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‘Muppets Now’ brings the old gang to a new setting on Disney+

‘Muppets Now’ brings the old gang to a new setting on Disney+

Every few years the Muppets seem to get a reboot whether needed or not, including a short-lived ABC revival in 2015 and “Muppet Babies” for Disney Jr. There are notable similarities between the former show and “Muppets Now,” which tries to light the lights (again) on Disney+, a venue where Kermit and company needn’t worry about low ratings tangling their strings.

After movies in 2011 and 2014, the Muppets hit primetime with what was presented as a backstage version of the gang, using a faux documentary approach a la “The Office.” “Muppets Now” plays off that idea, billing its six-episode run as “unscripted,” depicting the characters assembling videos for a new streaming series.

Get past that 21st-century conceit, however, and there’s not much difference between the new Muppets and the vintage 1970s ones, other than the identifiably new voices — with Matt Vogel replacing Steve Whitmire, who was fired, as Kermit the Frog — and the flesh-and-blood talent (Taye Diggs, Linda Cardellini and Danny Trejo among them) enlisted to join in the nonsense.

One advantage the Muppets have is that they’re such an institution, people seem to welcome the opportunity to drop by, as evidenced by the aforementioned celebrities, or Kermit’s frequently interrupted interview with RuPaul.

The episodes previewed feature several recurring bits, some stronger than others. There’s a cooking competition involving the Swedish Chef against actual chefs, ridiculous experiments with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker (accompanied by warnings from legal), and Miss Piggy’s regular “Lifestyle” segments. Of course, she’s constantly irritated that the graphics people keep leaving the “le” off the title, adding an appropriately porcine twist.

The broad physical gags cater to a family audience, with perhaps the weakest, drawn-out segment being a sort-of game show hosted by Pepe the King Prawn. (The closing credits including thank-yous to those who stayed quiet at home while the project was being made, a nod to production in the Covid-19 age.)

Basically, “Muppets Now” fits nicely in the filler bin of the streaming business model — the kind of show that would motivate relatively few people to subscribe, but given that it’s a recognizable commodity, you might watch if you’re getting Disney+ already.

Granted, that’s hardly a ringing endorsement, but on the bright side, it’s more enthusiastic than any review the gang would receive from Statler and Waldorf.

“Muppets Now” premieres July 31 on Disney+.

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Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s new video stuns fans with a surprise appearance by Kylie Jenner

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When the music video for Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s first collab dropped Friday, one revelation left fans stunned: Kylie Jenner.

The music video for “WAP” features the two rappers luxuriating in a huge, pastel-toned mansion — strutting down hallways and dancing with cheetahs.

About halfway in, the music stops and is replaced by the sound of clicking heels. The camera zooms in on the edge of a cheetah-print gown and slowly moves up. Anticipation is built. Then, it is revealed: Jenner, who says nothing in the video yet warrants a 25-second pause.

Many fans, it seems, were not exactly thrilled — so much so that a petition to remove Jenner from the video has already received more than 33,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

The description of the petition gets right to the point: “The video was perfect until we saw K and I wanted to throw my phone.”

On person took matters into her own hands, editing Jenner’s part out of the video and uploading it onto Twitter, where it has almost 300,000 views.

Jenner isn’t the only cameo in the “WAP” video. Artists like Normani, Mulatto, Sukihana and Rubi Rose are given cameos toward the end, in an effort to uplift fellow female musicians.

The problem many have with Jenner’s appearance is rooted in her history of what’s been coined as “blackfishing,” an attempt at mimicking the look and style of Black women. Just this year, Jenner posted a photo of herself on Twitter in a long, curly blonde wig with noticeably darker skin.

“When will your family be done cosplaying Black women?” one user bluntly asked.

Her appearance has become so denounced that Betty White began trending on Twitter in an effort to have White replace Jenner in the video.

But regardless of some fans’ opinion of Jenner, the video has been a hit, garnering 21 million views on YouTube in less than 24 hours.

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