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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.

GonzoLeaper

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Why? Would you also say that they shouldn’t be exposed to the idea of heterosexual relations? Because that’s been shoved in their faces since day one. Would you also agree that beastiality shouldn’t be shoved in kid’s faces? Because that’s what Beauty and the Beast is and no one’s flipping out.


A lot of parents aren’t discussing it properly with their children. They’re making it appear as if being LGBTQ+ is a heinous thing and emotionally abusing their kids. This is why we need more representation in the media because children need to learn that it is okay and they are not worthless because they’re gay. And good shows should have a little bit for everyone. What about children of same sex couples? Why can’t they have someone to relate to?


I feel like this is the plot of every 1980s Christian propaganda flick. Just exchange “sexual desires” for rock ‘n roll, parties, and the like. Also that would suck for them since God doesn’t exist and they’re just suppressing natural feelings in a vain attempt to butter up with the Fairytale Godfather. Weak! Sad!
To answer your first question, the reason why I say this is because I follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and in His Word, The Bible, homosexual relations are condemned as sin. I would certainly agree that bestiality should not be shoved in kid's faces. Of course, "Beauty and the Beast" is a fairy tale that still involved a male human being that Belle fell in love with, albeit while he was in a transformed state. I don't think any sexual relations are ever depicted, implied or intended. That story also serves as a metaphor in learning to love one another and look beyond outward exterior in doing so, along with the power of redemption. Indeed, "who could ever learn to love a beast?" God did- He loves all of us despite our beastly sins. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for the penalty of sin ("the wages of sin is death" - Romans 6:23) and He rose again to prove He's God and give us the hope of resurrection too. ("the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." - also Romans 6:23)
There are certainly some heterosexual relations I don't think children should be exposed to either- particularly adultery, pedophilia, and incest. And I don't think it's appropriate to depict sexual relations between a husband and wife either. It is perfectly appropriate to depict a loving marriage though, since one husband united to one wife in the bonds of holy matrimony is God's design. (Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19)
I understand the concern for representation but I don't agree that representation of sinful relationships are good for children. No one is worthless at all for any reason. Everyone is infinitely important, eternally loved and valuable because everyone is made in the image of God. People who struggle with homosexual tendencies need to know this as much as anyone else. There is an important distinction between having tendencies toward something and actually acting upon those urges. To be clear, The Bible condemns homosexual relationships and sex. There are a number of Christians who acknowledge their struggles with homosexual inclinations and yet hold to the Biblical sexual ethos. (If you are interested in reading about their experiences, there are a number of resources out there for that purpose. See www.spiritualfriendship.org for one.) Children in such situations can still relate to families with a husband and wife and children, as they are in families too and every child needs a mother and father.
You're welcome to your opinion of Christian propaganda films but I do want to point out that rock 'n' roll and parties are not sins. I am also not aware of any that deal directly with this sexual issue in the manner I described. And actually, Christians don't suppress feelings to try to butter up God. You are quite correct that it is a vain attempt. There is no amount of good we can do to meet God's standard of perfection. (Leviticus 11:45, Matthew 5:48) We are all sinners by nature and thus, wrongful sexual desires are part of that sin nature. Isaiah 64:6 makes clear that all our righteous acts are like filthy rags in the sight of the holy God. That's why Christ lived a perfect life for us and died and rose to pay for all our sins. God certainly does exist and we will all stand before His throne of judgment one day and we will exist eternally in one of two places. We are all condemned to the lake of fire for our sins already. We need faith in Christ's righteousness and sacrifice on our behalf to receive God's forgiveness and have entry into Heaven instead. God desires all to come to repentance and be with Him in Heaven but He won't force anyone. That's everyone's choice to make. I pray you might choose to let Him save you too.
Whatever decision you make, know that you are loved and valued beyond measure for all eternity by the God who created you, me and everything in the universe. May He bless you richly. :smile:
 

DARTH MUPPET

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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.
Your pinpointing everything I liked about the 2015 show! And I absolutely loved Matt Vogels Kermit one of the few bright spots in the show very Jim Hensonish!
 

GonzoLeaper

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You do realize that the pig in question was talking to a drag queen, right?
I do. Of course, I also think RuPaul is much more than that and I am glad that the show recognized that.


Imagine being a kid with same-sex parents or something. Kindly **** off with the "they shouldn't be exposed" garbage. Don't care about language, this forum is wack now anyway.
I imagine that a kid in that situation would certainly be glad for the family that is theirs, but I also think they would feel ostracized by not having both a mother and father. I feel sorry for such children who are deprived of that. I see you have a different opinion on this and you're certainly welcome to have one and share it. However, I don't believe my opinion is garbage. I believe that children should not be exposed to sexual deviancy and subtly led to believe that sex outside of the marriage union of one man united to one woman for life is acceptable. If you don't, that's your choice. But both of us have equal rights to express them, so please respect my right to do so without resorting to foul language. Thank you.
 

Old Thunder

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homosexual relations are condemned as sin.
No they aren’t. Here’s an article breaking down the six main passages allegedly about homosexuality in the Bible and why they’re misinterpreted and misused:


And here’s an essay adding in a seventh verse that also breaks down them down:


Thoughts?
 

Old Thunder

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I also think they would feel ostracized by not having both a mother and father.
Of course they’re ostracized, and Christianity, like it or not, is a big part of why they are. If evangelicals weren’t so uproariously antagonistical to gay couples in the 19th and 20th centuries, the suicide rate for LGBTQ+ people, who are called sinners by a world of sinners, would be down. The stigma of being gay would be drastically lower. The abuse of gay people would be drastically lower. It is a testament of corruption pure and simple that gay marriage was only legalized on a national level in 2015. I am tired of Christians using, firstly, what I consider to be a highly flawed book, and, secondly, misreading that book, to justify the rampant homophobia in this country. It is ridiculous and I’m just tired. This is the 21st century we’re living in. When are we as a species going to evolve.
 

DePingPong

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Anyway, to make a post about the episode:
LOVED the photobomb bit, the Swedish Chef bit was okay, not a fan of the turkey lady. Couldn't care less about the Piggy bit, but I love Uncle Deadly so it's fine. RuPaul bit was fine, cool seeing Howard. And as for Scooter, he's always great so that's good. They just gotta iron out some kinks and they'll be golden. 7/10 tbh.
Would love to hopefully see Clifford again but I doubt it.
 

jobi71

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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.
I don't have Disney Plus, so I have not seen Due Date so my reply is to your comments on character. I think the Muppets 2015 did a great disservice to Scooter. His character has always been a go-getter whether by his own gumption or a mention of his Uncle. You describe him as an opportunistic suck up and one who runs side hustles. He is and he does, but I think it is with a bit more nuance. If a core cast member were to run a hustle I would think it would be Rizzo. I think Scooter is more interested in fame and fortune in show business rather than just fortune. He wants to get his foot in the door (which his Uncle gets him) and then he mixes casual reminders of his family with hard work. Stage Managing which he did at times sort of during the Muppet Show is tough work. But it also gets you close to the performers - Scooter frequently fanboys the guest stars. In season one he worked hard to get himself on stage - Simon Smith - and even as late as the Star Wars episode he concludes 6 String Orchestra - introduced by Kermit with "He can't play very well, but he's worked really hard" - with "Someday I'm going to be a star." As for the hustle I'd describe it more as opportunistic. He doesn't come up with the plan to pay off the audience on behalf of Miss Piggy, but he puts it in motion, and he switches horses midrace when Kermit offers him more money. I could be wrong but I think Scooter also would call Kermit "Chief" sometimes during The Muppet Show run. In short, like you, I want to see the old Scooter back. He's a more interesting character than a nerdy mama's boy.

Sounds like they got the Chef very wrong. You gave some pretty solid examples of why certain gags didn't work and how they easily could have been adjusted to work. It's frustrating when they write bad material for the characters, but it is even more frustrating when better options are so clearly in view.

From what I hear the episodes get better as they go along. This is good. If these 6 are well received over all - the reviews/comments I have seen outside the Muppet fanbase have been pretty upbeat - then perhaps we will get 6 more where the creatives know from the start they will be 6 full half hours, so the sketches and interviews could have more cohesion. And then we'll see what Disney has in store. A new regular show? A Disney + movie? New merchandise? Season 4 & 5? (always have to ask)

I conclude with agreeing with you about the writing. It's been inconsistant at best. If they have the right show runner to serve as the Jerry Juhl of this incarnation of Muppets I think we'd see some good stuff.
 
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