I don’t like Hollywood’s new obsession with remaking/rebooting/revisiting old TV shows and movies, as if there are no new ideas. Every Fuller House means some original work somewhere isn’t getting made. (And I’m telling you, we’re not going to like Fuller House for long. We’ll tune in out of curiosity and nostalgia. But everyone will look two decades older — except John Stamos, obviously — and this will force us to face the impermanence of life and our own mortality.) Thus I was resisting ABC’s Muppets remake (or revisit, or revival, or whatever you want to call it), coming this fall.
But now I’m totally on board, and it’s all because of ABC’s brilliant publicity stunt: announcing Kermit and Miss Piggy’s breakup a few weeks ago.
I don’t know if this has always been in the works as part of the lead-up to the show, which debuts Sept. 22, but the announcement came amid a spate of high-profile flesh-and-blood celebrity breakups: Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck. Coming as part of this trend gave the Kermit-Piggy breakup (what do we call them? Kergy? Pigmit?) extra resonance. We could all participate in the social media “uproar,” overdramatizing our distress and playing our own parts in the “drama” that will unfold on the “docuseries.” We could poke fun at our own confusing feelings about real celeb breakups (which I wrote about for Refinery29) and at the ways the media covers them. Now there’s a rather spectacular love square developing, with Kermit’s new love interest Denise the Pig and Piggy “spotted” on Instagram with Liam Hemsworth. Hemsworth, of course, played along, too, with the cutest Instagram caption: “Spent Friday with the most beautiful girl in the world. Kermit, #SorryNotSorry.” Jezebel played straightwoman, too, publishing an anti-Denise screed by “Definitely Not Miss Piggy.”
I think The Muppets is going to be a blast, not just for nostalgia’s sake but in and of itself. If it does as well as it could, I hope networks don’t take this as a sign that we want more remakes. We just want more good stuff. And felt frogs and pigs age better than people.