The Muppets - Kermit the Frog - Miss Piggy

The Muppets producer on ‘pushing the envelope’ (but not too far) with new ABC series

Contributed by
Sep 23, 2015, 11:46 AM EDT

The early trailers and promo materials have been positively hilarious for The Muppets, although early reviews of the first few episodes have been decidedly mixed. One of the big bones of contention has been the somewhat grown-up take on the iconic childhood puppets; turns out, not everyone is digging the more adult Muppets.

Though it just debuted this week (the premiere was last night), the series has already been hit with some backlash for promo bits such as Nathan Fillion’s walk of shame after an off-screen tryst with Miss Piggy. In response to the One Million Moms organization’s push for a boycott, producer Bob Kushell opened up to TV Line about their creative approach. Basically: They’re trying to tell jokes that are clever enough to work on two levels, so the show can still appeal to families.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Yes, there will be jokes that are pitched that are a little too risque, and then we have to find a way to make it more clever, I guess you would say, so that it works on two levels. That’s the fun challenge of what we do. Already, the writers are thinking in a way where you don’t go to the more racy joke first, you go to the clever way to say the racy joke. It’s becoming second nature very quickly.

Part of the excitement of doing this show is to see where we can push the envelope but never push it so far that the adults feel embarrassed to watch it in front of their kids. That will never happen. We know our audience is going to be families watching, adults watching with their children, so we’re not pitching stories or thinking of stories that are, like, Norman Lear stories from the 1970s. [This show] not going to be that.”

Needless to say, this is a delicate tightrope to walk, as ABC works to attract adult fans who have fond memories of The Muppets along with kids interested in checking out the shenanigans. Did you check out the pilot? What did you think of the tone?

(Via TV Line)