Pick of the week
The Muppets Tuesday, 7.30pm, Seven Yes, this is The Muppets, but not a faithful reimagining of the old family favourite. More accurately, it’s like the Muppets paying homage to 30 Rock in a mockumentary-style format akin to Modern Family or Parks and Recreation. In fact, the professional provenance of the show’s creators Bob Kushell and Bill Prady explains the obvious contemporary TV references: they’ve been separately involved in producing shows from 3rd Rock from the Sun and Dharma and Greg to Gilmore Girls and The Big Bang Theory. In short, they know their pop culture. Set in Los Angeles, it goes behind the scenes of the fictional late night show Up Late with Miss Piggy, which stars Miss Piggy, with her ex-boyfriend Kermit as executive producer. All the old favourites have various jobs on the set, including Fozzie, Animal, Gonzo and Beaker, plus the cantankerous duo of hecklers, Statler and Waldorf. In this pilot episode, actress Elizabeth Banks guest stars as herself and Fozzie Bear meets his non-puppet girlfriend’s parents, which occasions some hilarious racially coded humour. Though it’s rated G, the humour will best appeal to adults rather than children. The writing is crisp and knowing, but never vulgar. (By contrast, I was reminded of the totally revolting and little-known Peter Jackson-directed film Meet the Feebles.) It’s good clean fun and deserves a watch.