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Series / The Muppets (2015)

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"Cut to interviews? That is just a totally overused device to make easy jokes. You know, talking to the camera about how you really feel, and then cutting back and saying something completely different! I just hate that!"
"I love it! Great device!"

The Muppets (stylized as the muppets.) was a live-action series co-created by Bill Prady and Bob Kushell, based on the famous characters created by Jim Henson, premiering on ABC on September 22, 2015, and ending March 1, 2016. It is The Muppets' first full-fledged TV series since Muppets Tonight on the same channel nearly 20 years prior.

Like all of the previous Muppet TV series, The Muppets is a Show Within a Show, set behind the scenes of a talk show hosted by Miss Piggy that airs on ABC after Jimmy Kimmel Live! (in-universe). Like fellow workplace sitcoms The Office and Parks and Recreation, it is a single camera mockumentary, featuring cutaway interviews with the Muppets to glean insights about their personal lives and triumphs and disappointments. Essentially, it's "a more adult Muppet show—for children of all ages."

Watch the trailer here. The test pilot was apparently extremely well-received, and was chosen to be screened at various summer festivals as part of ABC's Summer Block Party, as well as San Diego Comic Con during the show's panel. Eventually, due to popular demand from the Comic Con screening, ABC made the pilot available on their YouTube channel. Following the 2015 winter hiatus, the second half of Season 1 was given something of a retool, mainly by letting the other Muppets get involved with Up Late in front of the camera as opposed to behind the scenes.

On May 12, 2016, ABC announced the cancellation of the series after one season, making it the third shortest-lived Muppet series behind The Jim Henson Hour and The Little Muppet Monsters.

Not to be confused with the 2011 film of the same name - or for that matter the original Muppet Show.

Provides examples of:

  • Adam Westing: Celebrity guests almost always play caricatures of themselves. So far we've had Josh Groban as a smug elitist who believes his own hype, Nick Offerman as a Cuckoosnarker who extorts a cappuccino machine from Kermit, and Jason Bateman as a manipulative nebbish. Exceptions include Elizabeth Banks (whose appearance on the show is mostly centered around Piggy hating her for a reason that has nothing to do with Banks herself) and Kristin Chenoweth being dragged along on a road trip by the Electric Mayhem.
  • Advertised Extra: Much publicity was made regarding Kermit's new girlfriend, Denise, but her role on the show is rather small. While frequently talked about in the presentation pilot and the full first episode, her voice is barely heard in the presentation pilot and she only gets a few minutes of screentime in the first broadcast episode, and then isn't seen or mentioned for another four episodes. She then disappeared entirely over the hiatus, before breaking up with Kermit off-screen.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Taken to its logical conclusion when Dave Grohl and Animal face off in a drum duel at the end of "Going, Going, Gonzo". It ends in a tie when both of them knock over their drum sets.
  • All Part of the Show: In Generally Inhospitable, the reaction of the woman in Rolf and Janice's sketch suggest she isn't actually an actor, but a random person in the hospital who's been dragged into the insanity without asking.
  • Amusing Injuries: Lots, ranging from Fozzie getting knocked across the room by Big Mean Carl in "Pig Girls Don't Cry" to Fozzie shooting Statler with a T-shirt gun in "Pig Out".
    • Statler says his injury doesn't hurt, except when he laughs. So he should be okay around Fozzie.
    • After Scooter futzes with the thermostat, the heating system blasts Beaker with a face full of freon, slamming him into the wall. Dr. Honeydew has to defrost him with a hairdryer.
    • Averted in Generally Inhospitable where Piggy's broken leg is treated as minor thing by her that she tries to walk off, but treated absolutely seriously by the other characters, including several getting ill just seeing it.
  • Ambiguously Bi: When Yolanda suggests getting Josh Groban on the show because he gives her the feels, Pepe — a womanizer — says that he gives him the feels, too. Everyone looks shocked at this revelation, to which Pepe replies "What? He's a handsome man, and gender is fluid."
  • Ambiguously Gay: In "Pig Out", when everyone comes to work tired after a late night of partying (and expecting it to be okay to come to work late), Kermit asks Bunsen and Beaker why they are wearing each other's clothes. Beaker starts to explain until Bunsen cuts him off, saying that "if it happens outside of work, we don't owe him an explanation."
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: The big Running Gag with Rowlf is that he acts just like a real dog despite talking like a person.
    • Piggy grew up on a farm, where several of her peers were butchered or sold as pets.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Miss Piggy told Fozzie that couples can get back together all the time. So Fozzie asks the million dollar question: "If it happens all the time, how come you and Kermit never got back together?"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Lucy: Bottom line, Kermit, tell your star to tuck in her tail.
    Kermit: But, Lucy, I can't tell Piggy what to do with her body.
    Lucy: Oh, sure you can. And if you don't and sponsors pull out, that money's coming out of your budget, which will cost you production dollars, jobs, and, most importantly... it will cost you muffins.
  • Art Nouveau: Several framed drawings by Aubrey Beardsley can be seen adorning the walls of Miss Piggy's Vogue Paris office.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • After quite a while of being Demoted to Extra, Rizzo is back in full force. Also gaining a bigger presence are Uncle Deadly, Pepe, Bobo, and Big Mean Carl, all of whom had small parts in Muppets Most Wanted.
    • Perhaps most noticeable in Chip, a character from the oft forgotten show The Jim Henson Hour, who has a recurring role as the show's IT guy. For his first several appearances his main gag was that even he didn't remember what he was from.
    • Lips got a line of dialogue for the first time since The Great Muppet Caper. Since then, while still The Quiet One, he's had at least one line every time the Electric Mayhem have a large role, making him a full-fledged member of the band for the first time in his career.
    • Yolanda Rat was a minor character in The Muppets Take Manhattan, and has made sporadic appearances since then. She's gotten a decent role in this show as Kermit's secretary.
    • Janice has grown to be far more important on the show than any of the Electric Mayhem members except Animal (and even then, she gives him a run for his money), being far more likely to appear without the rest of the band than any of her co-members. This is likely because of her being one of the few major female Muppets currently around.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Kermit pulls a simple one in "Hostile Makeover", in order to get rid of Josh Groban. The plan? Telling Piggy that the show's name is being changed to Josh Groban Presents Up Late with Miss Piggy. This takes advantage of Piggy's ego and causes her to break up with him.
    • A general recurring element of the show is Kermit and Piggy manipulating each other by knowing exactly how the other behaves. Most present in "Pig Out", where Piggy is able to get invited to the gang's hang-out by taking advantage of Kermit's inability to refuse her requests, and Kermit later deliberately inflates her ego so he can get the show back on track.
  • Bear Hug: A literal example, Bobo offers one to Kermit after Fozzie gets angry at him for (falsely) accusing his girlfriend, Becky, of cheating at trivia. Turns out she was actually trying to buy a gift for Fozzie on eBay. Kermit, feeling bad, takes the hug.
  • Berserk Button: Discussed by Fozzie after being conned by Statler.
    Fozzie: Every forest ranger will tell you the same thing. Most bear attacks do not happen because of hunger. They happen because some bear... got his feelings hurt!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Scooter goes berserk when the Electric Mayhem try to pierce his ear and thrashes their dressing room.
  • Big Eater:
    • Piggy gorges herself on a basket of cheeses after Fozzie manages to break through her emotional barriers by accident.
    • Kermit is revealed to be a stress eater. He even asks for more food after eating so much that he can't move.
  • Big "NEVER!": When Kermit asks Laurence Fishburne when he is going to be on the show, the former gets this response:
    Fishburne: If it keeps sucking the way it did last night — NEVER!
  • Big "NO!":
    • Fozzie pulls one when Statler tricks him into wasting lots of money and time on him in "Pig Out".
    • Sweetums does this when he ends up on Miss Piggy's "list".
  • Body Horror: Miss Piggy's broken leg.
  • Brick Joke: In "Hostile Makeover", Kermit has a throwaway line about being in an elevator with Lea Thompson. He runs into her again in an elevator in the credits scene. This is combined with another brick joke, where Gonzo was worried about his mother who's on vacation. He ruins Kermit's chances with Lea by racing over to tell Kermit that she was found, and riding down with him to explain everything
  • Buffy Speak: In "Walk the Swine", Piggy uses the standard "things" and "stuff" when she's trying to convince Reese Witherspoon that she knows what the Habitat for Humanity does.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Scooter and Fozzie share this role in most episodes. And of course, Beaker's role is to suffer every moment he's on screen.
    • Poor Tom Bergeron repeatedly gets the short end of the stick in the first broadcast episode.
    • Reese Witherspoon is a major one to Miss Piggy.
  • Chaotic Car Ride: The Electric Mayhem rides in a van with Kristin Chenoweth, and she has to sit uncomfortably while they all escalate into chaotic bickering.
  • Christmas Episode: "Single All The Way"
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • With all the classic Muppets abound, it's rather easy to see that Walter is completely absent from the series, despite him being a major character in the two films made in the years before this show.
    • Initially happened with Camilla, who wasn't mentioned in the first half of Season 1, even though there was a B-plot in "Bear Left Then Bear Write" focusing on Gonzo's attempts at getting a girlfriend. Eventually, she was brought back for "A Tail of Two Piggies", where it's mentioned that Gonzo wanted to upgrade his relationship with her, but she chickened out. She makes a triumphant return at the end of the episode.
  • Clamshells as Mouths: In The Muppets Take the Bowl, Chloe the Clam is one of the stars of a mock show called Keeping Up with the Crustaceans. Chloe's shells act as her mouth and she also has eyes.
  • Code Emergency: "Hostile Makeover" establishes that there is a color-coded system used to define Piggy's anger stages. Apparently, they hadn't ever been in code green (that is, normal mood) until Josh Groban came along.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew continues to abuse Beaker in cool and unusual ways with no particular concern for his assistant's well being.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • When Gonzo, Rizzo, and Pepe pitch a "Dancing with the Czars" sketch, Kermit tells them that he hates everything about it. Gonzo's reaction? "You hear that? Only one note!"
    • Piggy is prone to this with her guests, such as criticizing Reza Aslan for not using his imagination (he writes history books) and asking Joseph Gordon-Levitt why he gave up his career as a child actor. The second one might have been a scripted bit they were doing, but the first was most definitely real.
  • Competition Freak: Miss Piggy will inevitably make everything a competition. Especially in "Walk the Swine", where she competes with Reese Witherspoon at house building. For the Habitat for Humanity. Later on, she makes apologizing a competition.
  • Cone of Shame: In "Bear Left Then Bear Write", Rowlf put one on after his operation to keep from biting the stitches. Later he's seen with the cone off, biting the stitches.
  • Conflict Ball: Kristin Chenoweth accidentally causes the Electric Mayhem, normally pretty mellow about everything, to start attacking one another. Once they decide she's responsible, they ditch her by the side of the road. In the middle of nowhere. With no food.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Floyd. That giving his real name at a coffee shop would cause drones to descend upon his house, and that Earth hasn't had a real moon since the 70s are just a couple of the out-there beliefs he's put forth.
  • Cosmetic Horror: In "Going, Going, Gonzo", Piggy attempts a beauty treatment that involves electric shocks. It manages to completely freak out Kermit, and also puts her into a brief glamour coma.
  • Cue Card: They appear pretty often, due to Up Late being a live show. One notable occurrence was Fozzie reading them out-of-order in "Pig Girls Don't Cry".
    Fozzie: Featuring the Electric Mayhem! Dr. Teeth and The! ...Electric Mayhem.
  • Dating Service Disaster: One of the plotlines in "Bear Left Then Bear Write"; Gonzo set up a dating profile using Liam Hemsworth as a profile picture, and managed to arrange a date with another Muppet. When Rizzo and Pepe learn this, they have to help Gonzo by getting the actual Liam Hemsworth to show up in his place until he's sure that she won't mind his appearance. The end result: Liam and the Muppet hit it off too well, and they ditch Gonzo for another restaurant.
  • Delicious Distraction:
    • Uncle Deadly tries keeping Ms. Piggy's mind off fleeing the hospital by directing her attention to the vending machine. It almost works.
    • Previously, in "Got Silk?", he says that part of his job is to keep Piggy's mind off the "yawning abyss" that is her life, and that snacks usually work.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • While most of the rest of the classic cast work for Up Late in some capacity, Rowlf now merely tends a bar that the others sometimes visit after work. Quite a step down for the character Jim Henson considered to be his Author Avatar.
    • The Newsman was never a major Muppet, but here he isn't even involved in Up Late; he's just a reporter who only appears when he needs to report something.
  • Description Cut: See Gonzo's quote at the top of the article.
  • Disaster Dominoes: "Pigs In a Blackout": Scooter's fiddling with the thermostat triggers a chain reaction that almost completely ruins the show. Within minutes of being put in charge, no less.
  • Elevator Failure: Piggy is briefly trapped when the elevator malfunctions in "Pigs in a Blackout".
  • Enforced Plug: In "Going, Going, Gonzo", Piggy lets Gonzo perform a stunt on her show as long as he uses it to plug her brand of bottled water. She even goes so far as to change his name to The Great Gonzo Sponsored By Piggy Water, which he must now use even when answering the phone.
  • #EngineeredHashtag: In-Universe. Piggy launches #UnveilTheTail in "A Tail of Two Piggies" to end the prejudices against pig tails and promote the next Up Late with Miss Piggy.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Even Statler and Waldorf can't quite bring themselves to heckle the Christmas Episode of Up Late with Miss Piggy.
    • After Rizzo complains about getting a hamburger with a pineapple in it and saying that while the pineapple can be removed the juice can't, Gonzo points out that he's seen Rizzo eat garbage before. Rizzo replies, "Not with a pineapple in it!"
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: There are so many examples in Kermit's phone call to Fozzie in "Bear Left Then Bear Write", let us count them:
    • After Fozzie tells off Kermit, saying "You don't have to believe in me, I believe in me!", Fozzie remarks that that was great dialogue, with Kermit saying it was "a little contrived".
    • After Fozzie says that he's off the grid and Kermit won't be able to find him, his map icon chimes in with some directions that Kermit takes the time to write down.
    • And, finally, there's Fozzie hanging up on Kermit. Failing to hang up on Kermit. Repeatedly, because he doesn't know how to do that from the map app. And some how, after listening to Kermit's instructions on how to leave the map app to stop the call, Fozzie winds up opening Angry Birds. One Jump Cut later, and Kermit informs the camera man that "it's been 30 minutes" as Fozzie is heard paying for gas over the phone.
  • Fake American: In-Universe. Gonzo asks Liam Hemsworth, an Aussie, to ditch the fake accent. Liam sportingly puts on an American accent without a word of complaint.
  • Fake Guest Star: Julianne Buescher, the only female Muppeteer on the show, is listed as a guest star, while Peter Linz, who hasn't had any lines in the series thus far, gets star billing.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: When Statler gets shot in the head by Fozzie's T-shirt gun in "Pig Out", his false teeth fall out. Pepe proceeds to find them and take the opportunity to goof off by putting them in his mouth.
    Pepe: Look at me! I am the Bradley Coopers!
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Fozzie is dating a human woman, and her parents are not happy about it.
    Carl: What if you had children? How would you raise them? Where would they go to the bathroom? In the woods?!?!
    Fozzie: Okay! That is an offensive stereotype!
    • There's an inexplicable prejudice against pig tails being shown in public. Even though several other animals wear no clothes at all, and even the ones that do leave their tails exposed.
  • For Want of a Nail: In "Pigs In A Blackout", there ends up being a sequence of Disaster Dominoes where Piggy's outfits are ruined, coffee is spilled everywhere, a lot of collateral damage is caused, and the studio's electricity goes out. The cause of this? Scooter slightly adjusting the thermostat.
  • Freudian Excuse: Pache is the way he is due to issues he had with his father.
  • Freudian Slip: At one point in "Pigs in a Blackout", Scooter slips and refers to Kermit as his father in a cutaway, before catching himself and changing it to "mentor". Considering that a Running Gag is Scooter's grudge for his mother's boyfriend, it seems that he sees Kermit as a Parental Substitute.
  • Furry Reminder:
    • Fozzie accidentally wanders into a campsite, and is tranquilized by a park ranger because the campers saw a bear trying to take someone's food.
    • More of a Muppet Reminder in "Pig Girls Don't Cry", when Kermit gets a lint roller stuck on him.
    • In "Pigs in a Blackout", Rowlf reveals that he still likes to chew on shoes when he needs to unwind.
    • The plot of "A Tail of Two Piggies" concerns Piggy's tail being exposed in public. She briefly reflects on the fact that she is, indeed, a pig.
    • Miss Piggy usually talks, but in "A Tail of Two Pigs", she accidentally snorts out of anger.
  • Gay Best Friend: Uncle Deadly has become this to Miss Piggy.
  • Get Out!: Jay Leno's reaction after he finds out that Fozzie stole his candy dish, which he himself stole.
  • The Ghost: Any and all of the Muppets' relatives. It's practically a Once an Episode Running Gag.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Fozzie's T-shirt giveaway gag ends up seriously injuring Statler.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Although there is some swearing (Kermit says "hell" and Rolf says "damn"), the Muppets often do not swear. Parodied by Scooter, who seems to think that "Good grief" is a swear.
    "Good Grief, you're right! I'm sorry, I'm swearing like a sailor!"
  • Gratuitous French: And not from Miss Piggy (but, y'know... also Miss Piggy). Beaker does an impression of her at one point which is, of course, mostly "me" and "meep", but with the occasional "moi" thrown in.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Piggy starts throwing Spanish phrases around after vacationing in Argentina in "Swine Song".
    Uncle Deadly: She thinks she can speak Spanish now. It' s a nightmare. A nightmare!
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Everyone save a tetchy Kermit after a wild night out with Miss Piggy. He exploits this by slamming a binder on the meeting table in frustration.
  • Human Cannonball: The main plot of "Going, Going, Gonzo" is Gonzo planning to perform this stunt on Up Late. complete with landing in Soft Water (well, soft "Piggy Water", at least). He chickens out after hearing about the danger of it from Bunsen and Beaker, but regains his confidence while the show is airing and succeeds at it, with only Kermit getting to see.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Uncle Deadly has turned pig wrangling into an art form as Piggy's assistant.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Gonzo derides the mockumentary cutaway format (in such a cutaway), citing it as a way to make cheap jokes based on this...and then promptly expresses his support of the idea around the others.
    • Jay Leno gets mad at Fozzie for stealing a glass bowl...that he stole from George Carlin.
    • In "Single All the Way", Pepe refers to The Swedish Chef as "the man with the silly accent", when Pepe himself has an accent.
  • I Am Spartacus: In "A Tail of Two Piggies", Piggy plans to show her tail during her show, while the sponsors threaten to drop out if she does. Kermit's solution is to have everyone else wear fake pig tails to show solidarity with Piggy.
  • I Meant to Do That: In "Pigs in a Blackout", the Muppets manage to recover from the freak thermostat accident (which shut off their electricity) by passing it off as spreading awareness about power conservation. It works.
  • Idiot Ball: Kermit, what did you think was gonna happen when you asked Miss Piggy to help you pick out a gift for your current girlfriend? He actually didn't want to do it for this very reason; she's just the only one he knows who's any good at buying gifts and he was out of time.
  • Interspecies Romance: Another Muppet tradition.
    • Fozzie has a human girlfriend, Becky.
    • After breaking up with Miss Piggy, Kermit starts going out with Denise, who's also a pig.
    Kermit: What can I say? I'm attracted to pigs.
    • "Hostile Makeover" revolves around Miss Piggy getting together with Josh Groban.
    • In "Bear Left Then Bear Write", Gonzo has an online date with a Muppet woman who looks human. She ends up going with Liam Hemsworth.
    • In "Pig Out", Sam, an eagle, gains a (one-sided) crush on Janice, a humanoid Muppet.
    • In "Too Hot to Handler", Scooter, a Muppet of indeterminate species, gets a crush on Chelsea Handler.
  • Intoxication Ensues: A tranquilized Fozzie is high as a kite after he wakes up, including forgetting his hat is on his head.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: A camera filming Kermit and Miss Piggy near the end of "Generally Inhospitable" catches Piggy tell Kermit she loves him... and Kermit saying (to himself) the he loves her. Going by the reactions of the characters back at the studio, that camera wasn't meant to be on...
  • Karma Houdini:
    • In "Pig Out", Fozzie accidentally injures Statler. He feels bad about it and visits him in the hospital, and agrees to go out and pick up a few things for Statler. When Fozzie comes back, Statler is gone and had left a note saying "sucker". Fozzie later confronts Statler about this, and Statler decides to invite Fozzie out to dinner after the show, intending to play the same trick as before.
    • In "Pigs in a Blackout", Kermit attends a stress-relief retreat which forbids using electronics. Jason Bateman also happens to be attending and convinces a reluctant Kermit to use his cell phone to arrange a special deal for him. The woman in charge sees Kermit with the cell phone and kicks him out, while Bateman denies that he had anything to do with it.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Twice on "Too Hot to Handler", Kermit appears to be doing a Confession Cam, but it turns out he was talking to someone else, who in turn wasn't paying attention because they thought Kermit was talking to the camera.
    • "Swine Song" starts with the Muppets returning from a hiatus for Up Late (this was right after the mid-season break), and talking about how they're going to make the show great (reflecting the many changes the episode brought on).
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted, in contrast with previous productions. Most Muppets who wear clothes wear different outfits each day.
  • Literal-Minded:
    • Lew Zealand seems to have an issue with this, as shown when the Muppets are trying to find Piggy a date in "Hostile Makeover".
      "Throw everything we've got at Keanu Reeves!"
      (Lew Zealand proceeds to throw one of his fish at a pinned picture of Reeves)
    • According to Scooter, the oldest phrase in Hollywood is not "The Show Must Go On". It's "This is where we build Hollywood". Gonzo tries and fails to explain to him what "the oldest phrase" really means.
  • Loophole Abuse: In "A Tail of Two Piggies", Piggy's plan to "#UnveilTheTail" hits a snag when she is specifically told that the show's sponsors would cut support if she showed her tail on live TV. They forgot to say anything about the other Muppets' pig tails.
  • Mama's Boy: Scooter still lives with his mother even though he appears to be old enough to be on his own (old enough to go out to the bar with the others anyway), and has a rather unhealthy attachment to her. He seems to be jealous of her new boyfriend.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kermit demonstrates his deep understanding of Piggy's mind when he manipulates her to get rid of Josh Groban and gets her to stop hanging out with the crew after the show while making the crew think it's Piggy's diva attitude causing her to blow them off. In the latter case, after commiserating with the crew about how no one can understand Piggy, he walks away and quietly gives an Evil Laugh.
    • The new "consultant" Pizza (pronounced Pache) also is highly manipulative, trying to get HIS vision of the show pushed. This will lead to a variation of tactics such as tricking Key & Peele to go elsewhere when they're suppose to be on the show, or "treating" the writers to a day on the town to influence their writing.
  • Maybe Ever After: The final episode is about Kermit and Ms. Piggy once again wondering whether to rekindle their relationship, but before Piggy can give a definitive answer she passes out. Kermit is at least willing to try, and Pepe is shown to have tagged along to make sure they get back together. For love.
  • May–December Romance: Played with in Kermit and Denise's case; while Kermit's age is never really remarked on (for reference's sake, as of 2015, Kermit's first appearance was sixty years ago), Miss Piggy implies that Denise is much younger than Kermit several times in "The Ex-Factor," telling Kristin Chenoweth that she's "great with kids" after they interact with Denise and comparing her to her six-year-old niece.
  • The Missus and the Ex: There aren't many Piggy/Denise scenes, but the moment when Piggy carefully arranges for Kermit to give Denise a gift that would make him uncomfortable, but would seem like a perfectly nice gift to her is certainly in the spirit of the trope.
  • Moment Killer: Whatever might have happened between Kermit and Lea Thompson in the elevator is wiped away by Gonzo showing up with his story about his mother riding a goat.
  • Mondegreen Gag: At one point in "Walk the Swine", Rizzo and Pepe end up getting confused over how similar "Sean Penn" and "champagne" sound.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • While most of the first episode is jam-packed with one liners, physical comedy, and classic Muppet zaniness, the moment the exact circumstances of the Big Break-Up are revealed, things turn heart-wrenchingly serious. The look on poor Piggy's face when an evening out with her boyfriend goes sour in the worst way...
    • "Hostile Makeover" is generally a lot more comedic than the first episode... until Jay Leno discovers that Fozzie stole his George Carlin candy bowl. Let's just say that Fozzie isn't welcome in Leno's house anymore.
    • In "Little Green Lie," the triumphant return of Kermit's nephew Robin (and his first appearance in this show) is immediately followed by Kermit revealing that Robin's parents are currently getting divorced.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Miss Piggy will put her all into anything if it means she can prove herself better than someone, no matter how unnecessary it is. In "Walk the Swine", she manages to take apologizing to a whole new level, just to get the last laugh at Reese Witherspoon.
  • My Beloved Smother: Scooter has a rather creepy relationship with his mother, who he still lives with (er, he lives in a room that happens to be in her house), and hates her boyfriend Ken.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Fozzie pulls this in "Too Hot To Handler" after Kermit meddles in his relationship with Becky.
    Fozzie: Alright! Let's knock out these regional promos, friends...and Kermit.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Kermit ends the show intros with variations on "Time to get things started." Followed by the logo forming on-screen to the beat of the seven notes those words were sung to.note 
    • There's a photo on the wall at Rowlf's bar of Rowlf with Jimmy Dean.note 
  • Non-Indicative Name: Piggy's "Piggy Water" she advertises in "Going, Going, Gonzo" contains 30 grams of fat, and is apparently more sauce than water. Kermit advises Gonzo not to get him associated with it, since the FDA is investigating.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The viewers only get to hear a very small snippet of Fozzie's terrible sketch in "Bear Left Then Bear Right". Though the snippet does imply that it was pretty bizarre. Apparently it involves a porcupine wearing dress socks.
    • In "Pigs in a Blackout", Gonzo lets out a few snippets about the time he tried blast himself over Niagara Falls. All that's really clear is that it didn't work at all.
    • How does Kermit know that Gonzo's mother isn't a very good goat-rider?
    • Whenever Scooter gripes about his mom's boyfriend Ken.
    "Put on a robe, Ken!"
    "Cut your nails, Ken! You're not a Spanish guitar player!"
    • In "Swine Song", Uncle Deadly has to clarify twice that two rare sentences he said relating to Gloria Estefan were not the first times he said things like that.
  • Not So Above It All: Even Sam the Eagle is partying hard with most of the other Muppets in "Pig Out".
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: "When your online profile says 'passionate bear searching for love,' you get a lot of wrong responses. Well, not wrong, just...wrong for me.”
  • Oblivious to Love: Janice seems to be unaware that Sam the Eagle has a crush on her, despite all of his (failed) attempts to ask her out.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted, with Big Mean Carl and Becky's father Carl.
  • Parental Substitute: Kermit is implied to be this for Scooter in "Pigs in a Blackout."
    Scooter: I can't let Kermit down! He's my father- Uh, I mean mentor!
  • Pie in the Face: In "Bear Left Then Bear Write", Christina Applegate humiliates Piggy by showing a video of her falling face first onto a cake. Piggy tries to get even by having Scooter hit Christina with a cake while she shoots it from her car. Christina catches on and puts her face on the cake to keep Scooter from getting in trouble. As for Piggy, she gets arrested for stalking.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • It's pretty tame compared to where they could go, but Kermit The Frog hadn't said "hell" note  since the pitch reel for the original Muppet Show.note  He also said "screwed" earlier on in the pilot.
      • Lampshaded on the first episode (as opposed to the pilot short) when Sam passes by and says "Can't say 'hell'."
    • Rowlf says "damn" in the episode, "Pigs in a Blackout".
    • In "A Tail of Two Piggies", when singing "Bad Reputation" with Joan Jett, Piggy belts out the line "I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation!"
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: The image consultant brought in by the network pronounces his name Pache, but spells it Pizza.
  • Product Placement:
    • While it's not an uncommon thing in Muppet productions, "Walk the Swine" ends up putting a lot of focus on the Habitat for Humanity, due to it sponsoring the house-building project Reese Witherspoon and Piggy are working on.
    • Parodied in "Going, Going, Gonzo", where the main plot revolves around Piggy attempting to advertise her "Piggy Water" on the show, to a point where she's willing to let Gonzo attempt a cannon stunt for the sake of plugging it.
    • Also parodied in "Got Silk?" when Pache tries to get a "sketch" about frozen yoghurt on the show, which has nothing funny about it because "you can't make fun of the product".
  • Right Behind Me: At one point in "Bear Left Then Bear Write", Kermit is talking in a cutaway about one of Fozzie's terrible sketches while in his office with the lights off. Of course, Fozzie turns out to be spying on him during this, and Kermit says the trope word-for-word when he figures it out.
  • Sassy Secretary: Yolanda Rat has become Kermit's secretary in this show (while studying to be an ultrasound technician), and of course she's this type.
  • Secret Santa: Yolanda rigs it so that all the ballots have her name. When the others find out, they realize that Yolanda was left out last year and decide to give her the presents anyway.
  • Servile Snarker: Uncle Deadly masks his insults towards Miss Piggy with heavy layers of sarcasm. She has yet to notice that he doesn't respect her at all.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Dr. Teeth has an unusually flowery way of speaking.
    Dr. Teeth: Perhaps we should dis-mistify any further mis-confusion with a daily confabulation type meeting.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Happens between Bunsen and Beaker of all people in Pig Out.
  • Skewed Priorities: Gonzo, getting cold feet about a potentially deadly stunt, tries going to Sam in the hopes he'll be outraged about it and refuse to let him perform it. Unfortunately, Sam has no problem with the idea of Gonzo gibbing himself on camera. Good wholesome entertainment! ... just so long as Gonzo doesn't swear when he goes splat.
  • Terrible Trio: Gonzo, Rizzo and Pepe.
  • The Show Must Go On: Gonzo is a firm believer in this, considering it the oldest phrase in Hollywood, as he tells a distraught Scooter in "Pigs in a Blackout" (the latter thinks the oldest phrase in Hollywood is "This is where we build Hollywood", incidentally.)
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Famous!:
    • Miss Piggy, however, isn't as lucky: she actually did get arrested for her attempt at making an embarrassing video of Christina Applegate, who apparently caught on to her. She also found out Beverly Hills cops are too used to celebrities for breaking the rules to work.
    • In "Walk the Swine", Miss Piggy takes her rivalry with Reese Witherspoon a bit too far and nearly wrecks her show because of it. Her apology to Reese only makes it worse...
  • Show Within a Show: Up Late with Miss Piggy.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: It's probably easier to list the people Miss Piggy isn't feuding with. So far she's gone up against Elizabeth Banks (Piggy saw a poster of her right after the breakup with Kermit and can't help being reminded), Christina Applegate (for a video showing Piggy being clumsy), and Reese Witherspoon (for beating her out for the role of June Carter in Walk the Line). She's even had a "decoy grudge" with Natalie Portman (for winning the lead role in Black Swan).
    Uncle Deadly: It's always been Witherspoon...always...
  • Sleeping Dummy: Statler pulls this off after Fozzie leaves the former's hospital room to get him some things.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: A tad more cynical than other installments in the Muppets franchise, but it still has its foot on the optimistic end of the scale.
  • Surprisingly Good English:
    • Even if it's heavily accented, the Swedish Chef demonstrates that he can rap in English in "Pig Out".
      • For that matter, listen carefully and you'll realize that most of the Chef's dialogue in this show is in heavily-accented English. His native Mock Swedish isn't entirely gone, though.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kermit and Piggy have since broken up, and he's dating another pig, Denise (who was herself an Expy of Muppets Tonight character Spamela Hamderson before she was redesigned before production. She looks more like Tina Fey now).
  • Take a Third Option: Discussed by Fozzie on "A Tail of Two Piggies" when he suggests one for Piggy's dilemma. Kermit points out that Fozzie should have stated what the third option was. Of course Kermit immediately thinks of one after he says this.
    Fozzie: Like I said, you're welcome.
  • Take That!:
    • Apparently not even Joseph Gordon-Levitt understood the plot of Looper.
    • A parody of One Million Moms shows up in one episode, protesting Piggy showing her tail (there's an inexplicable in-universe prejudice against pig tails despite other animal muppets leaving them uncovered). There's only three of them; they like to round up.
    • Piggy's water brand (which is full of fat) appears to be a shot at Coca-Cola's Vitamin Water (which has as much sugar as soda).
  • The Talk Show with Host Name: Up Late with Miss Piggy.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Kermit's standard reaction when something slips by him onto Up Late With Miss Piggy. Like when an embarrassing video of Piggy was shown in "Bear Left Then Bear Write", or when Miss Piggy started bursting into song while apologizing in "Walk the Swine".
  • Those Two Guys: Whatever combination of Gonzo, Rizzo, and Pepe happens to be in the scene; Rizzo and Pepe is the most common when it isn't all three. Overlaps with Heterosexual Life-Partners; they work together as the writing team, hang out after work, and partway through the series all move in together so they can afford a nicer place.
  • Toad Licking: Brought up in a conversation between Fozzie and Kermit in "Bear Left Then Bear Write".
    Fozzie: (delirious) Have you ever been shot with a tranquilizer dart... Kermit?
    Kermit: No, but I did lick my third cousin once and the walls started melting, so I feel you, bro.
  • Trade Mark Favorite Food: According to Kermit, Denise loves ketchup so much she puts it on everything. Including tomatoes.
  • Vague Age: Robin is still quite small and presented as a young child, but he also mentions being relieved when a doctor told him some people have growth spurts in their 30s.
  • Visual Pun: The day after Piggy's wardrobe malfunction on the Red Carpet, Yolanda warns Kermit that Sam the Eagle, who's in charge of standards and practices, is waiting for him, and he has "steam coming out of his ears." Cut to a very angry Sam with what appears to be actual steam coming out of his ears, but turns out he's standing behind Kermit's humidifier.
  • Walk and Talk: Often done to show that the characters are working in a busy office environment. All the more impressive because these extended takes are done with both muppets and humans as extras.
    • Lampshaded like everything Muppet, in the first episode.
    Piggy: "Walk with me."
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: The plot of "A Tail of Two Piggies" begins when a low-cut dress exposes Piggy's curly tail.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Piggy named the penguin she brought back from Argentina Gloria Estefan, because it was the only Spanish name she could think of at the time.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Sort of. When Kermit set Miss Piggy up with Josh Groban Miss Piggy began to mellow out considerably and began acting nice to everyone. Everyone liked the new gentle Miss Piggy, but Groban began interfering with the show and it sucked as a result. While this was Kermit's primary motivation for getting rid of Groban and getting the old Piggy back, he also expresses a preference for the old Piggy's cold treatment of Yolanda, calling it "our Piggy".
  • Wham Line: "Generally Inhospitable" has a private moment between Kermit and Miss Piggy end the episode right as she's being taken to surgery:
    Miss Piggy: Just in case, though... I love you, Kermit.
    Kermit: I-I-I love you too, Piggy. (later, when by himself) ...I love her...
  • What's a Henway?: Subverted in "Going, Going, Gonzo" after Scooter rejects Pepe and Rizzo's invitation to play poker:
    Rizzo: Oh, we need another schnook to fleece.
    Pepe: What's a "schnooktafleece"?
    Rizzo: Patsy to swindle.
    Pepe: "Patsytoswindle"?
    Rizzo: Guy to rob.
    Pepe: "Guytorob"— Does anyone speak English around here?
  • Working with the Ex: The first scene of the first episode has Kermit complaining about how tough it is having to work for Miss Piggy after their break up.

The pilot presentation features examples of the following tropes:

  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: All of the Muppets except for Kermit and Miss Piggy start extravagantly spending their wages from their new show before it's even green-lit.
    Kermit: Wait a minute. Did everyone just run out and start spending money they don't have on ridiculous nonsense?
    Newsman: This just in: all the Muppets recklessly spent the money they don't have on complete nonsense. In a related story, my shoes are filled with caviar.
    (Newsman walks away, with each step making squelching noises.)
  • Blatant Lies: No, Miss Piggy certainly did not quit her new movie for Kermit.
  • The Bus Came Back: Features all your favorite Muppets, as well as the ones nobody remembers, even those Muppets themselves!
    Kermit: And you are...?
    Chipnote : I think I was in a holiday special or something.
    • Funnily enough, Chip is based on series producer Bill Prady, who was a young staff writer for Jim Henson in the late 80s.
  • Cone of Shame: Rowlf sports one early in the trailer.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Assuming that their new show means they'll be loaded, the Muppets immediately start splashing the cash (that they don't actually have). The Electric Mayhem add a lap pool to their tour bus, Uncle Deadly hires Katy Perry to sing at his nephew's Bar Mitzvah, Swedish Chef opens a Swedish sushi restaurant (which is just sushi topped with Swedish meatballs), and the Newsman fills his shoes with caviar.
  • Eagleland: Sam, as per usual.
    Sam: God Bless America, and its magnificent broadcasting company!
  • Hypocritical Humor: Elizabeth Banks randomly appears to ask if they can have celebrity guests. Kermit thinks it's a great idea, but doesn't recognize Elizabeth as one, leaving her nonplussed and depressed.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Gonzo's response to Piggy guessing his name is Gary.

Waldorf: Uh, which way do I turn the knob if I think this Muppet show is terrible?
Statler: To the left.
Waldorf: It won't go any further!
Statler: Sure it will! I turned mine so far I broke it!
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho!

Alternative Title(s): The Muppets On ABC, The Muppets