Relax, Dummies, No One’s Cancelling ‘The Muppet Show’

Donald Trump Jr. is very concerned about Muppets. The twice-impeached thug's first failed attempt at reproduction tweeted his concerns last week.


Apparently The Muppets have now been canceled. There's nothing these psychos won't destroy. Liberalism is a disease.

The Muppets aren't canceled. The Muppet Show is even streaming now on Disney+. My family and I watched the Joel Grey and Lena Horne episodes last night. Trump Jr. repeated his cancellation lie at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where people willingly listened to him approximate human speech.

Trump Jr. declared that the villainous “they," which I guess is you and me, sitting at home in our all-powerful pajamas, “banned the Muppets." Disney+ is lousy with Muppet content, and even if you couldn't stream the 1970s variety show or the movies (my favorite is obviously the one with Diana Rigg), that's not cancellation. The Alf cartoon from the 1980s isn't available for streaming. Life is hard.

Fox News listed the Muppets, along with Gone with the Wind, as one of many "recent targets of cancel culture."

Gone with the Wind is 82 years old and takes 90 years to watch in its entirety. How many movies from 1939 are regularly viewed by modern audiences? The anti-cancel culture warriors presume that the majority of audiences want to see offensive, dated content.They can't imagine that there's an actual business decision involved in not showing that one weird episode of Leave it to Beaver where they all wear blackface and chase a gay couple out of the neighborhood. (*There is no such episode — although I haven't watched the show recently.)

When I was a kid, syndication packages used to omit the black-and-white seasons of otherwise popular 1960s sitcoms. They believed modern audiences weren't interested in colorless content. Nick at Nite would later air these “lost" seasons of shows such as Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, but they promoted themselves as a “classic TV" destination. Trump Jr. could set up his own streaming service that exclusively offers offensive content. The only episode of The Fugitive available on the Trump Jr. channel would be the anti-abortion one.

The Muppets aren't “banned," of course. Disney+ has simply added content warnings to select episodes of The Muppet Show.

The New York Post reports because there is no other news:

Even the Muppets are "offensive" these days.

Anyone who streams "The Muppet Show" on Disney+ will see a declaimer first — warning of "offensive content."

[ ... ]

The disclaimer shown prior to each episode warns viewers that the show features "stereotypes" and "mistreatment of people or cultures."

"This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now," the disclaimer states.

The content warnings appear before just 18 out of 120 episodes. They last for all of 12 seconds. The reasons vary, but one episode features Johnny Cash singing in front of a Confederate flag. In those days, the flag had been perversely twisted into a symbol of cool rebellion instead of white supremacy. Hell, even I wanted a General Lee toy car when I was 8.

Other episodes lean into insulting depictions of Native American people, Arabs, and traveler communities. But note, these episodes are still available to watch. One episode is missing because of music rights issues, and another because the guest, Chris Langham, is a convicted sex offender. The Trump Jr. Negative streaming service can offer all the sex offender content it wants. Binge-watch The Cosby Show and Fat Albert (which is also culturally problematic) while sticking it to the libs.

The content warnings for these Muppet Show episodes acknowledge their “harmful impact" but hope they'll “spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together." This is well-intentioned, but it's not clear how many (white) families sitting down to watch TV want to explain racism to their kids ... or even admit it exists.

White Santa truther Megyn Kelly complained on Bill Maher's show this week that she had to pull her kids from their fancy New York private school because it was teaching them about racism, which was way too much “social justice" for her. Maher claimed that other rich white people had whined to him about this “problem."

Maher and chimed in that these are the kinds of thing that he's heard from parents, who say, "My kids are not ready to be told they're white supremacists. I'm not ready to be told that."

It seems conservatives are the ones easily triggered.

[Maher] then read from a letter from a school that said things like "there's a killer cop sitting at every school where white children learn," "I'm tired of white people reveling in their state-sanctioned depravity and snuffing out black life with no consequences" and "as black bodies drop like flies around us by white hands … ." Maher said, "It bothers me so much that I have to be on this side of this issue because I've always been a civil rights advocate. Don't make me Tucker Carlson. You're the f*cking nuts — this is insane."

I don't think anyone has to try that hard to make Maher sound like Tucker Carlson. At least Carlson doesn't pretend that he's “always been a civil rights advocate." Conservatives yank their kids out of school when exposed to opinions that upset their world view. That defines “cancel culture" more than content warnings before The Muppet Show episodes.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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