Kristen Newman has a large undertaking on her hands. She moved over from Galavant to The Muppets series after showrunner Bob Kushell was let go in light of low ratings from the first season. As such, The Muppets are getting a bit of a non-reboot reboot of sorts and Newman has a plan for revitalization.
She recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter detailing some of her ideas, one of which addresses complaints that Miss Piggy became too angry and Kermit became too mopey following their very public (and widely marketed) breakup. On rekindling their fire, Newman said:
I came in for episode 10, which was the Christmas episode that aired before the break, and Day 1 of work was rewriting Piggy-Kermit scenes to really bring that connection back. The heart of the whole franchise has always been Piggy and Kermit, and I think breaking them up was really smart. There’s always more story to be told and more tension when two people who love each other are apart instead of together. But what’s important to remember is that they do love each other, and that was being walked away from completely.
Newman continued to say that she’s bringing more serialized story lines to The Muppets, one of which being Miss Piggy’s revelation. In coming back from her solo Christmas vacation to Argentina, she’ll realize she’s lost relationships, including Kermit’s, due to her attitude, and her ex-love will notice. One new element that will hopefully help bury the hatchet is Utkarsh Ambudkar. The Mindy Project actor is coming aboard as a new human villain that Newman hopes will “unite the Muppets fighting against him.” She said:
The human threat is obviously from the network because they work on a TV show. He is a branding guru named Pache…and he has rebranded warlords and network presidents and he has a lot of slick ideas and it’s all about new, new, new and slick, slick, slick, which is not The Muppets. The Muppets are all about joy and zaniness and heart and the way that they have to fight this bad guy is by binding together. They’re going to bring the people who have been backstage on Up Late With Miss Piggy, doing more sketches and bits and bringing more joy back to her show.
Also on the docket is the return of some familiar faces, including Gonzo’s girlfriend Camilla and Lew Zealand, in addition to updates of old sketches, like Swedish Chef. Newman teased it coming down to a central question, “How would Kimmel do it?” She teased, “It’s more of a Jimmy Fallon-style late-night show where there are bits and sketches.”
The Muppets returns Tuesday, February 2nd on ABC.