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I Said It Before, And I'll Say It Again 38 Years Later: I Love 'The Muppets'
September 22, 2015  | By David Bianculli  | 1 comment
 


ABC’s The Muppets, which launches Tuesday night at 8 ET, is the best new show of the fall season – and the best Muppet show since the syndicated The Muppet Show in 1976….

What I said about that first Muppet Show series, which gave the Sesame Street Muppets and other characters a half-hour variety show, and TV-show-within-a-show, of their own, applies just as perfectly to ABC’s new incarnation.

“The show is fast-paced, witty, and charmingly self-satirical,” I wrote in Florida’s The Gainesville Sun in a first-season January 1977 review, and added, “The Muppet Show is the best all-family entertainment since Bullwinkle, my all-time favorite cartoon.”

Give me points for longevity if you must, but give many, many more points to The Muppets for consistency, quality, and the ability to adapt to the times while seeming endearingly familiar.

Bill Prady, one of the executive producers of CBS’s The Big Bang Theory with Chuck Lorre (and a former protégé of Jim Henson), is the guy who brought Kermit and company – all those great creations of Henson and his collaborators – into this new, very modern prime-time showcase.

In the old Muppet Show, it was Kermit who was putting on a show. In The Muppets, the show is Miss Piggy’s, and it’s a late-night talk-variety show, with Fozzie Bear as warmup comic, Gonzo as head writer (with Kermit, right) the Swedish Chef as craft services caterer, Statler and Waldorf as hecklers in the studio audiences – and Kermit as executive producer, even though he and Piggy no longer are an item.

The other new twists on this new Muppets show include the fact that Kermit has a new girlfriend, and that a documentary crew is following around and interviewing all the Muppets, a la the faux documentary style of The Office and Modern Family. There’s room for guest stars and even comedy and musical numbers, but these Muppets traverse freely in the “real world.”

And our real world is better for it. I’ve loved the Muppets my entire life – and ABC’s The Muppets gives me no reason to stop now.  

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Neil
Excuse me for putting on my geek, but one thing David doesn't mention, but the included photos reflect, is that this Muppets will be in full 16x9 high-definition, unlike the original Muppet Show, which was produced in 4x3 analog (as was all TV back in the last century). So colors should pop off the screen, the details of the various characters should be crystal clear, and even the soundtrack will be full-fidelity stereo. (If they're really forward-looking, they're producing this Muppets in 4K format, so it doesn't become prematurely obsolete when that new format achieves critical mass.) All in all, should be a delight.
Sep 22, 2015   |  Reply
 
 
 
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