After all the Hype, ‘Muppets Now’ is a Well-Intentioned Disappointment

Muppets Now
Muppets Now

After months of hype and anticipation, Muppets Now finally arrived on Disney+ and promptly fell flat on its face (and not in a good way).

As a lifelong fan of the Muppets, I was thrilled when Disney announced that Muppets Now would be coming to Disney+ at the end of July. I felt sure that Disney had it in them to create a Muppet series that could still be enjoyable and funny. And really, after the awful bomb that was the muppets in 2015, I figured anything else had to be better.

Or so I thought.

While I can definitely state that Muppets Now is not nearly as bad as the atrocity that was the muppets, I’m sorry to say it’s not very good either. To be sure, the writers of Muppets Now clearly had the best of intentions when they put this series together. They had the idea (and it’s not a bad one) of updating the Muppets and their comedy for the 21st century, with video chatting, style blogs, etc. It’s not a terrible idea in theory and yet, when applied to such classic characters as the Muppets….it doesn’t work. At all. In fact, most of the premiere episode is very unfunny.

It’s hard to explain except to say that most of it feels wrong. The one part that somewhat works is Miss Piggy as a prima donna fashion blogger (though I was appalled to see Uncle Deadly as her spiteful assistant, that doesn’t work at all). The rest of it falls under the umbrella of “I can see what they were going for but they didn’t quite think it through.” For instance, I was horrified to see the Swedish chef (one of my FAVORITE Muppet characters) placed in a cooking segment (presented as a reality-type cooking competition) that, far from being funny, was painfully awkward. Part of the thing that made the Swedish chef so funny was the pure humor of watching him try to work with ingredients that more often than not would fight back against him. In this segment, the Swedish chef is made to look like an idiot, and it’s not funny at all.

The rest of the episode is more of the same. The writers clearly tried but they’re missing the core of what made the Muppets so funny. In short, they overthought everything and the result is a mess. Even RuPaul couldn’t save this episode, and I’m afraid Muppets Now is doomed to failure just like the muppets before it.