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The Muppets return to television with NBC sitcom

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The ill-fated

This past weekend's episode of Saturday Night Live got me thinking about the last time the Muppets joined the SNL cast — the late '70s, when head writer Michael O'Donoghue refused to work on their sketches, declaring, "I won't write for felt."

Well, in an effort to further anger O'Donoghue's spirit, NBC and the Jim Henson Company are developing a sitcom centered around a Southern California family and their fuzzy, unblinking neighbors.

Since Disney bought The Muppets back in 2004, they've been eager to revamp the franchise — something they've had a degree of success with, given the new movie and its attendant media exposure (they've even gotten the Disney name above the film's title), but this isn't the first time the Muppets have attempted a comeback.

After the "success" of Muppet Treasure Island in 1996, ABC (recently purchased by Disney) began airing Muppets Tonight!, a sketch-comedy program promising to recreate the magic of the original. After two seasons of puns about animals (and the fact that the host looked like a catfish version of Glenn Plummer), the show was canceled. This was followed by Muppets From Space, a movie that attempted to explain Gonzo's origins through the art of celebrity cameos. By that point, the public was thoroughly sick of the Muppets and relegated them once again to teaching kids how to read, count, and properly eat cookies.

So for now, let's enjoy the fact that the Muppets haven't gotten irritatingly overexposed again yet. The only thing I ask from their new show is that there be a moment when another character questions why they're always standing behind sofas and countertops when company comes by.