In a weird coincidence of television history, the fall of 2006 brought with it two NBC series about the stressful goings-on behind the scenes at a Saturday Night Live-esque sketch comedy show: Tina Fey’s freewheeling half-hour comedy 30 Rock and Aaron Sorkin’s tense hour-long drama Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. For a few weeks there, it looked like Studio 60 was the one to beat, but history has clearly rendered a different verdict. But Sorkin’s show has obviously not faded from everyone’s memory, as evidenced by Mike Henneberger’s new YouTube parody series Studio 60 On The Sesame Street, which cross-pollinates it with ABC’s current mockumentary series, The Muppets. Despite its title, Henneberger’s mashup series has virtually nothing to do with Sesame Street, apart from the key participation of Kermit The Frog in both projects. Bert, Ernie, Oscar, and Big Bird are absent here. Instead, Henneberger draws virtually all of his audio from Sorkin (i.e., lightning-fast, quippy dialogue) and virtually all his video from The Muppets (i.e., adorable, googly-eyed puppets). Those bothered by the idea of Kermit speaking with the voice of Matthew Perry are advised not to investigate further.
The show’s premiere episode sets up the premise, as Kermit and Scooter, as “Matt” and “Danny” respectively, take over the floundering Studio 60, where Kermit’s ex, Miss Piggy, is a longstanding cast member. Kermit and Piggy clash, as always, but this time the issue is Piggy’s performance on the super-conservative 700 Club with Pat Robertson. Also, it is revealed why the Muppets’ eyes are so wide-open all the time: cocaine.
The Studio 60 On The Sesame Street saga continues with the second episode, in which Kermit and Scooter struggle to put together a suitable cold opening for the show’s season premiere, which isn’t easy since the program’s felt-and-foam writers keep pitching what sound like terrible ideas. And Kermit and Piggy are again at odds, their problems worsened by the fact that the former is dating a young female staffer. The Sunset Strip/Muppets parallels abound.