The Muppets Study (October 2015)

An examination of iconic children’s characters delivering adult-themed content

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The Parents Television Council’s Research Department conducted a scene-by-scene analysis of the first four episodes of The Muppets, a half-hour series that debuted on September 22, 2015. The focus of PTC’s examination was on adult-themed content and messaging.

The Muppets have always maintained a subtle sense of humor intended to appeal to older viewers. Today, as part of the Disney brand, their outreach to an older audience has taken on new meaning. In a recent New York Times article (September 7, 2015) Executive Producer Bob Kushell acknowledged that despite attempts to reach an older audience, "Rightfully or wrongfully, The Muppets became more of a kids' product over the years.” Speaking of the 2015 version of The Muppets, Kushell continues, “Everyone in this version of The Muppets wants to push them further in a way they've never been before."

While the producers of The Muppets program may want to “push” the content in an adult-themed direction, the reality is that children across America reasonably – and understandably – believe that the program is still for them. After airing only four episodes, despite Disney’s attempt to redefine these beloved iconic characters, Nielsen data reveals that every week over one million children are watching. This study seeks to examine the adult-themed images and references those children are experiencing.

- Click here for Full Study for Major Findings and Content Descriptions

- Read Press Release


Video Clips

- Showing sexual references and innuendos

- Showing bars, drunken behavior and hangovers