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It’s been a challenging decade for fans of the Muppets. Muppet fans all over the world have suffered through years of heartache and suffering from missed opportunities, character miscasting and a lack quality content. We rejoice now in harmony “Muppets Haunted Mansion”Featuring rave reviews, debuted on Disney+ this weekend.

The Muppets have become an institution. Since Jim Henson introduced The Muppets to the TV, they have been an institution. “Sam and Friends” in 1955, they’ve maintained their presence as comedy giants with their original fan base, while new generations of fans would continue to discover the franchise. My father grew up with Jim Henson’s original incarnation of the Muppets that included Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt, and Jerry Nelson – and I with the post-Jim era that put into the spotlight performers like Steve Whitmire and Bill Barretta. However, my little cousin has been forced to grow up alongside the confusing and sometimes disappointing version of the Muppets that we’ve seen take the stage over the last decade.

There is no question Jim Henson’s Muppets were king in the world of entertainment. Kermit and Piggy, Frank and Kermit, or Kermit & Fozzie or Bert & Ernie were unstoppable comedic forces of nature. Jim and his crew made characters so absurd, yet so real that they are often viewed as visceral beings, not puppets with human hands. 

His characters were passed on to other Muppet performers after Henson’s death in 1990. Kermit was later taken over by Steve Whitmire. Upon Henson’s and soon after Richard Hunt’s passing, the Muppets underwent a transition that shifted focus to other, now beloved characters like Rizzo the Rat, Pepe the King Prawn, and Gonzo the Great, an original Muppet performed by Dave Goelz on the “Muppet Show.”

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Slowly, however, things started to change. In 2004, Disney purchased the Muppets. Oz would then leave the group in 2007. Nelson died in 2012. After a long hiatus from film and television, the Muppets were back in 2011 with their name-reboot, spearheaded by Jason Segal. Everything seemed to be going well in the Muppet universe for a while. The sequel “Muppets Most Wanted”They received mixed reviews as well as their ABC series. “The Muppets,”They lasted for only one season. (I liked both of them!) They were then neglected for five years, much to the dismay and disappointment of their fans around the world, until the release of the wildly disappointing. “Muppets Now!”The characters were reduced to their most basic and unrelative versions. 


The concept of “Muppets Haunted Mansion”It is almost too brilliant. It’s hard to imagine this hasn’t been done before, but this marks the Muppets’ first foray into the world of Halloween-Esque spookiness, save for some episodes of “The Muppet Show”Alice Cooper and Vincent Price hosted the event. 

The special sees the return of Gonzo and Pepe as the story’s central characters, and it’s clear Disney has made the right move. Bill Barretta and Dave Goelz are the creators of each character, which allows for a more authentic performance. They know what makes these puppets so funny! Kermit, Matt Vogel replaced recently but has been a bit shaky since then. Most fans on the Facebook message boards agree that Vogel cannot deliver Kermit’s voice or performance in an acceptable way to fans. However, he and many other characters are given a backseat during this special.

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Kirk Thatcher, who directed well-received Muppet productions such as “The Muppet Show,” returns to the role of director in this special. “Muppet Treasure Island”Produced the Emmy Award-winning series “Muppets Tonight.”Along with Bill Barretta and Kelly Younger as performers, Thatcher also serves in the role of writer. “Muppets Now.” 

The special sees Gonzo and Pepe skip a party that their Muppet friends are hosting in order to explore a mansion built by a fictional magician. “The Great Macguffin”They disappeared one hundred years ago in hopes of surviving one night in the haunted abode. They are met by Will Arnett as the Ghost Host. They face many trials, tribulations and comeo appearances from celebrities and Muppets.

Fans of the Haunted House ride at Disney Parks will love to see the set design and references made to dialogue and music throughout this ride. The Muppets are the stretching paintings in the room without windows or doors. Miss. Piggy as Madame Pigota (instead of the ride’s Leota), or Ed Asner in his final appearance before his death, as a ghost, is just downright, hilariously fun. 

Long time Muppet aficionado’s will spot classic elements from the “Muppet Show” era like a reworking of “At the Dance,”A recurring sketch that was seen on the show. He was transformed into the Haunted Mansion ballroom or a ghostly Fozzie and told bad jokes that Statler, Waldorf, and all of their guests absolutely hate. Seeing the Muppets’ return to form almost makes you forget about all the misguided transgressions placed upon the Muppets by Disney over the past decade. It almost is.

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So, if you have yet to feast your eyes on the Muppets’ latest special, what the hell are you waiting for?

“Muppets Haunted Mansion”It is currently streaming on Disney+

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