Third-episode verdict: The Muppets (US: ABC; UK: Sky1)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 4

In the US: Tuesdays, 8/7c, ABC
In the UK: Mondays, 8pm, Sky1. Starts October 19th

I think it’s fair to say the universal reaction to the first episode of The Muppets was “Oh my God, what have you done?” An attempt to update The Muppet Show as a mockumentary set behind the scenes of Miss Piggy’s supposed late night chat show, it tried to give us adult, cringe comedy and depth of relationships.

It was horrible. It was wrong.

In common with a number of other new US shows this autumn, subsequent episodes have been an attempt to correct the pilot and put the programme on a stronger footing. Here, episode two seemed to show the right direction, effectively ditching most of the adult-oriented content in favour of what was basically a single-camera version of The Muppet Show, complete with a plethora of celebrity cameos, only with less slapstick and fewer laughs. It wasn’t great, but at least it didn’t make you want to a hug a toy Kermit and cry out “What have they done to you, old friend?”

Unfortunately, episode three started edging back towards the adult. Not hugely, but the joke count plummeted again, despite Christina Applegate’s best efforts.

It might well be that given time, The Muppets would end up being the comedic delight it should have been. But it’s not right now, so I guess it’s time to lower the curtain on this one.

Barrometer rating: 4
TMINE’s prediction: Will probably last a season thanks to the name value of the show, but will be lucky to be renewed

Author

  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.