Muppets Returning to Prime Time TV: A Success or Failure?
By Jessica Lau
On a nine-year old girl’s bedside lays a plush green frog with a bright yellow collar. She clinches the stuffed toy tight as she happily watches Sesame Street’s Kermit the Frog as a news reporter who teaches little boys and girls their ABC’s.
The return of The Muppets on ABC has made many Queens residents and York College students excited. The Muppets were created by Jim Henson in the early 1970s has been a childhood favorite ever since. Many of the The Muppets’ characters came from Sesame Street the children’s educational program which aired on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Kermit the Frog is a fan favorite. His comedic character and unique voice made the show’s popularity increase.
The new muppet show is similar to the popular television show The Office. That show that premiered in 2005, dives into the personal life and different relationships between the work colleagues’ characters. The Muppets television show also describes the personal life and relationships of the colorful puppets at home and work. But the show presents a more sarcastic tone as Miss Piggy has her own late night show. The original muppets are known for family fun and made for kids entertainment. However, the new Muppets are for more mature audiences.
“My daughter loves The Muppets,” said Sharon Lee, a kindergarten teacher who lives in Forest Hills, Queens. “I love Kermit the frog and Miss Piggy’s relationship the most.” Lee’s daughter Elena held Kermit The Frog plush toy in her arms as they walked to school on Tuesday.
Despite the popularity of The Muppets, some people had negative comments about the new puppet comedy. Critics complained about the nudity and language that are harmful to the eyes and ears of children.
“I grew up watching The Muppets,” said Shannell Washington, a 28-year-old social worker from Brooklyn. “It taught you how to accept others who are different. It teaches us you can be friends with people who are different from you. The new show is not suitable for children, there are some nudity and offensive language but it is very funny for adults.”
In the summer, ABC advertised many promotional trailers and commercials for The Muppets. The company use many of the beloved television show actors and actresses to prom
ote its effort. During the summer, Scandal actress Kerry Washington helped The Muppets promote their new show while she interacted with Kermit the Frog. Other actress and actors made guest appearances such as Sara Ramirez from Grey’s Anatomy who met with Fozzie Bear.
Besides Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear, ABC also brought back a few more familiar characters like The Great Gonzo and Peter the King Prawn. Each episode will allow the audience to see the show’s four main characters’ personal life and relationships.
Janice Lorenzo, a York College Philosophy major, does not mind the new format.
“The Muppets being in an adult world is an interesting concept. I love seeing them blend into our world and how they would react,” Lorenzo said.
As the episodes progress, there will be numerous famous guest stars on the new show such as Elizabeth Banks, Josh Groban, Liam Hemsworth and Reese Witherspoon and the list goes on. With just four episodes under their belt, the ratings have been good with nine million viewers tuning in. Fans are excited to see more. The Muppets airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC Studios. ABC Studios and ABC are both owned by Disney. ABC studios is responsible for national programming and collaborations with other media while ABC television network is responsible for the local programming.