Muppets Now
GenrePuppetry
Improvisational comedy
Based onThe Muppets
by Jim Henson
StarringBill Barretta
Dave Goelz
Eric Jacobson
Peter Linz
David Rudman
Matt Vogel
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Production
Executive producersAndrew Williams
Bill Barretta
Sabrina Wind
Running time22–24 minutes
Production companiesThe Muppets Studio
Soapbox Films
DistributorDisney Platform Distribution
Release
Original networkDisney+
Original releaseJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31) –
present (present)

Muppets Now is an American television series produced by The Muppets Studio for the streaming service Disney+. Directed by Kirk Thatcher, the series is an improvisational comedy based on The Muppets franchise by Jim Henson. It premiered on July 31, 2020.

Premise

Muppets Now is a series consisting of multiple different segments bridged together by a framing device featuring Scooter. The segments include a game show, a cooking show, and a talk show. The series was marketed as unscripted, but several writers are credited. The show sees the debut of two new characters, Joe the Legal Weasel and Beverly Plume.

Segments

The segments include:

Cast

Muppet performers

Main article: List of Muppets

Additional cast

Contestants on "Pepe's Unbelievable Gameshow"

Guest stars

Production

Development

On May 21, 2019, it was reported that Disney was developing a 10-minute short series based on The Muppets.[1] The series was set to be an improvised situation comedy featuring three segments.[1] On August 23, 2019, the series was officially announced under the title Muppets Now.[2] On December 22, 2019, director Kirk Thatcher said that the series will approach "three different types of shows".[3] The series was originally filmed as several shorts, meant to be released individually but they were put together into 6 episodes with framing material featuring Scooter, that was filmed from the homes of the performers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Filming

Production on Muppets Now began on June 8, 2019,[1] and lasted approximately six days.[3] Thatcher serves as director for the series.[4]

Episodes

Season 1 (2020)

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Due Date"[5]Christopher Alender, Rufus Scot Church & Vito MassaroStory team: Matthew Barnette, Marcos Gabriel, Jim Lewis, Jamilyn Rosalas, Noah Smith, Joanna Truman, Andrew Williams & Kelly YoungerJuly 31, 2020 (2020-07-31)

Scooter uploads the videos for the Muppets' newest show on a tight deadline while receiving messages from his co-workers.

  • "Lifestyle with Miss Piggy"- Miss Piggy discusses personal style with Uncle Deadly, Taye Diggs, Janice, Rosie the Sheep, and Linda Cardellini.
  • "Muppet Masters"- Walter discovers Kermit's hidden talent for photobombing.
  • "Økėÿ Døkęÿ Køøkïñ"- The Swedish Chef and Carlina Will compete against each other to make the best curry.
  • "Mup Close and Personal"- Kermit attempts to interview RuPaul but is constantly interrupted by the other Muppets.

Guest stars: Linda Cardellini, Taye Diggs, RuPaul, and Carlina Will

2"Fever Pitch"[6]Rufus Scot Church & Vito MassaroStory team: Matthew Barnette, Marcos Gabriel, Jim Lewis, Jamilyn Rosalas, Noah Smith, Joanna Truman, Andrew Williams & Kelly YoungerAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)

Scooter has to deal with Fozzie bombarding him with pitches while trying to get the segments up online in time.

  • "Pepe's Unbelievable Game Show"- Pepe drives Scooter crazy with his made-up rules in this first installment, with help from Beauregard, Carol, and Gonzo and his chickens.
  • "Økėÿ Døkęÿ Køøkïñ"- The Swedish Chef competes against Danny Trejo to make the best taco.
  • Muppet Labs Field Tests-Dr. Bunsen Honeydew experiments with melting and burning with his new high-tech assistant Beak-R and a jealous Beaker.
  • Lifestyle with Miss Piggy-Miss Piggy discusses health with Uncle Deadly, Taye Diggs, Bobo the Bear, Yolanda Rat, Bubba the Rat, Camilla the Chicken, and Linda Cardellini.

Guest stars: Linda Cardellini, Taye Diggs, and Danny Trejo

3"Getting Testy"[6]Rufus Scot Church & Vito MassaroStory team: Matthew Barnette, Marcos Gabriel, Jim Lewis, Jamilyn Rosalas, Noah Smith, Joanna Truman, Andrew Williams & Kelly YoungerAugust 14, 2020 (2020-08-14)

Scooter is forced by Joe to host a test-screening for the segments, and the test audience turns out to be Statler and Waldorf.

  • "Økėÿ Døkęÿ Køøkïñ"- The Swedish Chef helps Roy Choi cook a Kalbi rice bowl with kimchi.
  • "Muppet Labs Field Tests"-Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker have some experiments on velocity with the assistance of a pizza delivery man.
  • "Lifestyle with Miss Piggy"- Miss Piggy discusses relationships with Uncle Deadly, Taye Diggs, Kermit, Beaker, Brie the Cheese, and Linda Cardellini.
  • "Pepe's Unbelievable Game Show"-Pepe continues to be unpredictable with Miss Piggy and Big Mean Carl's help.

Guest stars: Linda Cardellini, Taye Diggs, Roy Choi, and Al Madrigal

4"Sleep Mode"[6]Rufus Scot Church & Vito MassaroStory team: Matthew Barnette, Marcos Gabriel, Jim Lewis, Jamilyn Rosalas, Noah Smith, Joanna Truman, Andrew Williams & Kelly YoungerAugust 21, 2020 (2020-08-21)

Scooter gets Animal's help to keep him awake to upload the videos after he pulled an all-nighter.

  • "Mup Close and Personal"- Miss Piggy is trying to interview Aubrey Plaza, but gets too distracted by her looks, forcing Uncle Deadly to step in and double for her.
  • "Muppet Labs Field Tests"- Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, and their old and lonely computer, the Beepalyzer, experiment with sound vibrations.
  • "Økėÿ Døkęÿ Køøkïñ"- The Swedish Chef competes against Guiseppe Losavio to make the best spaghetti.
  • "Lifestyle with Miss Piggy"- Miss Piggy discusses self care with Uncle Deadly, Taye Diggs, Miss Poogy, Elena, Pepe, and Linda Cardellini.

Guest stars: Linda Cardellini, Taye Diggs, Aubrey Plaza, and Guiseppe Losavio

5"The I.T. Factor"[6]Christopher Alender, Rufus Scot Church & Vito MassaroStory team: Matthew Barnette, Marcos Gabriel, Jim Lewis, Jamilyn Rosalas, Noah Smith, Joanna Truman, Andrew Williams & Kelly YoungerAugust 28, 2020 (2020-08-28)

Scooter attempts to overcome the several technical difficulties that come with a system update while uploading the sketches.

  • "Lifestyle with Miss Piggy"- Miss Piggy discusses travel with Uncle Deadly, Taye Diggs, the Swedish Chef, Foo-Foo, Beverly Plume, some bunny, and Linda Cardellini.
  • "Muppet Masters"- Walter unveils Uncle Deadly's hidden talent for stage combat.
  • "Pepe's Unbelievable Game Show"- Scooter tries to keep things under control while Pepe enlists the help of a screaming goat, two cacti, and the Swedish Chef.
  • "Muppet Labs Field Test"-Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker experiment with pressure.

Guest stars: Linda Cardellini and Taye Diggs

6"Socialized"[7]Christopher Alender, Rufus Scot Church & Vito MassaroStory team: Matthew Barnette, Marcos Gabriel, Jim Lewis, Jamilyn Rosalas, Noah Smith, Joanna Truman, Andrew Williams & Kelly YoungerSeptember 4, 2020 (2020-09-04)

Robin makes Scooter co-moderator on the Muppets social media accounts, forcing him to deal with multiple notifications while uploading the videos.

  • "Muppet Labs Field Test"- Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker experiment with chemical reactions as Joe makes sure they meet legal standards.
  • "Økėÿ Døkęÿ Køøkïñ"- The Swedish Chef and Marina Michelson present their unique takes on meatballs.
  • "Mup Close and Personal"- Fozzie tries to interview Seth Rogen while babysitting a pair of mischievous babies.
  • "Lifestyle with Miss Piggy"- Miss Piggy discusses treating yourself with Uncle Deadly, Taye Diggs, Walter, Esther, Mary the cow, and Linda Cardellini

Guest stars: Linda Cardellini, Taye Diggs, Marina Michelson, and Seth Rogen

Release

Muppets Now premiered on July 31, 2020, on Disney+ and consisted of six episodes.[8]

Marketing

On August 23, 2019, during the series' official announcement, a promotional teaser featuring Kermit the Frog and a Muppet named Joe the Legal Weasel was shown at the D23 Expo.[2] On January 1, 2020, footage of the series was released in a video featuring original Disney+ content set to be released through the year.[9] The official trailer was released on June 24, 2020.[10]

Reception

On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 69% based on 51 reviews, with an average rating of 6.52/10. The critical consensus reads, "Though Muppets Now's formulaic sketches fail to showcase The Muppets' chaotic charms, it's entertaining enough to suggest that with looser reins - and a lot more music - it could become the best reboot in years."[11] On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12]

Common Sense Media rated the show 4 out of 5 stars, stating : "Parents need to know that Muppets Now is a family-friendly show about the Muppets trying to put together their own streaming series. Made up of different segments -- like Lifesty (sorry, Lifestyle) with Miss Piggy, a cooking show with the Swedish Chef, and many more -- the show features the Muppet crew getting up to their usual hijinks, with a modern twist. Piggy wants to be an influencer, Scooter is overwhelmed with video chats and Slack-type messages, and celebs of the day like RuPaul join in the fun. Like much Muppet fare, it's slightly edgy, with some very mild innuendo (a Muppet fan tells RuPaul he "just wants to touch him") and cartoonish violence in the form of slapstick and pratfalls. The series is fast-paced, light, and fun; families who are Muppet fans will be pleased to see this return to form from their favorite gang of now media-savvy puppet friends".[13]

References

  1. ^ a b c "EXCLUSIVE: Muppets Variety Shorts Coming To Disney+". The DisInsider. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  2. ^ a b 'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to Disney Plus
  3. ^ a b GalaxyCon Louisville
  4. ^ Kirk Thatcher official website
  5. ^ Disney+ Media Relations (June 17, 2020). "Next on Disney+: July 2020". Disney+. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Disney+ Media Relations (July 16, 2020). "Next on Disney+: August 2020". Disney+. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  7. ^ "What's Coming To Disney+ In September". What's on Disney Plus. August 31, 2020. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  8. ^ Coogan, Devan (May 20, 2020). "Disney+ will get Muppetational with new Muppets Now series in July". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  9. ^ What's Coming to Disney+ in 2020
  10. ^ Romano, Nick (June 24, 2020). "RuPaul dishes with Miss Piggy in trailer for Muppets Now Disney+ show". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  11. ^ "Muppets Now (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  12. ^ "Muppets Now Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  13. ^ "Muppets Now - TV Review". www.commonsensemedia.org. 2020-07-31. Retrieved 2020-11-17.