This past weekend once again confirmed that, if forced to make a Sophie’s Choice-type decision between having the Muppets in their lives or having their families in their lives, most people would choose the former. Variety reports America’s love affair with small assemblages of felt remains undimmed, as the creators and muppeteers of ABC’s upcoming comedy series took to the stage in Hall H to offer details about the new show.
By most accounts, the crowd reaction to the panel was massive—louder than that for The Walking Dead, Variety notes, but that may just be because AMC’s series demands a hushed ambience of silence wherever it lumbers. We’ve known for some time that ABC wanted the new series to be “more adult,” and during the panel, showrunner Bill Prady elaborated on what that actually means, outside of presumably graphic sex scenes between Gonzo and his chickens.
The trick of the show, if it works, is to make it feel for the first time that you’re seeing the Muppets in our world. There’s no barrier in the world that they’re in and the world that we’re in. There’s a whole aspect of their personal lives that we don’t know and we’re trying to construct personal lives for them that match the stuff that we do know.
That whole “in our world” thing is a bit vague, so let’s look at the details. The show is about a late-night show hosted by Miss Piggy that apparently airs right after Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Of course, there are no plans to put an actual late-night show hosted by Miss Piggy on ABC after Kimmel, so that whole “in our world” thing is taking a hit right out of the gate.) Kermit is the executive producer for this show, although he has broken up with Miss Piggy and is dating the head of marketing at the network, which seems like a conflict-of-interest lawsuit waiting to happen. (This marketing head is also a pig, named Denise, so Kermit clearly has a type.) The other Muppets will “have roles such as writers and editors. The Swedish Chef is in charge of craft services on set and Rowlf the Dog owns the bar across the street from the studio, named Rowlf’s Tavern.”
If you’re thinking this sounds a bit like a cross between 30 Rock and Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, you are not alone. Prady confirms the show will deal with “the intrigue that happens behind the scenes, but also at home and their emotional and personal lives.” A Muppet for all seasons, really. The show premieres on Tuesday, September 22. The desire to lavish affection on oddly proportioned puppets needs no premiere, as it will endure throughout the ages, in perpetuity.