Jim Henson originally had no intention of making the Muppets kid-friendly

The Muppets feel as interwoven with pop culture as Star Wars, Saturday Night Live, and The Simpsons. The legacy of The Muppet Show, Muppet Babies, Sesame Street, and the gang’s numerous movies—both classic and modern—continue to ripple throughout culture. What’s wild, however, is that the wide-ranging franchise would…

A soundtrack, a cinematic board game, and a guide to big- and small-screen landmarks

A candidate for a future installment of Soundtracks Of Our Lives, the album spawned from the so-so Cameron Crowe film Singles is one of those records whose impact was so much more significant than its source material that it became more a commentary on the state of American music culture at the time of its release…

Get Involved, Internet: Fund a Jim Henson exhibit to preserve dozens of puppets

Four years ago, New York City’s Museum Of The Moving Image announced it had received a gift of nearly 400 puppets, costumes, and historical materials from Jim Henson’s family, and that a new permanent exhibit was in the works to celebrate the legendary creator’s life. Now called simply The Jim Henson Exhibition, the…

The Muppets don’t need another movie or TV show—they need YouTube

One of my favorite YouTube videos is a scratchy, 60-second sales pitch for grocery-store chow mein. The setup is strictly Mad Men—“Behold, a sad bride who can’t cook”—but the insensitivities of a bygone era are waved away with the introduction of the weeping young woman’s co-star: “Behold a dragon, who lurketh in the…

Blast off into the weekend with footage of Muppets blowing each other to smithereens

Congratulations: You’ve made it to the end of another work week in Omni Consumer Products’ America, a designation that presumes you managed to get any work done without being constantly distracted by current events, like 29 percent of respondents to a recent BetterWorks survey and 100 percent of Anthony Andersons in…

Collection-worthy vinyl, cheap coffee, and comedic commentary

My devotion to the work of Jim Henson goes beyond lengthy dissections of Henson’s greatest successes and most fascinating failures and into spaces like my record collection, which still includes the first piece of vinyl I ever spent a significant amount of time with: The Muppet Show’s 1977 spin-off album. Until…

5 episodes to kick off your ABC throwback bingeing

In 5 To Watch, five writers from The A.V. Club look at the latest streaming TV arrivals, each making the case for a favored episode. The reasons for their picks might differ, but they can all agree that each episode is a must-watch. In this installment: ABC’s throwback, which makes its old shows available for…

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The Muppets’ emotional core gets stronger while its comedy gets weaker

Three episodes after its winter break, ABC’s recalibration of The Muppets has developed an interesting problem: It has a strong emotional core, but struggles with the comedy. This isn’t always a bad thing, as melancholia and introspection tend to be unique in the Muppetverse. That’s not to say the characters never…

Instead of a true reboot, The Muppets “make a few tweaks to our show that make us happy”

At first, the brief opening theme to ABC’s The Muppets appears to be exactly the same as when we last checked in on Jim Henson’s creations: Kermit walks to craft services for some coffee, only to see his coworkers swarm the table and pick over the refreshments in hyper-speed until there’s nothing left. Right as he’s…