After making a comeback to the big screen with two fun movies, with only the sequel getting a couple things about its characters wrong, The Muppets are now back on TV as well with ABC’s straightforwardly titled The Muppets. Fans were excited to hear about this and so the entire Internet celebrated the news. Then the first episode came out. Then we saw it. Then we wondered.

What is this? Is this okay? Is taking something sweet and innocent with occasional winks at adult viewers and turning it into something dark and harsh with constant in-your-face grimaces at the adults acceptable? Why is ABC airing a show that has the same style and type of humor as The Office when the characters are those we grew to love in all those classic Muppet movies and Sesame Street? Is it even okay for us to laugh at this when it genuinely is funny? Because it is – often. It just, hum, feels so strange and wrong when the jokes are not-so-subtle references to sex and alcoholism, especially when, oh you know, it’s Kermit and his friends.

I suppose the joke might be that things are a lot more grim and adult behind the scenes of family shows like Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, but the premise of this show isn’t that the Muppets are producing another show like that. Instead, it’s a late night talk show where they would probably be saying all this dirty stuff anyhow, so the joke doesn’t really work, if that even is the joke.

Who knows, maybe I just need to watch more episodes and let the show grow on me? As it is now, though, I know people who have switched off last night’s episode because they were watching it with children. I am at least 90% sure this isn’t what Jim Henson would have wanted to come of his creations.

2/5

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