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Friday, June 15, 2018

The Muppet Show Reboot By Nicholas Napoli

A few months ago, I read online, something that made me very happy, The Walt Disney Company, was considering rebooting The Muppets for the launch of their new streaming service in 2019. This made me happy for many reasons, the wait between The Muppet Show and Muppets Tonight was 15 years, the wait between Muppets Tonight and The Muppets (2015) was 20 years. Luckily the wait between The Muppets (2015) and their newest show, will only be 3 years apart, can you believe it’s already been two years, since The Muppets (2015) was cancelled, where has the time gone? This move also shows how determined The Walt Disney Company are, when it comes to keeping the Muppets alive, and that I can appreciate. Fans and Non-Fans alike, are hoping, and expecting, a revival of the original The Muppet Show, when will The Muppets start listening to their fans? The Muppets (2015) was ambitious, brave and would have worked better, had it been The Muppets third season, as opposed to their first. The audience were tossed right into an ongoing storyline, we were no longer familiar with these characters, we had missed out on too much of their current lives, I for one couldn’t truly get invested. I believe, if you want to change The Muppets, not that this is necessary, but to do so, you must first give the audience something their familiar with, in our case, it’s The Muppet Show. Disney’s new streaming service, launching in 2019, promises a new Muppet reboot, I’m excited, nervous and intrigued by what we might get. 

The new Muppet Babies (2018) reboot, has proven to be a hit, for me it is clear why, clever storytelling, that is contained within Muppet continuity. The Muppets, as characters must remain true to who they are, this can’t be changed, Muppet Babies has captured these characters perfectly. Always go wild and wacky, when it comes to The Muppets, make them feel out of this world, not simply as part of our existence. Do not tone down the Muppets, to fit around their new surroundings, have their new surroundings adapt to The Muppets instead. If the Muppet Babies can be rebooted successfully after 27 years, I’m sure the same can be done, with The Muppet Show franchise. The premier season, in my opinion should continue doing, what the last series began to do, reintroducing everyone’s favourite Muppets to today’s generation, with a much larger cast of characters this time around. As in the original Muppet Show, Kermit the Frog along with his co-stars Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, The Great Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, Animal and the rest of the Muppets, try putting on a show every week, cutting from on stage disasters to backstage antics. Following the same concept as the original show, there should be a special guest star in every episode, even if it is against their will. Along with classic favourites including Pepe the Prawn, Rizzo the Rat, Dr Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Sam the Eagle, The Swedish Chef, amongst others. At the same time, I would like to meet newer Muppets, being introduced each season, on a regular basis, and let’s not forget to bring Walter back, this time around. 

Alongside new Muppets, I hope many old, familiar characters are brought back too, including Polly Lobster, Clueless Morgan, Mad Monty, Clifford and if even possible, Skeeter. What I most enjoyed about The Muppets (2015) series finale, was the arrival of so many, long, lost, favourite Muppet characters, ranging from Droop, all the way to Howard Tubman. Sadly, this happened at the end of the series, whilst at the beginning, audiences only had a select number of Muppets, in which to root for. The Muppets are not actors, one does not need to pay for their appearance, just to have them walk around in the background, that is why I believe, familiar background Muppets, should never go away. As a kid, I always enjoyed waiting for my favourite characters to show up on screen, the large selection of characters to choose from, was one of my Muppet childhood memory highlights. I hope this is considered as a follow up to The Muppets (2015), I would personally like this new Muppet reboot, to not address the big cliffhanger at the end of the last series. Kermit and Miss Piggy’s relationship, in my opinion, should be considered a mystery as the show progresses, ala their relationship status on The Muppet Show. In The original The Muppet Show, Kermit and Miss Piggy never really labelled the status of their relationship, Miss Piggy was in love with Kermit, and Kermit most of the times, just wanted to put on a show. Kermit and Miss Piggy worked together, on occasions they might have shared a moment or even a passionate kiss, but at the end of the day, they were never a couple. Both Kermit and Miss Piggy flirted with different celebrities, did their fair share of dating, yet at times still confronted their relationship status and would on occasions argue like a divorced couple. At some point, in this new series, it would be nice to see them finally tackle this ongoing storyline, but for now, I think it’s safer to take Kermit’s advice, stay away from the love drama and put on a show. 

The second season could then begin to introduce viewers to the idea, that The Muppets Show Reboot, is not just based around the Muppets trying to put on a show but rather, the Muppets trying to live their lives. The same format as the first season could continue, yet more of the backstories slowly beginning to take over, until eventually the series can reach a “Muppets From Space” style of storytelling, which also sort of replicates the good parts of their 2015 series. As a fan, that’s The Muppet Show I would like to see, I want a happy not sad Kermit, I want a crazy not sensible Gonzo, I want Penguins not Office Workers, I personally would like an updated version of The Muppet Show. Basically, I’m hoping The Muppets Hollywood Bowl Show makes it onto my TV, on a regular basis.

- Nicholas Napoli

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