I must admit, I always considered the depiction of Gonzo to be highly offensive to... whatever Gonzo is.
Here is the description of the show that greets you in the "Details" tab, and also on the splash page when you pull the show up on Disney+.
Sounds like good old-fashioned clean family fun!
And here's the Content Advisory also included in the "Details" tab.
Oh, my, that does not sound at all good. It doesn't even sound like the same show.
Keep in mind, these two statements are literally on the same page.
Call me cynical, but I'm not 100% sure they're sincere.
Let's juxtapose these even more directly:
The Muppet Show
It's time to raise the curtain on The Muppet Show!
This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.
It's time to raise the curtain... on negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures!
Free with your subscription to Disney+!
The Muppet Show
Join Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, the Swedish Chef and more in this groundbreaking twist on the classic variety show, blending original songs, sketch comedy and guest stars into a prime-time hit for all ages!
These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.
These stereotypes were profitable then, and are profitable now!
But it's okay because we feel badly about it.
Prepay the year for additional savings!
The Muppet Show
Come discover for yourself the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational pleasures of the The Muppet Show!
Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.
Come discover for yourself the most acknowledgational, harmfulational, conversational, inclusivational pleasures of The Muppet Show!
But, we don't want to overdo it with the conversational thing, otherwise we never would have fired Gina Carano.
Only certain episodes had content objectionable enough to warrant the warning appearing before you can watch them.
The 12-second disclaimer was added before a total of 18 episodes throughout the series' five-season run. The most obvious of offenses include an entry with country star Johnny Cash performing in front of a Confederate flag, in addition to various negative depictions of Native Americans and Middle Eastern people in songs and sketches.
As someone with a sizable chunk of Arab in him I have only one question for Disney:
Was it funny?
Quite a few performances were also axed apparently due to music rights issues. A Reddit thread details those.
Two episodes were axed in their entirety. One hosted by Brooke Shields appears to have been another victim of music rights issues, but the other one hosted by Chris Langham reportedly had a different problem.
The former comedian was probably removed due to being found guilty of being in possession of child pornography in 2007. However, Disney declined to comment on that.
I guess this is fortunate in a way. Had this been Netflix and not Disney, they would remade the episode into a feature-length movie.
What about the objectionable content itself?
It wasn't until the third episode in the first season that I came upon a content warning. I skimmed the episode quickly, eagle eyes on the lookout for something that would enrage me.
Here's what I got.
A short piece where a women sings a song called "Indian Love Call" at which point an American Indian Muppet appears and says, "Hey, baby, you called?"
The second was a joke,
"My doctor says I'm getting the Asian flu"
"What did he say to do?"
"He says take two fortune cookies and call me in the morning."
I may not laugh at your lame jokes, but I will defend to the death your right to tell them.
I think Kyle Smith had it right. At some point, it just becomes background noise. Everything is racist, everything causes cancer, and everything is offensive.
And when everything is offensive, nothing is.