If you haven’t already noticed Disney is slowly taking over the world one piece of intellectual property at a time. However, owning a brand is very difficult especially if there is no plan in place; see Disney’s treatment of the Star Wars and Marvel franchises.
Which leads us to The Muppets who Disney has owned since 2004. Since then they’ve been very low key with only one good project since that time: 2011’s The Muppets (the sequel was just okay). They also had a failed project: 2015’s ABC series also called The Muppets, which was a behind the scenes mockumentary that only lasted one season.
Even when Disney+ was announced, there was very little information about Muppets projects. So going into last year’s D23 Expo it came as a bit of a surprise that Muppets Now was announced. It describes itself as the first Muppets Studio ‘unscripted’ series. The show is a compilation of short sketches each tailored to a different Muppet’s strength’s. This is where Now excels over the 2015 series, which cared about portraying the Muppets as ‘real’. In Now, the Muppets are allowed to be characters and are given carte blanche to be as zany as they can be.
The ‘Muppets Field Test’ segment follows our favorite scientists Dr. Benson Honeydew and Beaker doing some actual science experiments a la Mythbusters. Here they do things like catapult pizzas at a target in a segment on velocity and sett things on fire to see if they’ll melt or burn.
‘Okie Dokie Cooking’ has the Swedish Chef take part in a cook-off with celebrities and chef’s including Carlina Will, Danny Trejo, Roy Choi, and chef Giuseppe Losavio. The best gag is where he tries to make Danny Trejo’s chicken molé tacos by wrapping a Muppet mole in a blanket-sized tortilla.
Pepe the King Prawn gets his own game show where he makes up the rules as he goes along. Miss Piggy hosts “Lifestyle” a wellness and lifestyle program with the help of Linda Cardinelli and Taye Diggs. The best, if not weirdest segment, comes when Miss Piggy and Diggs are dining in the dark. She grabs a hot plate and Diggs asks, “Smells like carnitas?” To which she replies, “no, that’s my hand.”
Lastly, Kermit and Miss Piggy co-host ‘Mup Close and Personal’ an interview style talk show where nothing really goes as planned. My only main criticism of the show is Kermit, who is presented more like a Dad figure. By this I mean he’s not that funny and is more of a caretaker. In his segment with Miss Piggy he’s okay but it’s the latter who’s doing the heavy lifting. He’s also not given a real opportunity to shine on his own. There are small segments before ‘Muppets Field Test’ where Kermit and Joe from Legal tell the audience to not try this stuff at home. But even here Kermit is bland whereas Joe is given the funny bits.
To be honest though, it doesn’t take away from the show overall which is very well done and truly feels unscripted at times. The only other thing to add is that the season is too short with only six episodes. As of writing this article only 3 episodes have aired so far. Check back in September to get our thoughts on the rest of the season!