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Muppets Now Episode 1 - Due Date (Pilot)

What did you think of the "Muppets Now" series premiere "Due Date"?

  • Absolutely positively! This episode was great!

  • Bork bork! This episode was good.

  • Mee mee. This episode was so-so.

  • You're all weirdos! This episode was disappointing.


Results are only viewable after voting.

Oscarfan

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I've seen thumbnails of YouTube reviews that seem very unkind, but that's probably the worst reactions I've seen.

That and every thread on the show on the Muppets subreddit has to bring up not liking Matt's Kermit. It's annoying.
 

Muppet Master

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The forced gratuituous adult content was one thing, but really, the 2015 series' main problem was that they tried way too hard to give it mainstream appeal by bringing in mainstream writers and directors to make it seem more like other mainstream "sitcoms" like THE OFFICE, THE BIG BANG THEORY, and MODERN FAMILY, and we ended up getting THE BIG MODERN MUPPET BANG OFFICE FAMILY THEORY.

Granted, like MWoO said, the Muppets have occasionally veered off into adult territory since the beginning when it was necessary, but the difference here is that they were much more blunt, blatant, and in-your-face with the adult humor.

Bottom line is, they tried too hard to make the Muppets something they weren't.

I haven't heard anybody say they hate MUPPETS NOW! yet; critical response has been mostly positive, and as far as fan reaction goes, the harshest criticism I've come across so far has been "Meh?" And that's been few and far between.
To be honest, I'd rather have a laughably bad muppet project like Wizard of Oz then something dull and meh like Muppets Now. MWoO wasn't a great movie but it was still interesting enough that I revisited a few times. I have no interest in re-watching the pilot of Muppets Now.
 

D'Snowth

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That and every thread on the show on the Muppets subreddit has to bring up not liking Matt's Kermit. It's annoying.
You sound like Duke Remington hacked your account.
To be honest, I'd rather have a laughably bad muppet project like Wizard of Oz then something dull and meh like Muppets Now. MWoO wasn't a great movie but it was still interesting enough that I revisited a few times. I have no interest in re-watching the pilot of Muppets Now.
I was speaking of the member @MWoO in response to his pervious remarks about previous examples of Muppets engaging in adult humor and jocularity.

As far as the movie is concerned, no, it wasn't the greatest Muppet thing ever produced, but it was certainly an improvement over VMX.
 

Oscarfan

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I'm not saying Matt's free from any criticism, but like every post on every thread is the same thing.
 

rexcrk

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To put it bluntly, it was a dull and laugh-less watch. It only made me miss the 2015 ABC series so much more. What we essentially got was a mismatch of Youtube-style muppet content packaged together with the loose narrative of the gang almost being late to submit the episode. The Miss Piggy sketch was grating while the Walter and RuPaul ones were just so-so. The highlight for me was the Swedish Chef skit with new character Beverly the turkey but even that was just okay and nothing special.

Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I just really like seeing the Muppets in a sitcom format more than anything else. The backstage scenes in the original Muppet Show were always my favorite part of every episode. And I feel Muppets Tonight and 2015 Muppets did a solid job with that as well. I'm not going to immediately write off Muppets Now because it's just the first episode (and the way they filmed may have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic) but it's certainly a pretty big disappointment for the time being. The next episode is Fozzie-centric so that's definitely a plus.

Overall though, if the following episodes also have a very thin storyline and focus more on skit shenanigans then this feels more like a compilation of Youtube clips than an actual full-fledged series. They should have gone with the Josh Gad show instead. Hate to be harsh but I just really feel dissatisfied with what we got.
I completely agree with what you said about preferring the Muppets in a “sitcom” format. I’ve *always* felt this way, even when I was a little kid. I loved the Muppet movies, but I never loved The Muppet Show. For one thing, it’s way before “my time”, so my unfamiliarity with the majority of the guest stars is definitely a factor. But, like you, I always loved the backstage segments. I’ve never really been a fan of “sketch comedy / variety show” type shows either.

That’s why I LOVED the 2015 show: it was just a great sitcom about the Muppets. And it was brilliant and hilarious and I really REALLY wish that it didn’t get such an undeserved backlash- especially from fans.
 

D'Snowth

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The Muppets could work in a sitcom format, if they actually used a good sitcom format, rather than the tired and trite mockumentary "sitcom" format that's become an overused gimmick in the 21st century. Honestly, mockumentaries work better for movies like Christopher Guest's string of movies, rather than a episodic series where you need to be able to invest in the characters and their arcs, which the mockumentary format makes rather difficult.
 

Old Thunder

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Here’s what I posted yesterday on Discord:

Muppets Now, Ep 1

First things first: I actually really dig the setup of the episode with Scooter uploading clips one by one. Makes it seem more connected. That said, I really hope that the individual bits change with each episode. I don’t think I wanna see Swedish Chef disasters and Piggy’s vlogs again. I barely thought they were passable here.

The episode just doesn’t feel very Muppet-y to me. It feels commercial. Like all the joy and creativity is gone and in their place comes 21st century glitz and glamor and no substance. I’m having trouble warming up to Matt as Kermit. He just doesn’t sell me on him. That said the photobombing piece was the best part of the episode. I could see what they were trying to do and it was pretty good.

Piggy is just over the top in her narcissism shower here. Deadly was the only thing that made that section worth viewing.

Swedish Chef ruined his show. Went on too long, felt stale, hated the over-the-top mock Swedish writ they had, by the end I felt drained. I’d rather watch Buzzfeed and cut out the comedic attempts crap.

And RuPaul... didn’t care. Felt like they could’ve tried to make a bonding thing with Gonzo since, yknow, they’ve both been labeled “weirdos” and triumphed regardless. Just pointless.

I’m feeling a light 3/10 on this episode. Hopefully the next one’s better.
 

MWoO

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I think what we are all seeing are The Muppets moving away from their original selves. I do not think this is an issue with the performers, but an issue with the writing and creative direction. Whoever is writing for these characters does not understand them. Not to turn this into a character analysis thread, but let's look at a few. (prepare for a LONG post)

Scooter

Scooter, up until his full return in The Muppets 2011 (though he had some minor returns prior) was characterized as an opportunistic suck up. He was always looking for ways to make a buck and use Kermit's authority for his own gain. If he wanted to do something all he had to say were those five little words "My uncle owns the theater". Sure, he followed Kermit's direction, but he did so in the way one would follow their boss's direction. Do what your boss says so that he keeps you around and as he moves up, you move up.

So what has Scooter become? Well, in The Muppets 2011 we see him as Kermit's stage manager, but he is far more good natured. He follows Kermit's direction, not to advance or get what he wants, but because he looks up to Kermit. When he calls Kermit "chief" it sounds a bit too... genuine. He seems genuinely concerned about the show, not his own career. There is no side hustle or scheme or sucking up to the boss. He is just mild mannered friendly Scooter.

In The Muppets 2015 this goes way too far in the nerdy direction. He lives with his mom, he is scared of everything, he is now afraid of losing his job and seems to have a genuine fear that Kermit will can him. Not only his is not looking to use Kermit to advance, he seems to never want to move up and wants to remain in the shadow of Kermit because it is safe. He turned into what Muppet Babies Scooter would have turned into, but was no longer what Scooter started as.

Now we see what looks like a mix if The Muppets 2011 and The Muppets 2015. He seems afraid for his job and good natured, but seems to have lost the ultra wimpiness he was given in the 2015 series. He is just... there.... Sure, it is nice to see him and he serves his purpose, but it isn't really Scooter as we knew him.

So how should Scooter be modernized, in my opinion? Make him an intern who has multiple side hustles. This is the gig economy after all. Scooter interns for Kermit in the hope of landing a steady paying job (which could be a running theme that Kermit does not pay him), but a point of conflict is that Scooter often abandons his post to be an Uber drivier, or a dog walker, or he because he just got a task rabbit job. Kermit now keeps him around, not because his uncle owns the theater, but because he is the best help no money can buy. This would be a return to the Scooter that is always looking to make a buck, keeps conflict between Scooter and Kermit, and gives both of them a reason for Scooter being there.

Swedish Chef

Chef has always been an odd ball. His main purpose is to deliver food related puns, usually by his very literal translation of recipes. He is a one note character, but that one note relies on clever word play. He hasn't changed too much in terms of character, but he has become far less clever over the years and in Muppets Now he seems down right dumb.

In this episode, we see Chef just being kind of lazy and stupid. They do the gag where he drops the entire box of salt in the pot, but usually when that gag is being done the Chef is... ya know... cooking something that he is seasoning. Usually the gag is someone is cooking a dish, they add a little salt, taste it, add a little more, taste it, then they dump it all in. This same gag goes for hot sauce, sugar, etc. In this case, they do an over head shot showing nothing in the pot. He is just putting salt into an empty pot... then throws the box in, The over head shot does not work for this gag and the context doesn't work either. They some how took a lazy yet mildly funny gag and they made it lazier and unfunny.

Then we see Chef add in seemingly random ingredients that had no clever word play attached to them. He throws in popcorn, cherries, a whole onion, a pineapple, there is no rhyme or reason. The other cook uses a pineapple in her dish, but not at this point in the bit so there is no reason for it to show up yet. Eventually we see a chicken and he is massaging it, but instead of doing a tenderizing joke, they say marinating? That doesn't make sense... Maybe if he was giving the chicken a bath, or if he got out a kiddie pool to put the chicken in, or even if he made a cocktail and had drinks with the chicken. Then maybe that joke would make sense. Otherwise it seems like an improv joke that didn't make sense, but they used it anyway.

Now we come to the plantains. We get a cute word play where he thinks plantains are plants or "planties". At least it makes sense in context. And then Chef just starts hitting bananas with a mallet... Why? The joke here is just "Chef makes a mess". Nothing clever. Finally, he just orders some food online. Not bad. Then the joke is ruined when he smashes the bananas and dirt on top of it.

Essentially, the writers took a character that was one dimensional, but relies on clever writing and removed the clever writing. This is the problem with Muppets Now being an improv show with only a guide instead of a script. Other characters can talk their way through an improvised bit. Chef can not. His whole shtick is literal interpretations of recipes and/or sight gags with violence like when his dough attacks him or lobster banditos show up. The only way to save his character is to actually write for it.

Perhaps, in this case, they could have made "jerk chicken" and the gag could have been that the chicken was a jerk. Or they could have stayed with curried chicken and played on the steps to make it like doing a spice rub (which ALSO would have worked better than saying marinate when Chef was massaging the chicken!). The could have made the chicken a "courier" to play off "curried" chicken. They could have said "spice your chicken" and instead Chef "spikes" the chicken like a volley ball. Basically anything other than random unrelated nonsense. The Chef is funny when he is literal, violent, and misinterprets things. He is not funny when he is doing random things just to be random.

phew... I think that is enough for now. I was going to tackle Piggy, but there is so much to unpack there that I think she will need her own post. In short, The Muppets need writers that actually know what made these characters iconic to begin with and not rely on surface level material. Seems like some of these bits were written based off of what the general public, who is not a Muppet fan but only has a passing familiarity with them, thinks these characters are.
 

Buff Beaker

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I just finished the episode. I thought it was pretty mediocre. I agree with pretty much everyone here, it seems very "commercial" and not very Muppet like. I'm really liking Matt as Kermit though. Personally I hope this show gets better and is maybe just a one off to boost up viewers or popularity for the Muppets. TBH why not do a show like they did at the Hollywood Bowl and the O2 back in 2017? Those live shows were fantastic and really popular. I really hope Disney has more plans for the Muppets and not just this mediocre show.
 

GonzoLeaper

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I watched the first episode of Muppets Now. It was okay. Thankfully, it seems to be generally more family friendly than the 2015 Muppets show on ABC. (Though there is a Muppet pig, Howard, that is presented as stereotypically gay that I wish wasn't on there.) I can't say I found it all that terribly funny. There were various segments that tried to emulate The Muppet Show in some ways but this show is nowhere near as good as that show- but I honestly don't think any new Muppet production ever will be as good as that show. My favourite part was seeing one of the guests make a great curry chicken dish with plantains, which makes for a great Caribbean style meal.
 
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