The Muppets ‘latest attempt at updating, while hopefully retaining the classic charm of the original’ 70s series, is the Muppets Now, inspired by YouTube vlog / Zoom meetings – which isn’t as totally tacky. as it sounds. series, The Muppets, from five years ago, Muppets Now feels slightly
under the weight of the Muppets overhaul for a modern fandom. The improvisational feel of the show and the fact that overall it sticks to the format of the variety show, helps create a sense of warmth and familiarity for those who might initially object to the elements. And look, the fact that Scooter, as the producer of the gang, uploads these segments and sketches to a streaming service rather than producing them live in front of an old audience isn’t completely irrelevant. Of course, the whole idea of the Muppets conjures up old-world appeal and a vaudeville aesthetic, but iCarly, which has been very funny and very successful over a decade ago
, proved that a family series can thrive with a web show as a premise.
The first episode of Muppets Now, “Due Date”, is a treat. It takes a few minutes to really crack up, but after watching Scooter click and drag the various segments, followed by a fashion vlog starring Miss Piggy and Uncle Deadly (one of the few MVPs in the 2015 series), the episode finds modest gold. with Kermit (new voice actor Matt Vogel) teaching Walter how to photograph properly in “Muppet Masters.” Yes, it turns out that Kermit’s secret superpower is the ability to instantly invade others’ precious photo ops . It’s very funny and it warms us up well for a cooking segment (“Okey Dokey Kookin”) that pits Swedish chef against chef Carlina Will. This whole piece is very well done and a lot of fun as Will does his best to make a curry chicken dish while the Swedish chef makes his way through a mess (mistaking plantains for potted plants) and then cheats nicely in order to present something that looks like food.
The final sketch is the best, with a lovely Q&A with RuPaul called “Mup Close and Personal”.
The final sketch of “Due Date” is the best. The show’s looser, unscripted vibe moves from the fashion corner of Piggy to Walter to Chef and ends nicely with a Q&A with RuPaul called “Mup Close and Personal”. This is where the best elements of the series, and the Muppets in general, swirl together for a conversation that is both heartwarming and silly.
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Watching RuPaul’s true reactions to Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo and more, while playing skillfully, is a joy. And RuPaul’s extended presence, along with the improvisational atmosphere, feels good. It works a lot better than Taye Diggs and Linda Cardellini pop-ins, which are too random. Overall, it’s a promising start to what is hopefully a worthy new Muppets running on Disney +.