It’s still not easy being green.
Sixty years after his first TV appearance, Kermit the Frog is still riddled with angst while maintaining a fierce determination to go on with the show.
In the case of “The Muppets,” the latest and quite satisfying attempt to revive Jim Henson’s troupe, the show is a late-night TV talker hosted by Miss Piggy, now an ex-lover who complains that the lilacs in her dressing room don’t smell “lilac-y” enough.
She’s just one fly in an ointment. Kermit’s crises in the first episode include “Dancing With the Czars,” a flat-footed attempt at satire from Gonzo; a lovesick Fozzie Bear attempting to win over the skeptical parents of his new girlfriend; hecklers Stadler and Waldorf, who have inexplicably been upgraded to the front row, and a budding relationship with a seemingly much younger porcine from network marketing.
“What can I say?” Kermit says directly to a behind-the-scenes crew of a documentary, a clever nod to the success of “Modern Family” and “The Office.” “I’m attracted to pigs.”
The gang, which also includes the Swedish Chef and Sam the Eagle, may be more adult than ever — one sleepy band member thinks he’s in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting — but creators Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory”) and Bill Kushell (“The Simpsons”) wisely restrain themselves from going whole hog, keeping the spirit and humor decidedly PG-rated.
That approach may come across as too tame for viewers used to more spice and cynicism in their sitcoms. For them, there’s always the new season of “The League.” For the rest of us? Save us seats next to Stadler and Waldorf. □