‘Adult’ Muppet Show Flops

Audiences reject gender fluidity, sexual innuendo

ABC’s “Muppets” reboot got as much (virtual) ink as any new series this year. Looks like it wasn’t enough.

The show’s deep connection with popular cultural, combined with the program’s “adult” makeover, made it a social media mainstay over the past few weeks. ABC pumped millions into the program’s marketing efforts, corralling the network’s most recognizable stars (including “Scandal’s” Kerry Washington) to personally promote Kermit, Fozzie and the gang.

Gone were the sweet, innocent characters Jim Henson brought into our lives.

The show itself wasn’t what viewers had come to expect from the formerly family-friendly franchise. Gone were the sweet, innocent characters Jim Henson brought into our lives. Now, the talk on the mockumentary series is more mature, with gags about gender fluidity and sexually suggestive moments interspersed with the felt and foam characters.

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One Million Moms objected to the show’s mature tone, particularly since Muppet entertainment had been wholesome fare for decades. Some critics also rebelled against the approach. Perhaps the curiosity factor helped drive the debut’s ratings. It wasn’t an instant smash, but that first episode attracted 9 million viewers, an undeniably solid start.

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Things started to sour in week two, when the show shed about 31 percent of its  audience. The third episode Tuesday found another sizable drop in viewers, with the show attracting 4.8 million viewers.

Will the descent continue? Audiences have sampled the series and some apparently aren’t eager to see more. Sometimes no amount of marketing muscle can turn a show into a winner.

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