The Muppets: Study Suggests the TV Show May Not Be Suitable for Families


The Muppets:

Study Suggests the TV Show May Not Be Suitable for Families

By Rachal Marquez

A recently released study by the Parents Television Council states that the abundance of adult-themed content in the new Muppets TV show airing on ABC may mean it really isn’t a family show after all. The study reported that viewers “were exposed to adult-themed content every 3 minutes and 38 seconds during the first four episodes.”

This content was mostly sexual innuendos and drug or alcohol references, with trademark characters Kermit and Miss Piggy reportedly delivering nearly half of the sexual innuendos and references. The report also states that one bar scene in the fourth episode took nearly a quarter of the screen time for that episode. This episode not only took place in a bar, but showed characters drinking and becoming intoxicated.

The Muppets is styled as a behind-the-scenes “mockumentary,” giving the audience a look at the characters “real lives.” It is perhaps because of this aim that those working on the show felt the need to give it more of a stereotypical Hollywood spin.

According to the show’s producer, Bob Kushnell, “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.”

While the goal of making a show enjoyable for both parents and children is understandable, it can be a difficult balance to reach — and according to the Parents Television Council study, The Muppets has too much adult content to be a show that is truly geared toward the whole family.  

“Our research shows that The Muppets isn’t a show for kids, yet it was supposedly created for families to watch together. Perhaps, that’s why ratings for the show have continued to sink every week,” PTC president Tim Winter said.

Yet, Nielsen data reports that more than one million children ages 2-11 have watched the program each week.

“Make no mistake, children are inherently attracted to The Muppets, and over a million young children are watching the program each week,” Winter said. “No matter how ‘edgy’ ABC or the show’s producers want to make The Muppets, kids still reasonably believe the show is for them. We urge the network and everyone involved with this program to re-think the dangerous direction of this program. And in the meantime, we urge parents to be warned about letting their children watch The Muppets.”

More about the study and the Parents Television Council can be found here.

– Source: Parents Television Council; 10/20/15.

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