The Muppets: Where Are They Now?

17 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AdWatch: Audi Teams Up with The Muppets to Promote Emmys.

At least, that’s what the star of ABC’s upcoming The Muppets tells Good Morning America in thr interview below. “First of all, I ended the relationship,” she clarifies right off the bat. “Look at me, look at me!

The other day I hopped off the R Train underneath the Fox News Corner of the World and came face to face with a poster promoting ABC’s new interpretation of “The Muppets.” “No subject is off limits,” one show source told the newspaper. “Everyone remembers the classic Jim Henson Muppet Show of the 1970s and 1980s, but this new show is aimed firmly at a mature, modern audience and addresses subjects that would have been taboo in the past.” And then there’s Time Magazine’s faux interview with “international celebrity” Miss Piggy, titled, “Is Monogamy Over?Kermit and Miss Piggy are reuniting for a date — a pre-Emmys power lunch date, that is — to help promote this weekend’s Primetime Emmy Awards and Audi ‘s new plug-in hybrid car.

If someone from 1995 accidentally teleported to the fall of 2015, they’d probably be weirded out by selfie sticks and the prices of a one-bedroom condo. Would you throw this away?” As for what she’s doing now without Kermit, she emphasizes that she has suitors lining up to date her. “I’m playing the field,” Miss Piggy explains. “There is someone new every night.” In fact, she’s been having potential suitors fill out an application form to date her, which means her latest beau Josh Groban must have submitted a sterling app. Breaking Up With Kermit Made Me Wonder.” Conservative writer (and Fox News contributor) Erick Erickson reminded his readers that Miss Piggy came out as a pro-choice feminist during an MSNBC interview. “At a time more and more parents are concerned about family oriented television, we get a puppet character loved by kids weighing in on abortion and monogamy – both to the left and on the leftwing MSNBC,” Erickson wrote. But at play in the fields of our TV schedule, they’d feel right at home — and perhaps even a little sad or baffled that, with unlimited options, we haven’t come up with much that’s new in 20 years. Taking a mockumentary approach– or should that be, “sockumentary?”– cameras follow all the chaos as Miss Piggy readies for her her own late-night talk show with Kermit as her producer.

When asked whether it’s strange for her to see Kermit across the conference room table or even miss the “twinkle in his eye,” Piggy says not at all. “That twinkle in his eye is due to the fact that he has no eyelids, okay?” she says, adding that she hasn’t given any thought to reconciling with the nicest frog in Hollywood: “I can’t really think about it right now while we’re in the middle of publicizing the breakup.” And though she continues to insist she’s moved on, Miss Piggy does reminisce about why she loved Kermit. “I mean, he’s a looker, that’s for sure,” she admits. “Those eyes, that body, and the supreme sense of self-confidence that frog has, just walking down the street completely naked.” Unfortunately, they are no longer dating and that makes for a lot of tension on the set in the days leading up to the show’s premiere, especially since Kermit has moved on to a porcine brunette named Denise. The video, produced by PMK·BNC, also also features cameos from “Modern Family” actress Julie Bowen and “How to Get Away With Murder” actress Viola Davis, both Emmy nominees. Audi, a longtime Emmy sponsor, last year promoted its sponsorship of the awards show with “Barely Legal Pawn,” starring “Breaking Bad” stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.

Netflix (we’ll have to explain to our visitor what Netflix is) has reassembled the cast of “Full House” for an updated series called “Fuller House” — to astonishing huzzahs from those who grew up with the original (and let’s be frank, singularly mediocre) sitcom, which aired from 1987 to 1995. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook. The obvious concept for the show is that creators Bill Prady and Bob Kushnell have taken a stock comedy situation and made us laugh because the dialogue is mostly spoken by puppets. View Archive While we can easily and proudly hold up a few wholly original, not-even-based-on-a-book TV shows from our era, the fact remains that almost nobody starts anymore with a blinking cursor and a blank screen. Dick has two shows on the fall schedule based on his stories — Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” and Fox’s “Minority Report,” which is itself a reboot of a 2002 movie.

Even HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” arguably TV’s best show right now, exists because of several thousand pages that were already treasured by readers. This isn’t the first time the Muppets have tried for a grown-up audience. “Muppets Tonight” aired for two seasons in the late ‘90’s, with many of the same elements Prady aand Kushnell have woven into the new show The Muppets are always going to be the Muppets. That means more episodes of shows you already like, more shows that closely resemble shows you liked before (or are spun off from those shows, as with the twin mini-empires of CBS’s “NCIS” and NBC’s “Chicago” dramas) and more stars of shows you liked who are now making a bid at starring in shows vaguely like the ones that made them famous. ABC’s “The Muppets” takes a head-on approach to letting the characters have a self-awareness of their business potential and personal burden as an indentured class of employee. She’s been seen on TMZ cavorting with the human actor Topher Grace; Kermit, perhaps predictably, has started dating another pig — a network publicist named Denise.

As I watched these iconic pieces of foam and felt interact with the press, I have never been more impressed by the unseen puppeteers below them, whose spontaneous sense of humor does the real work. “To get back to prime time, it takes a while, you know,” Kermit said. “We’ve been owned by multiple people. . . . Their first show, which ran from 1976 to 1981, was also a show within a show, chronicling the backstage mayhem of a weekly variety series in the tradition of “Laugh-In” and “Donny & Marie.” After the initial success of 1979’s “The Muppet Movie,” the big screen was less kind, pushing the Muppets into the category of beloved but spent franchise players. A 2011 movie exhumation (also called “The Muppets”) benefited from the tender loving care of Muppet superfan Jason Segel, who co-wrote and co-starred in the film and lent the project a sincerity that works very well now when it comes to reboots.

It’s an ineffable but mutual exchange between the people who make TV shows and movies and the fans who consume them — an implied understanding that something is cool again because it was never not cool. This is the culture that invented the hyperbolic concept of proclaiming even the most pedestrian experience (a movie, a concert, a new piece of clothing) as the Best. [Something.] Ever. (Such phrasing supplies, somewhat belatedly, the title of NBC’s weird new variety show, “Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris.”) When everything is the best thing ever, and when it is easier than it has ever been to connect to fans who affirm that belief, then no reboot or remake seems out of the question, whether it’s “Full House” or “Fargo.” For a long time — a few decades, perhaps, beginning with the ’60s — the most interesting pop-culture stuff (movies, TV, books, music) thrived on cynicism, skepticism, and a brooding attachment to themes of darkness and anxiety. Perhaps it’s helpful to keep in mind that when “Star Wars” premiered in 1977, George Lucas went on vacation, hoping to avoid confirmation that he’d made a bomb. If something was on when you were a child — or a teen or a young adult — then you probably would say that you “love” it, it was the best ever, etc.

When Fox recently showed critics a long scene from the new “X-Files” — a scene in which, once more, Mulder is trying to convince Scully that he’s figured out the grand conspiracy — it played almost like parody. (I kept waiting for Scully to tell Mulder to eat a Snickers bar, that he’s not himself when he’s hungry.) In other words, you have to be careful what you wish for. Fans subsist on affirming one another in this love, causing great, noisy, orgiastic demand for the return of stories and characters who, in another era, would have faded into appropriate history.

The new generation of entertainment journalists now pitch stories about shows that they expressly love (or occasionally love to hate), generating epic oral histories of both cult favorites and ratings/box-office smashes. Here instead is your listicle with “19 Reasons Why They Need to Bring Back ‘Family Matters.’ ” Here is your complete oral history of “Saved by the Bell.” The same is true at the networks. Sensing all this devout and sentimental love out there (and its tempting dollar potential) makes it that much easier to greenlight a reboot than to take a risk on something original.

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