THIS week saw the re-launch of the iconic Jim Henson puppet series, The Muppets, in a new TV show for ABC in the US.
Created by Bill Prady, who has written and produced TV shows such as Married with Children, Dharma & Greg, Gilmore Girls and is the co-creater of The Big Bang Theory, the new Muppet show has been pitched to an adult audience in a mockumentary-style format similar to The Office.
The series is set in Los Angeles and depicts the everyday personal and professional lives of The Muppets during production of Up Late with Miss Piggy, a fictional late-night talk show starring Miss Piggy.
The first episodes that aired in the US provided a glimpse of a more personal background to the famous puppets’ lives, including the dating life of Fozzie Bear, performed by Eric Jacobson.
“When your online profile says: Passionate bear looking for love. You get a lot of wrong responses … not wrong, just wrong for me,” he said.
The subtle gay joke, like other sex jokes in the show, has caused outrage for some family groups such as the homophobic group One Million Moms who have called for a boycott and demand that it be pulled off the air.
According to a press release on the group’s website: “The family-friendly Muppets of the 1970s are no more. ABC’s new Muppet show… is not what Jim Henson imagined or created. The new show is aimed at a mature, modern audience and addresses subjects not suitable for family viewing.”
Jim Henson had intended characters of his The Muppet Show to be for adults, in contrast to to the puppets he created for the Sesame Street.
“I want Muppets stories to address things my friends and I are interested in, I never saw them as kiddie characters,” Henson said in 1983.