I tend to write about what I like. It’s difficult to write about what I don’t enjoy and regard as total rubbish. I’m a glass half full kind of person (except for the trash. It’s half empty. I can always find more room in that receptacle.) Last week, my husband and I watched the premiere of The Muppets on ABC. We loved it. We rewatched it the next night just to re-live the moment Zoot (the saxophone playing muppet in Rowlf’s band) confuses the production meeting for an AA meeting.
I looked forward to sharing this show with you all here at Funkhouser. Like a good pop culture Sherpa, I did my research. I wanted to make sure I was not guiding the flock straight off the cliff. Turns out my concerns were correct. My husband and I have terrible comedic taste. Apparently all of the Internet regards the Muppets as a “perverted” manipulation of a childhood favorite. As Exhibited in the following articles:
– “ABC’s sordid prostitution of the once-sweet Muppets”
–“Muppet Show gets adult with infidelity, drugs, and Spamela Hamderson… how did the Muppet Show get so adult?” *I mainly added this one for the Spamela Hamderson reference
People are salty. Instead of enjoying Miss Piggy’s jokes about plastic surgery, disserenters seemed to focus on the loss of innocence from our felted friends. But, here’s the thing, I don’t think my instincts are incorrect. The muppets aren’t yours. You don’t own them and your opinions don’t influence their creative evolution. I understand that the nostalgia for Miss Piggy and Kermit is strong, but it’s OK if they evolve and change. It is stifling to assume that just because a show is part of your childhood, it should be confined to childish premises. (It is also important to point out that The Muppets aren’t THAT sordid and sassy. It’s not like they are on HBO after dark or anything.)
Instead of writing the story about how Miss Piggy is finally America’s first successful female late night talk show host, writers find joy in exacerbating their outrage. For example, in the NY Post’s angsty review of the show (see above list) Julie Gunlock argues the most infuriating logical fallacy, the hasty generalization. Gunlock argues, “What’s next? Kermit deals with drug addiction, AIDS, gender reassignment surgery? Perhaps Miss Piggy (or Kermit’s new girlfriend) should deal with infertility. Or let’s all have a laugh riot while one of them visits an abortion clinic.”
Goodness. Slow your roll, Gunlock. It’s all in good fun. Kermit’s jokes about break-ups and office conflicts are meant for people who have dealt with break-ups and office conflicts AND grew up watching The Muppet Show. Kids today don’t need The Muppets they have Doc McStuffins and whatever Yo Gabba Gabba is. There is enough earnest television for them. I think it’s OK for the muppets to grow up a little bit.
If not, it’s not the end of the world. Your childhood is still intact and your life will go on.