often about fictionalized versions of themselves. The only time we see the "real" Muppets are in the backstage portions of the original series, in the framing device of the Muppet Movie, and in their live appearances while promoting their films. This is why there are three different origin stories for the group in the Muppet "canon." It's why there is no canon. It's why in The Muppets the group had been broken up for years, when in real life they've been working pretty steadily. So, to see a series based around the "real" Muppets, and their "real" lives while they ply their trade is exciting and enticing, as it isn't something that we get to see in the movies. Only on TV do we get to spend time with the off duty Muppets.

The still unnamed series could potentially be on the schedule as early as next fall, should ABC follow through. They must follow through. We the people need to make it clear that this show needs to happen forthwith and with as much forth as possible.

Via Collider.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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