Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Muppets Review: The End of the Rainbow Connection

My fondest memories of the Muppets are actually not from their movies or live-action shows.  I was wondrously in love with the Saturday Morning TV cartoon: The Muppet Babies.

That cartoon was a different take on the Muppets, making them younger and even more innocent.  And in their innocence they reveled in the power of their imagination and embraced the joy of life like children.  This did not take anything away from the original Muppets, it instead enhanced and highlighted what was so good about them.

And who could forget the magic of "Rainbow Connection?"  Who but the Muppets could deliver a song of pure optimism in a touching banjo ballad of tangible hope?  The song is about not giving in to the cynics who say that dreams about love and beauty are empty illusions.  If you really believe, you can achieve your dreams.  That's what the Muppets stood for.

All of that is over now.

The Muppets have been officially ruined.

This was in the cards for a little while.  The rebooted Muppet movie from a few years ago had a lot of the trappings of the classic, optimistic old show but there was just a slight touch of cynicism that is poisonous to something like this.  The sequel, Muppets Most Wanted, employed some of the most cynical humorists around like Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais.

Now the Muppets have fully embraced the cynicism and so have lost all of their joy.

There is nothing joyous about this show.  Are there some funny jokes?  Yes.  But they lack any kind of heart or warmth.

In this first episode alone we had jokes about:

-unmarried pregnancy
-drug use
-hook ups
-gay bears
-bigoted parents
-Animal's several women

They've turned the Muppets into the cast from 30 Rock.  And that is NOT a good thing.

It's not that the jokes were incredibly offensive per se.  It's that they don't belong with the Muppets.

All of the affection that you have for the characters is completely lost.  These are Muppets that have been destroyed and deformed to reflect modern Hollywood's own disgusting image.  The Muppets are now defeated, self-loathing cynics who are emotionally broken and use humor as an outlet of their frustration and rage.

But the Muppets are supposed to be about joy and above all love.  The Muppets loved each other despite being misfits and weirdos.  And they loved life with an infectious love.  As a kid you would dream about spending time with them because of the affection and love they shared with each other.  And that dream always reminded you why you loved them Muppets.  You loved that dream.

But now the dream is over.  This is not a show about love.  This is not even a show for those who dare to dream of something better.

Somehow they lost it, that Rainbow Connection.

The lovers.

The dreamers.

And me.


  1. I wish I had more of an exposure to the Muppets outside of the movies (and not even the Jim Henson era movies). But I was definitely turned off from the first previews with all those raunchy jokes.

  2. It was not so much a moral outrage and a herald of the decline and fall of Western Civilization

    Your heartfelt litany of sins missed the big one. It was simply not funny.

    If you're up for it, TCM is showing all three of Penelope Spheeris's Decline of Western Civilization movies.