While ABC’s new mockumentary The Muppets was one of the most anticipated series of the new year, things got shaky shortly after the comedy began airing. The show was met with some serious backlash for a few reasons. Its mature subject matter and adult themes caused calls for boycotts, while the show critically wasn’t received quite as well as expected. Well, ABC and the team behind The Muppets seemed to have heard the criticism, and are doing some major reworking for the season’s back half.
Now it appears that The Muppets is venturing into self-awareness and metatheatrcricality as the show will now be portraying its re-working on screen. Referencing the change being made behind the scenes, the newest Muppets episode will see a brand expert coming in to make some changes of Up Late With Miss Piggy. This brand expert is apparently set by ABC itself, and will help make the audience more satisfied when watching Piggy’s talkshow.
The Muppets of course had a bit of rebranding themselves, after facing harsh criticism and rapidly dwindling viewership. In an attempt to fix the tone of the mockumentary, a change of showrunner occurred. Additionally, there has now been an attempt to make the character of Miss Piggy more likeable, rather than the completely selfish basket case we’ve seen thus far. It can also be assumed that lines of dialogue revolving around more adult themes may be negated, or at least lessened.
I think the change which might be the most effective in the forthcoming episodes of The Muppets is a new focus on the relationship between Kermit and Miss Piggy. The nation was almost cartoonishly shocked that the two characters ended their relationship before the pilot of The Muppets was first aired on ABC. While that episode did show the final moments between the couple, and addressed their feelings toward each other, this plot point was quickly abandoned. Kermit and Piggy began having a strictly professional relationship, although Miss Piggy was expectedly jealous of Kermit’s new girlfriend Denise. Focusing in on their failed love story will add a more human element to The Muppets, and also give it a bit of heart to go with all of the laughs.
The Muppets is using a fairly identical format to successful workplace comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation. Of course, part of what makes those shows so successful is the interpersonal romances and friendships between the silly characters. By making Miss Piggy and Kermit the new Pam and Jim, The Muppets may be able to bring more heart into the series.
While The Muppets has been struggling to hit it’s stride, the predecessors that it shares a form with did the same. The first season of The Office contained a rather unlikeable Michael Scott. The team would have to make some changes before The Office would truly come into its own.
Here’s hoping that The Muppets can make positive changes and recover. The Muppets will return to television on February 2nd, 2016 on ABC.