Muppets Now is the newest Muppet TV show since the ABC revival that last aired in 2016. Jim Henson Company, in collaboration with Disney, is bringing that comedic and chaotic energy we know and love from our favorite Muppets in a new show which centers around Scooter rushing to upload segments to the Disney+ streaming service. The show has a lot of the staples of the original series like guest stars, improvisational comedy, and ridiculously over the top personalities, but does its first episode “Due Date” have the Muppet magic?
The episode starts quickly and never lets up. There is a nearly constant chaotic energy in the show thanks to Scooter pulling together the show on the fly via his computer. Scooter serves as the transitional glue between skits as he drags videos to an upload window as fast as possible. Essentially we’re lead to believe what we’re watching is literally being uploaded to our TV screens the minute Scooter drags a file over. This adds even more urgency to the show, though it does seem odd there isn’t more set up before carrying on.
In fact, there’s barely any introduction as Kermit asks Scooter how it’s going and within seconds we’re rushing into the first skit featuring Miss Piggy in a show called, “Lifesty with Miss Piggy.” Oh, but wait, the show title was all wrong as Miss Piggy complains the graphic is wrong. It’s quite obvious this series continues to be a show about creating a TV show only now it’s streaming and even more incredibly imperfect. This skit is largely centered around the personalities of Miss Piggy and Uncle Deadly who plays the assistant–among other roles–for the show. Things devolve quickly when celebrity guest Taye Diggs shows up to try out a face slapping massage.
Following this skit is “Muppet Masters” which aims to show hidden talents of popular Muppets. Kermit gets to go first and, customary of the Muppets Show due to a misunderstanding, he’s no photographer but a pro at photobombing pictures. Semi-new Muppeet Walter–first introduced in 2011–is a main player in this skit. This skit is funny though I do find the voice of Kermit not quite right when compared to previous shows. That threw me off a bit.
Following this is a cooking segment, a joke about Gonzo shooting a survival show, and to wrap things up a one on one interview between Kermit and celebrity guest Rupaul. The interview is pretty great, involves multiple Muppets, and serves to show off a good amount of improvisational comedy. The improvisational comedy is more apparent when guests are involved since they tend to nearly break into laughter or you can tell they’re coming up with something on the fly.
Running just under 23 minutes long the first episode is a welcome return from the Muppets. The eclectic mix of skits and chaotic energy make it a fast-paced show where so much happens it’s hard to not find a laugh or a bit of joy in the production. I found that chaotic nature is a bit tiresome, but when delivered in shorter 23-minute doses I suspect many will enjoy the show. Just don’t wait for it all to come out and binge it at once!
“Due Date” is the first episode to air with subsequent episodes streaming on Disney+ every Friday.