Last night, ABC announced many renewals, cancellations, and new series for the fall. Chief among these announcements in my world is “The Muppets.” Yes, Jim Henson’s creations are going to be back on a regularly schedule prime time network series for the first time since the ill-fated “Muppets Tonight” back in early 1996.
ABC offers the following synopsis of this new show: “‘The Muppets’ return to prime time with a contemporary, documentary-style show that, for the first time ever, will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, break-ups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires; a more adult Muppet show, for kids of all ages.” Bill Prady and Bob Kushell are co-writers and executive producers of the series, and the former has worked on Muppets projects for decades. Prady worked on “Fraggle Rock, “The Jim Henson Hour,” and even the “Muppet*vision 3-D” film at Disney World.
So, breaking down that synopsis, it sounds—despite the “first time ever” bit—pretty much like the old “Muppet Show” except that maybe we’ll get a little something of a look at the home lives of the Muppets. That, with luck, will work somewhat better than it did in “Muppets from Space.” Plus there’s that “more adult” phrase, but that’s rather vague and we’ll have to see what they actually mean by it down the line (nope, no video available yet, just the swell picture up top).
As a massive Muppets fan, I can’t quite tell you how excited I am by this pickup. I have spent a lot of time through the years trying to figure out just why the Muppets are as important to me as they are—I have done the same with James Bond—but I have never come up with an acceptable answer. I keep going back to Elaine trying to find out what a “New Yorker” cartoon means in one episode of “Seinfeld” and her being told “one doesn’t dissect gossamer.” But, I go back there because it’s just another reference in my brain, not because it’s actually relevant.
One of the things I truly love about the idea of this new series is forcing my children to sit down and watch it with me. Depending on where it actually appears on ABC’s schedule this very well might mean that I watch it live and then watch it again the next day with the kids. I am not sure that they are going to be quite as enthused by this whole thing as I am, but they’ll be watching it. They did, it should be noted, like “The Muppets” and “Muppets Most Wanted,” so there is certainly a distinct possibility that they’ll enjoy this one, too.
I can’t wait to find out.
photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless