Everything Old Is New Again: The Muppets

Jim Henson’s Muppets — fun fact: it’s a combination of “marionette” and “puppet” — are bona fide pop culture icons and celebrities.

click to enlarge Miss Piggy in 'The Muppets'
Miss Piggy in 'The Muppets'

Jim Henson’s Muppets — fun fact: it’s a combination of “marionette” and “puppet” — are bona fide pop culture icons and celebrities. From their first appearance on local Washington, D.C. TV in 1955 through 45 seasons of Sesame Street and the franchise’s latest film reboots, Kermit and friends have been entertaining audiences young and old for decades. And in true celeb form, they’ve hardly aged a bit. Even Miss Piggy and Kermit’s split — yes, the breakup of two fictional characters embodied by puppets — made national news.

Of course, this was all leading up to the crew’s return to primetime TV with the aptly titled new series, The Muppets (Series Premiere, 8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC). In a departure from its variety-show roots, this new comedy takes a mockumentary look behind the scenes of Piggy’s talk show, Up Late with Miss Piggy (which, in this Muppetverse, airs weeknights after Jimmy Kimmel Live!). Always proponents of parody, the Muppets make sense in this type of format, popularized today by shows like The Office and Modern Family. Expect plenty of notable talent on Miss Piggy’s couch and loads of Real Housewives-level drama as Kermit steps out with a new lady, Denise.

This week, Miss P. is fuming when Kermit books Elizabeth Banks on her show, and Fozzie meets his girlfriend’s (Riki Lindhome) parents, who do not approve of her dating a bear.


MasterChef (Season Finale, 8 p.m., Fox) – Claudia, Derrick and Stephen cook for a dining room full of industry pros, and the final two create three-course meals that they hope will win them the grand-prize book deal and $250,000.

South Park (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Season 19 picks up with a look at Caitlyn Jenner as a new South Park Elementary principal teaches the boys about privilege. It’s ancient news by South Park standards, but if anyone can offer a fresh, funny (and wholly inappropriate) approach on the topic, surely it’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

The League (10 p.m., FXX) – Andre hosts an 1890s-themed draft, in which the players are auctioned off. Oof.

Moonbeam City (Series Premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Rob Lowe stars as incompetent detective Dazzle Novak in this animated parody cop show with Jem aesthetics.


Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – Unconventional dumpster-diving fashion-technology challenge!

Documentary Now! (10 p.m., IFC) – Fred Armisen and Bill Hader take on 1980s docu-series Hollywood with this tale of an Icelandic Al Capone festival.

The Streamy Awards (10 p.m., VH1) – Televised for the first time — is that a back-step, technologically speaking? — The Streamys recognize the best YouTube content and stars. Tyler Oakley and Grace Helbig host.


The Emmys (8 p.m., Fox) – Andy Samberg hosts the 67th-annual ode to all things TV.

Fear the Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – As the National Guard occupies the neighborhood — an interesting plot twist — Madison and Travis have opposing perspectives on the matter.

Project Greenlight (10 p.m., HBO) – Effie, Len and Mark try to talk winning-director Jason into going digital to stay on schedule and under budget. Elsewhere, Jason pitches his own dark comedy script.


Life in Pieces (Series Premiere, 8:30 p.m., CBS) – Could this fill the big-family comedy void left by Parenthood? (Star Dianne Wiest was in the original P-hood movie…)


Scream Queens (Series Premiere, 8 p.m., Fox) – If American Horror Story and Glee had a baby, it would be Scream Queens, which kicks off with a two-hour premiere.

The Mindy Project (Hulu) – Danny and Mindy have trouble agreeing on a birthing plan.

CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected] or @jackern

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