Filled with nostalgia and a rocking soundtrack, The Muppets Mayhem is for all the Gen Xers, Boomers, and Gen Zers who have really cool Gen X parents.

I am a proud Gen Xer who was raised on classic rock by a pretty cool Boomer dad. I’ve loved The Muppets (and especially The Electric Mayhem) since I was a little kid, so The Muppets Mayhem was a psychedelic trip down memory lane. That’s not to say younger people won’t enjoy the show, but if you don’t have a deep love of classic rock and 80s music, you’ll be missing out on a lot of what makes this show so great – the music, the band references, the cameos, the rock culture of the 60s and 70s. There’s also a strong message of the destructive nature of social media and the lack of human connection that the young generation often struggles with. This is all tied together by the comedic earnestness of Lilly Singh and Tahj Mowry.

Zoot, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Animal, Janice and Lips in The Muppets Mayhem on Disney+

Dr. Teeth (Bill Barretta), Lips (Peter Linz), Animal (Eric Jacobson), Floyd Pepper (Matt Vogel), Janice (David Rudman) and Zoot (Dave Goelz) are all back and groovier than ever. They’ve been traveling the country on a never-ending tour for the past 30 years, creating a devoted fanbase. They are thrown into the modern world of music when approached by a junior music executive Nora (Lilly Singh) who is determined to help them record their first album (something the record label paid them to do 30 years ago and they never did). She enlists the help of Mayhem superfan and music engineer Gary “Moog” Moogwski (Tahj Mowry).

This kicks off the journey, where the band tries to find their place in the modern world. As Nora says at one point, “Rock it’s just oldies. We need to connect to the 12-24 demo. Find a new sound.” This leads to a slew of cameos, as the Mayhem tries different collaborations to try and find that new sound. And therein lies the overall message of the show – how much are you willing to change and yet still be true to yourself and your art?

Lilly Singh, Janice and Saara Chaudry in The Muppets Mayhem on Disney+

Modern Life Vs. Analog Life In The Muppets Mayhem

As Nora tries to get the band to engage with a modern audience, they receive their first cell phones and are introduced to the world of the internet and social media – literally moving from an analog life to a digital one. With the help of Nora’s influencer sister Hannah (Saara Chaudry), they all start developing their online presence. And of course, the very first thing they do is accidentally start a Twitter war with some big-name musicians, which quickly becomes very real. They eventually all fall down the rabbit holes of TicTok, Instagram, and YouTube, becoming social media celebrities.

But this individual celebrity puts a strain on the band, and they decide to go their separate ways. This move from analog to digital also causes a fracture between Nora and Moog, as he feels this goes against everything the band stands for. Despite being the person who knows the band the best, he is constantly being shut down. Singh and Mowry are a fantastic pairing. They bring a grounded humor to the show that fits in perfectly.

Throughout all this, we learn that Nora comes from a broken family, and after briefly being estranged from Hannah, refuses to let another family fall apart. She is determined to get the band back together (not sure if the Blues Brothers reference was intentional, but it was in my mind) and make their dream of performing at the Hollywood Bowl a reality. There are some incredibly tender moments between Nora and Hannah, and the sisterly chemistry of Singh and Chaudry is palpable.

Floyd Pepper, Animal, Dr. Teeth, Zoot, Lilly Singh, Lips, Tahj Mowry and Janice in The Muppets Mayhem on Disney+

Peppered throughout the band’s journey are numerous flashback scenes that illustrate how the band came to be. These were a nice addition to what could have been just a straightforward story of discovery. For it is in examining the past that we can help find our journey forward. Each band member struggled to throw off the shackles of conformity and societal pressures in order to follow their dreams. Dr. Teeth and Floyd Pepper in particular have an incredibly touching backstory. For those longtime Muppet lovers, it was nice to see the band member’s backstories flushed out.

I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that the band does in fact get back together. With the help of Nora, Moogy, Hannah, and Animal, they are able to disconnect the Mayhem from their digital lives, remind them of the reasons they became a band in the first place and accept that they don’t need to change their sound for anyone, their music is perfect just the way it is.

This is an example of a show that is able to expertly weave all the elements together perfectly. The acting is fantastic, a mixture of comedy and grounded humanity by both the puppets and the humans. In a world dominated by VFX, there is something incredibly comforting in watching palpable puppets rather than CGI. And of course, the music is fantastic.

Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Animal, Zoot and Lips in The Muppets Mayhem on Disney+

While I think anyone can enjoy the show, I think it will resonate most with Gen Xers. The journey the band takes could be seen as a parallel reflection of the one many Gen Xers have taken. As the often-forgotten generation, many of us grew up with a passion for rock music, reveling in the raw unfiltered sound that predated auto-tune, sampling, or excessive mixing. Like our hippie parents before us, we were often rebels and outcasts. We created families that weren’t necessarily the ones we were born into. We bridged the gap between the analogue world and the digital one and often struggle to remain true to ourselves while adapting to a new zeitgeist.

As someone who watched Wayne’s World on repeat with my dad, I can only hope that The Muppets Mayhem will do for classic rock today what that movie did for it in the 90s. I have hope. That 12-24 demographic seems to be steeped in nostalgia these days (have you seen the cost of a Polaroid Camera?) As Marky Ramone, drummer for the first true punk rock group, The Ramones, said, “In the end, it’s the music that matters.”

The Muppets Mayhem drops all 10 episodes on May 10th on Disney+.

For more Reviews, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.

Keep Reading: