Discovering an Expired Idea: The Muppets (TV Showcase #41)

After watching “The Muppet Show” and “Muppets Tonight”, how could I not watch this second reboot of our beloved musical puppet friends? Now, in light of my Showcase on “Muppets Tonight”, you might understand how I would be skeptical in how well a twenty-first century remake would be handled. And in all honesty, I haven’t seen the new movies, but I know how well they both did. So there are alot of factors up in the air here. Is this show worthy to watch? Let’s find out by taking one last trip to the Muppet theater with this look at “The Muppets”.

“The Muppets” was created in 2015 and ran for 16 half-hour episodes over one season, ending in 2016. The show brings us back to where we left the Muppets, once again searching for a venue through which to revive their show. This time, however, the show focused more in on the personal lives of the Muppets, including Kermit and Miss Piggy dealing with a recent breakup, and Kermit dealing with huge problems regarding the success of the show. Everything is done lightheartedly, though, and there’s no shortage of comedy throughout each serialized episode.

During the first few weeks of the show, the plot advancements were kind of slow, too slow to be the upbeat sitcom the Muppets were always meant to have. And even the big-name comedians and musicians didn’t make up for the lackluster writing. However, near the halfway mark of the season, the plots started picking up and becoming more creative. During the second half of the show I was much more engaged, but by that time it was too late for the show. The viewers had been consistently lowering each week, and the show’s six-week Christmas break essentially killed it, despite its improvement following that break.

In the end, though, it didn’t really matter how good the show was, or how modernized it became. The fact is that the Muppets canon is closed, especially now. Obviously, from its two-season run, viewers didn’t take well to “Muppets Tonight” either, but it slid by because it wasn’t that different from “The Muppet Show”. And The Muppets movie was a nice callback to the original show, and a good one-off story to tie off the Muppet canon. And yeah, we’ll always expect the Muppets in some Thanksgiving or Christmas parade or some Disney event, but as far as official plot advancements go, the audience doesn’t want any more.

The Muppets are just as well known now as they ever were, so they don’t have that forgotten feel that usually rectifies a revival. And we all know how Muppets Most Wanted went. And “The Muppets” series didn’t save it. Yeah, it was better, but people don’t want anything new from the Muppets. We’re still watching “The Muppet Show”, and all the movies, and right now, that’s all we need. That’s why I think “The Muppets” didn’t do well and was cancelled after so few episodes, despite the potential it showed.

So here we are, at the end of the trilogy of Muppet Showcases, and we finally have to bid adieu to our friends the Muppets. But I’m still a fan, and will continue to be, despite how many more times we’ll see other attempts to reopen the Muppets canon. What do you think?

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