The Muppets Mayhem (2023): Season 1 – Review and Summary

The Muppets Mayhem is the wackiest and most inspired Muppets project in a near decade.


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Network Disney Plus
Created or Developed By Bill Barretta     Adam F. Goldberg    Jeff Yorkes
Based On Characters by Jim Henson
Executive Produced By Adam F. Goldberg, Bill Barretta, Michael Bostick, Kris Eber, David Lightbody, Leigh Slaughter
Genre(s) ComedyMusical
Noted Characters
Dr. Teeth Bill Barretta
Zoot Dave Goelz
Animal Eric Jacobson
Lips, Peter Linz
Janice David Rudman
Floyd Pepper Matt Vogel
Nora Singh Lilly Singh
Gary “Moog” Moogwski Tahj Mowry

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Summary

The Muppets are a pop culture staple. But who are they?

Most people know Kermit the Frog and Ms. Piggy but scratch their heads when naming other characters. Furthermore, the Muppets are a tricky audience to pinpoint. ABC released a “more adult” show called “The Muppets” about eight years ago, while Disney has catered the Muppets more towards children. Yet with both products receiving mixed results, it’s understandable to ask, “How relevant are the Muppets?”

The Muppets Mayhem answers that question with: who cares?

muppets mayhem 1
Lilly Singh and Tahj Mowry singing with the Electric Mayhem.

From the start of psychedelic credits and raucous chorus, you know you’re in for a wild and colorful adventure with “The Muppets Mayhem.” The series focuses on Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, the fictional yet funky band in the Muppet-verse known to rock n’ roll and have a good time. They’re not about the destination; they’re about the journey. By following lesser-known muppets like Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Zoot, Janice, Animal, and Lips, one might think Disney and Muppet producers are scraping the bottom of the barrel. But “The Muppets Mayhem” is the wackiest and most inspired Muppets project in a near decade.

The Muppets Mayhem follows a rookie music executive, Nora (played by Lilly Singh), as she attempts to get Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem to record their first album in their 50-year existence. The band is a caricature of 1960s and 1970s groups, so their free-spirited shenanigans are perfect for absurdist humor while satirizing the current music industry. The Electric Mayhem struggles with writer’s block, finding a producer, starting Twitter beefs, making a rock documentary, and hallucinating from expired marshmallows as they try to make their first album. Each episode presents a new obstacle, but with the help of Nora and a tremendous Electric Mayhem fan named Moog (played by Tahj Mowry), the Electric Mayhem might finish their album.

While “The Muppets Mayhem” has a slow start and struggles with balancing providing adult and children’s entertainment, the series provides plenty of heart, soul, and laughs.

Review


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Our Rating: Positive (Watch This)

muppets mayhem
Zoot, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Animal, Janice, and Lips in “The Muppets Mayhem”

Who Is This For?

Fans of past Muppet Series, comedy fans, music fans, and if you have a child who loves music or puppets – this is good entertainment for the whole family.

Notable Performances, Moments, or Episodes

  1. Lilly Singh and Tahj Mowry provide the human faces and exposition to the muppets. They start as rigid and predictable characters but quickly evolve and build their chemistry to become welcome members of the gang. The performance highlight is Bill Barretta as Dr. Teeth, who consistently finds new ways to amaze the audience with his verbose hippy verbiage. Janice also brings surprising depth and heart to the show as Nora’s roommate and empath.
  2. Episodes to Anticipate: 1.1. “Can You Picture That?,” 1.4 “The Times Are A-Changin,”  1.5 “Break on Through,” and 1.7 “Eight Days a Week.”
muppets mayhem 3
Lilly Singh, Tahj Mowry, and Anders Holm with the muppets in a music office.

Highlights

Great Grasp of Muppet Characters and Their Dynamic

Since “The Muppet Mayhem” was written and developed by Bill Barretta, one of the muppet performers, the series has clear love and direction for its characters. The Electric Mayhem muppets have largely been cameos in Muppet projects for the past three decades, but the show’s solid focus on the band’s individual character arcs and dynamics makes the series a joy. Some of the best sequences are the cold opening shots of the band just hanging out in their signature van.

Self-Referential and Subversive Humor 

Two episode highlights are “Break on Through” and “Eight Days a Week,” episodes that parody musicians’ drug trips and documentary drama. “The Muppet Mayhem” comments on its own relevancy, television tropes, and society at large. Moments when Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem learn more about pop culture (like using Twitter or recording a mumble rap song), demonstrate the series’ endless potential for comedy.

On The Fence

Uncertain Tone Makes a Slow Start

Since the Muppets are about 50 years old and are not relevant to today’s kids, it’s unclear who’s watching this show. The Disney series seems to be aware of that, too, spending long, often tedious explanations focused on humans sharing their love of the Muppets.

The show’s episodes are long, dimly lit without buoyant music, further making me question who this show is for. Kids might lose interest, and adults might think it’s for kids, but as the show continues, it becomes more confident in its writing and characters.

muppets mayhem

What I Hope to See

“The Muppets Mayhem” offers closure but also opens the door to more mayhem down the road. The episodes could use another edit with a shortened run time of 22-25 minutes vs. their average of 30 minutes. While the band and their van are colorful, the episodes could also benefit from brighter lighting and a catchy, animated score highlighting their hijinks.

muppets mayhem poster
The Muppets Mayhem (2023): Season 1 – Review and Summary
Overall
While The Muppets Mayhem has a slow start and still has trouble balancing adult and children's entertainment, the series provides plenty of heart, soul, and laughs. 
Highlights
Great Grasp of Muppet Characters and Their Dynamic
Confident Humor
Disputable
Unclear Tone Makes a Slow Start
80

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