A while back I offered my opinion on why the Muppets revival on ABC failed. Since then I’ve been wondering how Disney will attempt to keep the brand relevant. The skit format of the original show is actually tailor-made for streaming video and our A.D.D. attention-spans. It’s just that the new show instead went for a straight ahead clone of The Office. Well, apparently Disney has decided to do the obvious and produce a small number of isolated shorts for the Youtube channel. Youtube is already home to countless pop-culture parodies, and so for The Muppets to produce one seems to be a matter of coming around full-circle.
Here is one of the first, a revival of Pigs in Space. It’s somewhat amusing although not that groundbreaking to parody a movie from 1979.
The fact that they’re parodying an R-rated movie, and a scene with a lot of gore in it, however, is a continuation of the problematic aspects of trying to revive the property today via creators who come at it from a modern sensibility. This is, I believe, the first time the classic Muppets have shown Muppet-based entrails. A dubious distinction, IMHO. I’m still not convinced that people want the Muppets to be in sync with modern sensibilities. I think they’d rather have it nostalgically reflect the restrained sensibilities of the late 70s. However, the loose connection between Pepe as an illegal alien in the age of Trump does strike a familiar chord of occasional adult commentary from the Henson era. Nevertheless, Disney should realize that trying the same thing again and again and expecting different results is the definition of madness.
One can only guess what Disney’s engame is in producing these shorts, but for now they seem intended only to create a bunch of Youtube subscribers.