The new show “The Muppets” premiered this week and, well, a lot has changed since the carefree, innocent days of Jim Henson. The furry, fuzzy, and loony qualities that made the Muppets the Muppets seem to be M.I.A.
There was a sweetness to the old Muppets that made us all childlike. The new has nudge-nudge, wink-wink jokes about online dating.
2. True Love
Kermit and Miss Piggy were a fact, like your parents’ marriage. Foundational, unquestioned, quirky but enduring. They drove each other crazy. They could not live without each other. The eternal dance of pig and frog. In the new show, they’ve moved on.
3. Exploding Fish
Exploding anything. The Muppet show within a show was always teetering on the edge of chaos. If it wasn’t that one guy throwing exploding fish, it was Gonzo launching himself from a cannon. That’s what I call a show!
“The Muppet Show” combined the best musicians of the era with some of the best visual artists. The results were often breathtaking.
5. Pigs in Space
They were the best.
The Muppets always believed that if they could just put on one great show, they could change the world. There was a broadness to their hope, a generosity to their showmanship, a love for mankind in their wonka-wonka jokes. They aspired. They dared to dream in a better show, a better song, a better world.
We could use some of Jim Henson’s sincerity and childlike vision. Let’s hope the new version finds that magic.