Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Miley single-handedly rescues the Muppets from obscurity

Back from hiatus (long story, but here's a little piece of advice: never try to smuggle hashish out of Turkey), and eager to comment on an important development about which I have extremely mixed emotions. Last night I watched "Studio DC," the new Disney Channel show that takes Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, those Zack and Cody twins and all the other tween stars they keep locked up in boxes in the Disney studio and pairs them with everyone's favorite Muppets. Sacrilege, or a clever marketing ploy? I'm thinking a little of both.

Until now, the Muppets have been kept mercifully separate from most of the pap Disney has produced of late, despite having been under the Disney umbrella for years. But now it seems full integration has begun. The quality of "Studio DC" was about on par with a "Muppet Wizard of Oz" (and if you saw that and lived to tell about it, you know what I'm talking about). But I have to admit it's a good way to introduce the Muppets to a generation of kids who probably don't know Kermit from Lamb Chop from an old sock.

Anthony Strand at Tough Pigs has a great post on the subject, and seems to agree with me. I'd add that my kids (who admittedly are more Muppet-familiar than the average 6- and 9-year-old, thanks to my tutelage and their excellent tastes) laughed heartily through the entire production, in marked contrast to their usual reaction to Disney Channel shows, which is to stare at the screen in a slack-jawed stupor. (Well, except when there's a fart joke -- then my son laughs his head off.)

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