In a rare move, ABC has decided to release the 10-minute pilot pitch presentation that convinced them to make The Muppets, the group’s return to primetime this fall. The mockumentary-style format is certainly overdone at this point (as Gonzo points out), but I trust the Muppets to make it work (like they do just about everything else).
The clip features all of our favorites: Kermit of course, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Bunsen and Beaker, Dr. Teeth and his band, Sam Eagle, The Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf, and of course a dramatic entrance by Miss Piggy. But the show also makes fun of “obscure” Muppets, like one who can’t remember his name, and wonders when he debuted (“Muppet Treasure Island?”) But where is Camilla the Chicken? And Gonzo says he loves pigs?? Check it out for yourself below:
Despite the tired format, the energy of the presentation (directed by The Office’s Randall Einhorn, and written by The Big Bang Theory’s Bill Prady and The Simpsons’ Bob Kushell) more than makes up for it. There are a few truly funny moments, but the overwhelming sense from the clip is just happiness at seeing the Muppets back in action.
The new show also promises to delve into the Muppets’ “private lives,” which appears to include Fozzie’s girlfriend and her judgmental family, (“[We support] saving the wildlife, not being intimate with it!”) as well as Kermit and Miss Piggy’s on and off again relationship (“let the games begin,” she says. Kermit sighs to Gonzo, “I just made my life a bacon-wrapped hell on Earth.”) We appreciate you, Kermit.
The clip also shows that The Muppets humor (much of which, at least in this video, is super meta) is also a little more adult now. There’s certainly nothing that suggests it will be salacious, but many of the jokes and the references will probably fly over kids’ heads. On the other hand, the early Muppets relished in that, and it’s one of the reasons why 1979’s The Muppet Movie still holds up really well. This ain’t Sesame Street! (Although Big Bird’s cameo and the Public Television comment in The Muppet Movie is still one of my favorite scenes from it).
Anyway, what do you guys think? You can read more about what to expect from The Muppets show thanks to our Comic-Con panel recap, and definitely check out the trailer if you haven’t done so already. “God Bless America and its magnificent broadcasting company!”
The Muppets will air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC this fall.