From the beginning, Jim Henson's Muppets have placed a high premium on their own self-referential humor, bridging the gap between children's humor and the meta-narrative of a show-within-a-"Muppets Show."
Though the past two decades saw a decline in their public appearances (the forgettable "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" was their last feature film), in the past two years the variety stars have staged a comeback. There was the Muppet YouTube channel, launched in 2009, where the puppets gained back some of their lost cred with covers of "Bohemian Rhapsody," Internet commentary by original trolls Statler and Waldorf, and short sketches. There were unofficial appearances with LCD Soundsystem in "Dance Yrself Clean" and late night cameos.
Most heartening of all, there was news of "Freaks and Geeks" actor Jason Segel writing a new Muppet film, to be directed by "Flight of the Conchord's" James Bobin. As the cast list expanded to include every Apatow prodigy and alt-comedian out there, it became obvious that this was the film to revitalize the franchise and make Kermit cool again.
And this weekend, the wait was over. Here's the first trailer for "The Muppets," (disguised as a faux-trailer for a rom-com called "Green with Envy"). Don't worry, it's just as awesome as you'd hoped.
Wait, if Fozzie Bear can talk about the movie's budget, that means he knows he's just a character in a film, which begs some sort of metaphysical explanation that only Charlie Kaufman or God could answer. Or wait … they're the Muppets. They can do whatever the hell they want. They exist outside of time, space, and reality. Long live the Gonzo.