Ryan Dosier - Last night Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Statler appeared on ABC's The Bachelorette. When this appearances was first announced, some Muppet fans went up in arms about the Muppets being "degraded" to a reality show. I chose to remain cautiously hopeful that Kermit, Piggy, et al would not be "violated" by this appearance... and I was right. Yes, The Bachelorette is not even close to reaching the title of "quality television," but did Kermit, Piggy, and Fozzie ever once stoop to any low or lose their character by appearing on The Bachelorette? Not even close. Here are my two or three cents on the ordeal.
In case you missed the show last night (by which of course I mean, in case you missed the Muppet parts of the show last night), you can watch it on the videos snagged and trimmed by our friends at ToughPigs.com. Before you go claiming that the Muppets were "violated" or "put to shame" by appearing here, watch these clips for yourself. By doing so, you'll see that these words should not apply because Kermit was charming and sweet and flirtatious, Miss Piggy was egotistical and jealous and flirtatious, and Fozzie was trying to teach some talentless yucks how to be stand-up comics. See? No harm, no foul. (And no chickens, so no fowl.)
What happened on The Bachelorette last night rarely happens on television: The Muppets were a part of a quasi-variety show in primetime. In no way did the episode reach the wonder of The Muppet Show, but being able to see Kermit and Piggy putting on a show is still a fun novelty for us as Muppet fans. More importantly, seeing this most certainly reminds the general public watching of what the Muppets are famous for and capable of (although they are obviously capable of a lot more than what The Bachelorette let them do).
Don't get me wrong, I would much rather see the Muppets appear on shows that are smart and scripted and not reality television, but the cold hard fact is that most of America enjoys The Bachelorette and shows like it. This means that Disney will be putting our beloved Muppets on these shows (especially shows on ABC--can you say synergy?) in order to appeal to the widest audience possible and put the frog and the pig in the public eye on one of the most popular television shows on the air right now. You know what they say: cast a wider net, catch more fish. The more people who see the Muppets on The Bachelorette, the more people who are inclined to check out The Muppets or The Muppet Show or any number of things.
These reality TV appearances aren't inherently good or bad. They just are. They exist for Disney to try to appeal the characters to more and more people months after their latest Blu-ray/DVD dropped. I dislike The Bachelorette as much as the next guy, but seeing Kermit and Piggy and Fozzie on primetime network television is a rare occurrence and one I appreciate--especially when Kermit is still Kermit, Piggy is still Piggy, and so on. The Muppets weren't violated by The Bachelorette. If anything, the Muppets brought another level of quality to the show--just as they surely do with any show they appear on. That's how we as Muppet fans should see these appearances: as the Muppets upgrading whatever show they are on, not the show degrading the Muppets because they appear on it. When the Muppets appear on shows like this they're only proving that they have more talent and life than the reality show yuppies they appear aside. There's nothing wrong with that.
Let's be happy that the frog, the pig, the bear, and a heckler were seen by millions of people last night on a show that (unfortunately) gets twice as many viewers as Community. Would I rather see Kermit on Community? Any day of the week and in any fashion imaginable. But am I thrilled that millions of people watched Kermit sing "Rainbow Connection" on ABC primetime last night? You'd better believe it.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org