Five things I want to see from the new Muppet Show
|LISTS - TV LISTS|
Even Bunsen Honeydew can't hope to mess successfully with a winning formula...
Just before the release of The Muppets movie last November, it was announced that NBC had ordered a script for a brand new television series titled The New Nabors (in homage to late Andy Griffith Show actor Jim Nabors), a single-camera sitcom about a family who are aghast that their new neighbors are Muppets. Not too much seems to be known about the show, but the script is being written by John Hoffman (Good Boy!) and John Riggi (30 Rock). The Muppets made appearances on various programs in their early years, including The Jimmy Dean Show, Saturday Night Live, and obviously Sesame Street, before Incorporated Television Company in the UK gave them a shot with The Muppet Show. Since then there have been feature films, television movies and one brief program, Muppets Tonight, on Disney Channel. But what can one expect from a new Muppet-centric program in this modern age? Here are a few things I still expect.
5. The Classic Cast
It may be tempting to create a whole new cast of puppets for a sitcom like this, but one thing The Muppets did better than anything else was prove to everyone that the Muppets still mattered. People showed up in throngs to see how our favorite puppets were faring in the modern world, and to everyone’s surprise, they are doing very well. With a new Muppets Renaissance happening, it would only make sense to keep them in the spotlight as long as you can, especially when modern audiences seem to have a certain ADD when it comes to what’s popular. There is always room for some new additions, but don’t fix what ain’t broken.
4. Classic Humor
While there were the occasional double entendre or joke that was over-the-heads of any younger viewers, The Muppets never allowed themselves to dip into the toilet humor or gross-out well. The original series and following feature films were written for both children and adults to enjoy, something that had been forgotten in the 90s as writers pushed out more kid fare. With a return to the original humor style with The Muppets, naysayers were proven wrong that there is no room for that style of comedy in the jaded modern world.
With the variety show format gone, there won’t be a need for the traditional guest star. But that doesn’t mean that there can’t be guest spots in other capacities. Sitcoms have been known for getting big stars to do guest spots, and with the involvement of The Muppets, I would think that there would be quite a long list of actors who would volunteer to appear alongside them.
Another thing that made the guest spots memorable from the original series was the fact that there was a wide variety of stars that appeared. The biggest names in film, television, theater, music and other performing arts made their mark on the Muppet stage.
2. The Usual Hijinks
While much of the madcap humor was aided by the fact that the original series was done in a variety show format, there could still be room for musical moments, motorcycle jumps, explosions, boomerang fish, or whatever else the writers want to throw into the mix. The truth is, if an audience is willing to suspend their disbelief long enough to believe that a group of puppets have moved next door to a normal family, they’ll buy anything else that goes along with it. And in this day and age where sitcoms tend not to follow the textbook “How to Make a Sitcom” format, anything goes.
1. Keep It Real
Let’s face it, what has made the Muppet formula work has been the seamless interaction with live action actors. Writers shouldn’t make the mistake of adding jokes where people point out to the audience that the Muppet characters aren’t flesh and blood people, because as far as we’re concerned, they are. The reason so many of us have remained fans over the years is because we don’t see puppets on screen, but a wide variety of characters that just aren’t human. Frogs, pigs, bears, chickens and a “whatever” are simply the norm for the Muppets, and we accept them for who and what they are. I hope writers remember that.
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