‘Muppets’ Premieres Big: Miss Piggy Is America’s New Late-Night Diva Sweetheart
One Million Moms may have turned up one million noses at The Muppets premiere last night (September 22), but it seems the better part of the country's TV-watching audience was thrilled to check back in with Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang.
According to TVLine, 8.9 million people tuned in to the the first episode of the franchise's newest series. FOX's Scream Queens, by contrast, saw 4 million viewers, while Dancing With The Stars raked in an audience of 9.5 million.
Only The Voice, which drew 12.1 million viewers, bested The Muppets in the show's demo. Behind NBC's Blindspot, The Muppets is now officially the second highest-rated premiere this year.
The show, a more accessible 30 Rock featuring Office-style confessional interviews, finds Kermit and Miss Piggy navigating a recent breakup while struggling to keep their business relationship professional. Kermit serves as the Executive Producer to Miss Piggy's Up Late late-night talk show, and booking guests (Elizabeth Banks is Piggy's begrudging first) amid Piggy's movie-star demands (she wants custodians to eclipse her personal garbage with more traditional garbage) make for a tense, felt-fringed environment.
Critics of the show have questioned its more adult tone — not that it's necessarily a departure from The Muppets past — and its looser grip on childish whimsy. Once host to the "Rainbow Connection," a naively idealistic tune wrapped in optimism, The Muppets now casually addresses sex, will speak to drug-use in Episode Two and flirts with the idea that the always-eccentric Piggy has now crossed the line into full-blown, unlikable narcissist.
"I kept waiting for a one-on-one interview with Miss Piggy so I could get her side of the story," Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen wrote. "We don’t get it. Why? Does her brand not allow for reflection and depth? Maybe it should, and quickly."
On the other hand, Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times has praised the show for keeping the spirit of the characters alive while they're thrust into yet-unexplored vulnerabilities and more raw story arcs.
"The puppeteer-actors know their craft and their art," he noted. "The Muppets shoots on location, integrating the characters into the human world with a deftness that, should you stop to think about it all...is nothing short of astonishing."
Did you catch The Muppets premiere? Share your thought on the new puppet-installation below.