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YMMV / The Muppets

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For individual Muppet productions.

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    The franchise in general 
  • Adorkable: Scooter, a cute, geeky, glasses-wearing Muppet.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Professor Honeydew really as absent-minded as all that, or does he know full well he's hurting people (Beaker especially) and just doesn't care? The fact he often follows his actions with that little giggle isn't in his favor. Certain moments seem to indicate that Bunsen does indeed care about Beaker’s wellbeing, such as when he frets over Beaker being overwhelmed by the rogue president Lincoln robot during episode 206 of Muppets Tonight; perhaps he just considers scientific pursuit more important.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Miss Piggy is one of the most divisive members of the main Muppet gang. Some find her to be a incredibly fun and hilarious character on top of being a great female and feminist icon, while others found her to be an shallow and unlikable Jerkass who barely develops or faces any true consequences for her oft violent and abusive actions.
    • Kermit's nephew Robin isn't universally hated by any means, but some Muppet fans can be a little bit testy when he shows up. That being said, he's still more well-liked and tolerable overall than, say, Bean Bunny from later Muppet projects.
  • Broken Base: Replacement Muppeteers has always been a controversial topic, but Matt Vogel as Kermit is by far the most controversial case. Some don't mind Vogel's performance and have argued that he sounds more faithful to Jim's performance than Steve Whitmire did. Others however, hate Matt Vogel's Kermit, finding his voice to be incredibly off-putting and nasally compared to Jim or Steve's performances. The fact that Matt Vogel only became the voice of Kermit due to Steve Whitmire getting fired by Disney does not help.
  • "Common Knowledge": The Muppet Wilkins from the old Wilkins Coffee spots is often assumed to be an early version of Kermit, due to having a similar voice and appearance. He's not; in fact, Kermit had already existed for two years on the show Sam and Friends before the Wilkins Coffee spots started being produced.
  • Contested Sequel: With the exceptions of The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Viral Videos and The Muppets (2011), which are widely agreed to be good. the Muppet productions made after Jim Henson’s death tend to be incredibly divisive, with fans and critics often debating and arguing over which productions are good, So Okay, It's Average or just plain bad.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Rowlf the Dog, largely because he was the first Muppet to reach national stardom, and he really doesn't get enough credit for helping to bring the Muppets into mainstream consciousness. Many fans lament his decreased role among the cast following Jim Henson's death.
    • For a Muppet that only appears once in a blue moon, Crazy Harry is pretty popular with the fans.
    • Uncle Deadly. He didn't appear much in the original show, but he became somewhat popular, especially after his major role in the 2011 film.
    • While on the subject of Muppets originally performed by Jerry Nelson, Lew Zealand, a clown-esque character whose main (and only) schtick is throwing boomerang fish. While such a concept is certainly odd and even tedious, Lew does his act with such goofy gusto that it's hard to hate him.
  • LGBT Fanbase:
    • Due to the group being a Found Family of weirdos and misfits who come to care deeply about each other in spite of their differences, it should come as no surprise that the Muppets have a large following amongst the LGBT community in general. It certainly helps that the Muppets have a very pro-LGBT stance, with one of the original Muppeteers, the late Richard Hunt, being gay himself.
    • Gonzo’s status as a whatever and his struggles with identity has made him very popular amongst the non-binary community. Muppet fan site, Tough Pigs wrote an article about it that goes more in-depth. A few bits of canon even explicitly name his gender as "whatever."
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The technique Henson and Oz used to operate the Swedish Chef became a game on Whose Line Is It Anyway? called "Helping Hands", letting the audience see firsthand just how much dexterity was required.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Statler and Waldorf are pretty much always seen together, bicker and argue Like an Old Married Couple, and have even danced together in a couple of the At the Dance skits. Doesn't help that Waldorf's wife looks exactly like Statler, leading to jokes that it’s actually him Disguised in Drag.
    • Bunsen and Beaker have countless examples, including Bunsen calling Beaker petnames, Beaker going on a pretend dinner date with a fake Bunsen in the Flowers on the Wall music video, and even Bunsen kissing Beaker on the cheek during a live show. There’s so much of it that both Tough Pigs and the Muppet Wiki have articles devoted to the romantic aspects of their relationship.
  • Memetic Mutation: Among the Vinesauce community, Kermit being the father of streamer Joel due to his real father having a similar voice has become memetic.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales:
    • Plenty of Swedish viewers love the Swedish Chef for just how over-the-top ridiculous of a stereotype he is.
    • It's pretty much an accepted fact that no one loves Sam the Eagle more than his fellow Americans.
  • Signature Song: "Halfway Down the Stairs" for Robin, which even became a Top 10 hit in the UK in 1977. For Kermit, there’s "Bein' Green" and "Rainbow Connection".
  • Theme Pairing: Scooter and Walter make a somewhat popular pairing among fans on Tumblr and Twitter due to them both being younger human-based Muppets with similar personalities.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Steve Whitmire had the unfortunate luck of taking over Kermit after the passing of Jim Henson, who was practically intertwined with Kermit. While many considered his performance as Kermit to be good (particularly later on), it’s near-universally agreed that he just doesn’t stack up to Henson. History repeated itself again after Whitmire was fired and Matt Vogel took over as the frog, in which he received a similar reception to Steve.
  • Ugly Cute: Many of the Muppets, in contrast to the generally cute monsters of Sesame Street.

    The 2011 film 
  • Acceptable Targets: Lew Zealand figures it's okay to kidnap Jack Black to host the show, because "a celebrity is not a people". (This is what happens when Kermit and/or Scooter aren't around to be the sane ones.)
  • Accidental Innuendo: The song "Me Party" could be taken to be about A Date with Rosie Palms.
    No one’s gonna stop this girl from having fun
    I throw my hands up high and have a party for one

    I'm not gonna sit around by myself and wait for you
    Haven't you heard one is the new two?

    And what happens at the "me party"
    Stays at the "me party"
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Awesome Music: Bret McKenzie wrote the new musical numbers for the film. They're a ton of fun and even include some very Conchords-esque lyrics.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Pepe's prior status as one divided fans into two camps: the "thank God Pepe didn't have more screentime in this movie" camp, and the "Pepe should have had more screentime" camp.
    • Fozzie due to his fart shoes. The DVD commentary says that the only reason they introduced the fart shoes was to have the farting noise as Fozzie walked out of the theater. Frank Oz refused to work on the film due to this joke, seeing it as emblematic of the writers not getting what made the Muppets work. Others have responded that he seemed to have rather missed the point that Fozzie's schtick has always been that he's a bad comedian, and this kind of thing is exactly what he should be doing these days. The thing of it is, the Muppets' humor, even Fozzie's pathetic attempts at comedy, was always sophisticated and intelligent; fart shoes (and fart jokes, in general) is pretty low-brow, even by Fozzie standards.
    • Gary and Mary. Critics adore them and lament their absence from Muppets Most Wanted, claiming it as one of the movie's biggest shortcomings, while fans wish they'd have lent a bit more screen time to the Muppets themselves. Nobody hates them outright, though.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
  • Crazy Is Cool: Gonzo. Okay, it's really no surprise coming from him, but he takes it to new heights when it's revealed that he's not only been expecting a reunion and thus had been wearing his stage outfit under his suit for years, but he also had an automatic Self-Destruct Mechanism for the big business he's been in charge of.
  • Critical Dissonance: The Muppets was one of the best-reviewed movies of 2011 and most who saw it praised the film. Unfortunately, some general audiences though Breaking Dawn and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked looked like the superior movies and saved their money for those, leading to a solid but not certainly great box office total.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: '80's Robot. He only has a minor role in the movie, but fans love him for being a hilariously outdated Disco Dan who looks like Nintendo's R.O.B..
  • Evil Is Cool: Uncle Deadly, although you can't help but feel that he's even more awesome after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fridge Horror: Jack Black is still trapped as the King of the Hobos!
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The purpose of the film is essentially to remind us why the Muppets are such beloved characters in the first place as well as being a reintroduction. Given how fast the franchise fell apart soon after this film's release, with its Contested Sequel Muppets Most Wanted and the polarizing ABC series The Muppets polarizing peoples' views of the franchise, it's sad that the franchise fell again so quickly after such a successful reintroduction that was supposed to reinvigorate it.
    • Tex Richman claims at one point that the "hard, cynical world" doesn't care about "goody-goody" characters like the Muppets anymore. Muppets Most Wanted and the ABC series have most of the Muppets Taking A Level In Jerkass.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the actual movie, during the "Man or Muppet?" song, Walter looks in the mirror and sees what he would look like as a human: Jim Parsons. This got funnier when Jim Parsons came out as gay, considering Walter and his brother Gary are definitely Heterosexual Life-Partners.
    • Rowlf complains that they didn't show his scene in the montage during the film. In some broadcast TV versions of the film, this scene is cut out completely.
    • The line "Are you a man or a Muppet?" got this for Mexican audiences since the term "Muppet" is a term used usually against politicians that do nothing that they promised or are seemingly obeying another groups or people's interests.
    • Rico Rodriquez's question to Kermit asking if he's "one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is now even more hilarious two years later, with the introduction of Pokémon X & Y's Greninja - a ninja frog who is often compared to Kermit.
    • Walter is a puppet who's the brother of a human being. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?. Crash even LOOKS like a purple version of Walter.
  • Hype Aversion: A lot of people were dubious about the film because of how supersaturated the trailers and promos were.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The Hail Mary telethon fails, the magic fix at the end falls through, and Kermit's ready to start the group again from the ground up with whatever fans they have left, no studio and no Muppet name. The audience knows there will be a last-minute victory.
  • Memetic Mutation: "You sure got nice teeth, Jaaack Blaaack!"
  • Narm Charm:
    • The Swedish Chef's gibberish during the movie's more sentimental moments, like "Pictures In My Head" and after the telethon ends and the Muppets failed to raise the $10,000,000.
      Swedish Chef: (sadly, while cuddling the chickens) ... Chickee.
    • Mary emotionally asks Gary for a decision:
      Mary: Gary, I love you, but you have to decide: Are you a man, or a Muppet?"
  • Older Than They Think: Toilet Humor like the infamous Fart Shoes was definitely rare for the Muppets, but one sketch from The Muppet Show had a man mentioning that he used real poo, as opposed the sham poo.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The human version of Walter, as played by Jim Parsons in one of the best unexpected cameos in any Muppet film.
    • Emily Blunt, parodying her role in The Devil Wears Prada, manages to steal the show from the Muppets themselves in every second she's in.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Walter, a sort of Muppet fan stand-in created for the movie, got a lot of accusations of this before the film came out. After the film was released, he ended up becoming something of an Ensemble Dark Horse among fans.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Both in-universe and in real life. Before this, it had been over a decade since the last theatrical film.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • The staff of a certain conservative news show accused the Muppets of promoting class warfare for children by making the movie's villain an oil CEO. The film makes it clear that Tex Richman isn't evil because he is a CEO, rich, or wants oil, but because he is unable to laugh and laughter, aka the third greatest gift ever, is necessary for happiness. He decides to turn the Muppet name into a cynical, depressing act For the Evulz, which doesn't have much to do with oil. Any five-year-old would know he's a caricature just by the name and Large Ham tendencies. A few Muppets are upper-class as well. Kermit is CEO of The Muppets and is wealthy enough to live in a swanky house. Gonzo had enough money to buy out the theater until he blew it up in his enthusiasm to return. Piggy is portrayed as rich. The Muppets themselves got the last laugh on this; during a press conference, Kermit pointed out how hypocritical they'd be if they spent the majority of an alleged anti-oil movie driving around in a gas-guzzling Rolls Royce, and Miss Piggy said the accusation was as absurd as accusing Fox News of being news. Fox News' accusation makes the brief gag of Sam the Eagle working for Fox News even funnier than intended.
  • The Woobie:
    • Walter is trying to save the Muppet name and finding his special talent under so much pressure. It's sad to see the poor guy struggling.
    • Kermit has to jump through hoops to get the gang back together, raise enough money to save Muppet Studios, and gather the courage to admit to Miss Piggy his feelings. It's so much pressure for a little green frog.

    The 2015 series 
  • Author's Saving Throw: "Swine Song" addressed a lot of complaints by fans. The biggest one is that the other Muppets with be incorporated to Up Late directly, instead of being off-stage workers. Also present are an active attempt to reduce We're Still Relevant, Dammit! moments, bringing back the music, and directly developing the Kermit and Piggy plotline by having Denise break up with the former in a way.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Kermit's stripped-down "Rainbow Connection" at the end of "Pigs in a Blackout" is simply beautiful and a perfect cap to the episode.
    • Piggy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's duet of "Fly Me To The Moon".
    • In "Swine Song", there's Kermit and Piggy's heartwarming duet, "In Spite of Ourselves".
    • The Swedish Chef's cover of "Rapper's Delight".
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • One of the more contentious aspects of the show is that Pepe, easily the most divisive character in the Muppets' entire history (after Miss Piggy, of course), is one of the most prominent characters. This was one of the few things that the post-hiatus retool did not change; if anything, he appears even more.
    • Scooter's personality change to a Manchild is one of the more disagreed-upon character tweaks in the show. Some find it endearing and fitting (as Scooter has always been seen as one of the youngest Muppets), while others think it's obnoxious and undermines his traditional traits. Not helping was how frequently he was used in the pre-hiatus episodes, as well as causing a few problems due to being stupider that he should be (such as accepting the lie about Piggy and Kermit being together a little too well in "Little Green Lie").
  • Broken Base:
    • You're either Team Kermit or Team Piggy regarding who was at fault for them breaking up. The groups will accept no in-between.
    • The show itself, whether or not you believe that the mockumentary makeover was a good thing, especially because its lack of success has put the franchise on hold once again.
  • Character Rerailment:
    • Sam the Eagle returned to his roots as the show's resident moral guardian, after years of flanderization where his character did nothing but glorify America.
    • Statler and Waldorf remained as hecklers, but it was shown several times that they did enjoy parts of the show, a trait that hadn't been very present since The Muppet Show.
    • Starting with "Swine Song", the show toned down some of Piggy's jerkass traits so that she's back to being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold . This is partially because it shifted away from her being an antagonistic force in favor of other characters (mainly Lucy Royce and Pache).
  • Genius Bonus: In "Single All the Way", when everyone joins in on "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", many of them are wearing Christmassy outfits. The Swedish Chef has replaced his chef's hat with a crown of evergreens set with lit candles. This is a reference to a genuine Swedish tradition, although it's meant to be worn by a young woman representing St Lucia.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • If critic reviews and acclaim in the fanbase are anything to go by, the episode "Pigs in a Blackout" is where the show finally hit that balance between classic Muppet chaos and warmth with the more modern, edgy Mockumentary elements while not compromising either. The beard-growing continued with the next few episodes.
    • Under Kristin Newman's leadership, the show grew its beard even more, ironing out almost all of the complaints of the pre-hiatus episodes. Unfortunately, loss of interest and Executive Meddling stopped it from being successful enough to be renewed.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Imagine Dragons' "Roots" seems like a prophetic choice for episode #1's end credits music, considering the repetitive chorus includes six declarations of, "Rock bottom".
  • He Really Can Act: Eric Jacobson's work as Piggy during the break up scene in "Pig Girls Don't Cry" is very different from something that Frank Oz would have done, yet he nails it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The presentation pilot has a gag where Elizabeth Banks appears to suggest the show have guest stars, only for Kermit to be oblivious to her being a celebrity. She ends up being the guest in the first episode, Kermit aware of her star status.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Despite protests and boycotts from right-wing groups over the show's edgy humor, the premiere snagged over 8 million viewers and generated a mostly positive response from fans (in fact, several said they watched it specifically to spite One Million Moms). It wasn't able to keep them, however.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Some fans were growing restless at Gonzo being quite Out of Focus compared to the other major Muppet characters, especially since he's the only one who still has his original performer. Then the episode Going, Going, Gonzo directly acknowledges and addresses exactly these concerns, as this review notes.
    • A major complaint of the first half of Season 1 was that most of the Muppets, while still very important, never showed their talents on Up Late itself. As of "Swine Song", however, they're starting to be incorporated.
    • Denise is not only Kermit's girlfriend (for the first 11 episodes) but also works for the network. In addition to not appearing much during the time they are together, but the show doesn't have any situations where she has conflict between her job and the show. Considering the need to have new characters working for the network after she breaks up with Kermit, one would think she'd be involved in network conflicts with the show.
    • The biggest examples of Out of Focus in the show are Bunsen and Beaker, the only characters out of the traditional cast (other than the Swedish Chef, who's generally better as a quick gag character) to not get a episode focused on them, or even a subplot focused on them. Admittedly, trying to incorporate a mad science plot into a casual talk show is difficult, but they don't even get involved in stage effects. Also, Beaker's Butt-Monkey nature only shows up in three episodes. He's zapped with a tazer in the first, frozen by an AC explosion and scalded by hot coffee in the second, and rocketed offstage by a flash-frozen swedish meatball in the third.
    • Becky could've been an interesting character, but we don't get much of out of her (aside from being good at trivia) and only shows up in THREE EPISODES.
    • Finally, despite being well received by fans and generally being loved by everyone, Walter doesn’t show up in the show at all.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Denise's redesign was met with this response due to her looking more "humanish" than when she was a Spamela Hamderson clone. Some comments on Youtube says she bears a passing resemblance to Margery Tyrell from Game of Thrones. Notably, her later appearances have her sporting a pair of glasses, possibly as an attempt to lessen this.
    • Some humanoid Muppets. Statler and Waldorf aren't that uncanny-looking, Chip we've seen before, but Debbie is just creepy.
    • Scooter without glasses in "Pig Out" just looks... unnatural. This was most definitely the intent.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: This tends to be the reaction to any time the Muppets invoke current pop culture, social media, and such. To be fair, no one would claim it's anywhere near as bad at this trope as, say, the Studio DC: Almost Live specials from way back when. It's directly addressed in "Swine Song", where a branding expert tries to get the Muppets to become more with the times, and almost ruins the show as a result. While the episode does use a lot of pop-culture jokes, it otherwise makes it clear that the show wants to avoid losing its identity by pandering to that crowd.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Reports that the show would be "more adult" zig-zagged with both this and What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?. While it is family friendly and definitely safe for the kiddies, it's a bit more "edgy" than the previous shows and more in line with ABC's other fare such as Modern Family and The Middle, both of which have kid fansnote . That didn't stop Entertainment Weekly from assuming that the show would be Darker and Edgier than anything the Muppets would offer (which the fansite ToughPigs immediately debunked).
  • Win Back the Crowd: The commercial failure and mixed critical reception of Muppets Most Wanted in 2014 did a lot of damage to the Muppet brand, putting the gang — who three years prior were being welcomed back with open arms — at risk for getting their franchise killed off. With this series, Disney tried listening more to what audiences were asking for following the 2011 film and the concept had great reception as well as a great push of social media hype surrounding Kermit and Piggy's breakup and later Kermit's rebound with Denise. It was central to ABC's 2015-16 lineup, there were positive reviews and strong ratings for the premiere — but afterwards ratings slid quickly, the general complaint being that it was too cynical and gloomy for a Muppet production. There were hopes that the retool during the winter hiatus would reverse this trend — basically, to win back the crowd and keep them — and critics did like the second half of the season more than the first, but ratings were worse than ever; the final two episodes of the season were burnt off in a one-hour block with little fanfare and the show was cancelled in May 2016.


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