The New Muppets Show on Disney+ Is an Absolute Delight

You'll legitimately laugh out loud.

muppets now

I clicked play on the first episode of Muppets Now, the new Muppets series on Disney+, with a mix of excitement and a little trepidation. I've found most of the recent attempts to modernize Jim Henson's fuzzy puppets to be lackluster, despite having a weird soft spot for Muppets Most Wanted. (The less said about the meta 2015-16 ABC revival sitcom The Muppets the better.) It's a gloomy, overcast day here in New York, but darn if Muppets Now didn't brighten my mood.

The concept behind Muppets Now brings Kermit and the gang back to their variety show roots. It has high production values, certainly, but the bits are (apparently) rooted in improv. Each episode could easily be broken up into a series of YouTube clips. They also had me legitimately laughing out loud.

The premiere opens up with a sketch starring Miss Piggy -- of course, our porcine queen needs to be front and center -- that's framed as a "vlog" called "Lifesty(le) with Miss Piggy," where she tests out beauty treatments with Taye Diggs and interviews the likes of Linda Cardellini and Janice. Underrated Muppet Uncle Deadly serves as her assistant.

I chuckled at Kermit's pronunciation of "photobomb," though you'll have to watch to hear it yourself, and was delighted as the pig Howard peppered RuPaul with questions. But the segment that really had me losing it was "Okey Dokey Kookin" hosted by Beverly Plume and featuring none other than the Swedish Chef. Your mileage may vary on how hilarious you find the Swedish Chef, but I can't get enough of his mumbles. He and chef Carlina Will go head to head. She makes a gorgeous chicken curry dish. He makes mush. It's glorious.

Sure, Muppets Now does have the glossy sheen of the kind of corporate product you would expect from Disney+, but it also doesn't skimp on that anarchic Muppet spirit. It's a joy delivery service.

Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.

Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.