There aren't many universal fixes in life, but at least for the last 65 years, when life has often felt too overwhelming to process, there's been a frog and his banjo.
Kermit the Frog, the eternal optimist with a heart bigger than the Everglades, has been out there plunking strings, flailing with enthusiasm, and just telling us it's all going to be OK since he became a star on Sesame Street and then The Muppet Show. Whether hosting a variety series, anchoring a big Hollywood movie, appearing in shorts, or going viral, Kermit's message never fails to soothe what ails us.
So, thank goodness he's back on July 31 with his pals on the Disney+ streaming series Muppets Now. In his role as the perennial calm among the storm of flying felt and fur that is his fellow performers, Kermit's multi-tasking as a celeb interviewer, a legal weasel wrangler, and the much-needed voice of reason.
SYFY WIRE absorbed some of Kermit's singular serenity recently as he shared what audiences can expect from The Muppets' new series.
The gang is all back together. What’s different about working in the streaming world?
Kermit: Well, there’s not a lot different about it. I know they say this is an unscripted series, but, if I’m honest, The Muppets haven’t really ever stuck to a script before. It does have a really nice, spontaneous feel to it, Muppets Now does. And I think it addresses the question of: “What would the Muppets comment on, right now, in the age of streaming?"
It seems Scooter is taking on more of the stress, as the post-production coordinator, than he did in previous projects you’ve all worked on before. Was that by choice?
He’s the one with the good Wi-Fi. He’s got to make those delivery deadlines. He’s got the computer and the best Wi-Fi, so he was the one who got to do it.
I see there’s a new guy hanging around named Joe from Legal. He seems to take the fun out of some things. How do you deal with someone like that?
He’s kind of a weasel, uh, a legal weasel, that is. He does the best he can and tries to protect the Muppets, um ... as best he can.
You have some great new segments in Muppets Now, including "Okey Dokey Kookin," "Muppet Labs," "Pepe’s Unbelievable Game Show," and then you host "Mup Close and Personal," which is a one-on-one interview. Does that get a little out of hand?
With “Mup Close and Personal,” we actually have a rotating Muppet host sitting down to interview a celebrity guest. I had the great pleasure of interviewing RuPaul, or trying to interview RuPaul. Miss Piggy interrupts ... there are a lot of interruptions. It doesn’t go how I planned it, but that’s kind of the Muppet way, I suppose.
You’ve been doing this a long time and you’re show business people. You know how to make us feel better and look at ourselves in the best way. What makes you excited about doing that for a new generation?
Oh, well, I think it’s the same thing that motivated us back with The Muppet Show motivates us now, and that’s to make people happy and bring a smile to your face. That’s what we do best.
Well, you are the pros at it. Hopefully, we might get more of Muppets Now after these episodes?
We hope so! We had so much fun making Muppets Now, which does premiere Friday, July 31, only on Disney+. And who knows what we’ll be doing in the future! I’m excited to see, though.
Can we get a Kermit flail?
Oh sure. You bet. YAAAAAAAAAAY!
Muppets Now premieres on Friday, July 31, at 12:01 a.m. PT on Disney+. New episodes drop weekly.