I never watched a lot of the original Muppets television show, although I knew it was a very big phenomenon. All the characters, all the inside jokes, all the celebs who made appearances-- it was a big deal.
Image from here.
But that was back-- I don't know-- 25 years ago?
And there's no way the Muppets are going to make a comeback.
But everyone in Hollywood does make a comeback, and the Muppets have, too. And even if the voices don't sound quite exactly like they used to, the trademark Muppet comedy is back and better than ever.
The original Muppets show started in 1976, which is actually 35 years ago, but one thing they did is still very "now:" self-consciously play with the idea of show.
The Muppets never just did a show where you saw the performance and that was it. They interspersed scenes behind the scenes, showing the sausage-making quality of putting on a stage show. Kermit the Frog's ultra-nerd nervousness and neuroticism added humor as he tried to make sure all was well amidst the floating chaos of bahk-bahk chickens, prop mishaps, and Miss Piggy divadom.
All that comes back in spades in the new movie, along with plenty of self-referential break-the-fourth-wall intertextual inside joke stuff. Which means that the adorable and star-powered Amy Adams, looking very wholesome with long, curled hair, actually has very little to do in the picture.
Yes, there is plenty of show in this Muppets show. To spare, in fact. Almost as if they took the original show and pumped it up on Muppet-Growth-Hormone. At the end, despite all the self-consciousness, it would not be surprising if you wipe away a bit of a tear.
Congrats to the people behind all this. And congrats to everyone who kept the flame burning all these years.
It was worth it.