FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Muppets Now
I got a chance to watch the first episode of the much anticipated Muppets Now series which started streaming today on Disney+. Since it would not be fair to judge a whole season on one episode, I thought I'd offer my first impressions through this episode.
While I have thoroughly enjoyed the Muppets over the last twenty years, most people have felt they lost their way since the death of their beloved founder Jim Henson. There has been this need to reinvent characters that didn't need reinvention. And, one need not go any further that the original The Muppet Show to see these characters at their finest.
Whereas variety shows were the big thing of the seventies, to go back to it would have been a bit dated. So, what Muppets Now does is reboots the variety show as a series of YouTube videos. Regardless the format, the good news is that the characters are back full to form. The humor and warmth we felt for these characters in The Muppet Show are back!
I will say one thing for 2015's The Muppets, the greatest thing it ever did was pair Uncle Deadly as the stylist for Miss Piggy. That there is comedy gold and the two of them play very well off of each other. I am glad to see him being upgraded to a more regular character.
The only skit that I think felt off to me was Kermit as the photobomber. It just didn't seem like him. Kermit is way too high strung to have such a whimsical pastime. Although, it was nice to see Walter, who was introduced in 2011's The Muppets, being used again and that he has his Muppet home.
The only note I'll make is that they need to work with the guest stars a little better. That's the one thing that seem to be lacking from The Muppet Show where the show even got to get Vincent Price to break out of his scary shell to share a few laughs. The guest stars seem more like props here. For example, in Pig Sty(le), Taye Diggs and Linda Cardellini just kind of smile and say a few words. RuPaul had a little more of a speaking part, but I would have loved to have seen him whip on a wig and sashay with Miss Piggy rather than answer questions. Perhaps it will get better as it goes along.
All in all, though, a good first showing for the Muppets new fledgling series. I look forward to seeing more. I'll offer a more extensive review at the end of the season.