I remember "The Muppet Show" when I was a kid. I sat
down there, transfixed to the television set, watching
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Scooter, the Swedish
Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker and the rest of the
gang attempt to put on a musical performance once a week
(and once a day in repeats). My favorite Muppet? Animal.
(Animal! Animal! RWAAAAAAAA).
I have seen all three Muppet trilogy movies (The Muppet
Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take
Manhattan) in the theater. I have caught their versions
of Treasure Island, a Christmas Carol and The Wizard of
Oz. I even caught Muppets in Space. I saw the Muppet
tribute to Jim Henson. Heck, I've even seen Kermit and
Miss Piggy battle it out on Hollywood Squares.
So it comes as no surprise that I am intrigued by the
potential of "America's Next Top Muppet". What surprises
me, however, is the buzz around it - and yes, there's
plenty of buzz around it. People love their old time
shows - and they love their Muppets.
The buzz seems to come in 2 flavors. The first type is
that they want to see the Muppets - and they would love
to see a revival. In the game show world, there have
been many successful revivals of classic shows. The new
version of Jeopardy! is enjoying it's 20-plus seasons on
the air, while Family Feud, though not at 10 years just
yet, is getting closer to that mark. The 'New' Price is
Right is arguably the most successful revival of a show
as it is approaching it's 35th year on television.
Yet for all of those people who want to see the Muppets
on the air, there is an equal number of people who don't
want to see the Muppets legacy tarnished. These people
think that when Jim Henson passed from our world, he
took the soul of the Muppets with them. In addition,
there have been game shows based on old shows that have
not done very well and have even taken the show that it
was based on down a few notches. The Next Partridge
Family, anyone? What about Fame? Gilligan's Island,
anyone? Even non-game shows (AfterM*A*S*H, Golden
Palace, Three's a Crowd, and the soon to be canned Joey)
that are trying to extend the life of a classic have
been known to fall on it's face.
So what's my opinion? I think that any fear of the
Muppets being a shell of their former selves is tempered
by the sheer desire to see the Muppets in new episodes.
Granted, there have been two revivals attempted of the
Muppets that have failed, but I am always willing to see
them try again - as long as they keep it in the spirit
of the Muppets and to not curtail it too much on the
present day. There has been enough shows on both the
reality and the satirical circuit to show the Muppets
what things will work and what things won't work.
Ok Muppets - you get the green light from me to try to
get things started with the most sensational
inspirational celebrational Muppetational new Muppet
Show. Just don't make me sound like either Statler or
Waldorf by the end of it.
Gordon Pepper is part-Muppet. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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