ABC’s “The Muppets TV Show” is a betrayal of Jim Henson’s tender, optimistic vision — a pointless prostitution of a children’s entertainment franchise.

Tuesday’s premiere was a half-hour of tough-to-watch anthropomorphized drama dominated by the puppets’ troubled love lives, choked with “jokes” for adults that all turned on bathing Henson’s sweet and innocent creations in the tropes of our cynical age.

The show — done documentary-style, like “The Office” — focuses almost exclusively on the complex (and “realistic”) relationship storylines of the characters, Miss Piggy, Kermit and Fozzie Bear.

From jokes about Miss Piggy’s bikini waxes to gags on boob jobs, tummy tucks and butt lifts, the humor (such as it is) comes out of late-night comedy-club routines.

In the premiere, viewers got to witness a sad Kermit-Miss Piggy breakup scene. It wasn’t screwball hilarity involving a series of mishaps, but heartbreakingly real and anti-climactic, with Kermit simply mumbling confirmation that the split had just happened to a shocked Miss Piggy.

That’s not funny! That’s almost exactly how humans break up. Wait . . . are puppets really even supposed to break up, or engage in realistic relationships?

Kermit’s new love interest is Denise — the office flirt, and another pig. Indeed, Kermit confesses to the camera his attraction to pigs.

That’s not the end of the interspecies relationships: We also get an awkward discussion about the possibility of Fozzie and his human girlfriend having children (gross!). Is this the show’s blundering way of tackling the no-longer-taboo issue of interracial relationships, or just an “adult” way to mock decades of material meant for kids?

The utter dearth of kid-appropriate material is clearly intentional. As one of the show’s puppeteers suggested in the media last month, the show is “a little edgy.” Because that’s what The Muppets needed: an edge.

What’s next? Kermit deals with drug addiction, AIDS, gender reassignment surgery? Perhaps Miss Piggy (or Kermit’s new girlfriend) should deal with infertility. Or let’s all have a laugh riot while one of them visits an abortion clinic.

Perhaps some revamp of the franchise was necessary to keep the Muppets popular and relevant to today’s culture. But it didn’t have to be this: From the “Toy Story” films to “Up” and “The Lego Movie,” Hollywood has shown it can make children’s material work for adults, too.

What’s the point of the flat jokes that men (or other male bears) keep responding to Fozzie Bear’s online dating profile? Of having Kermit’s new girl say seductively, “Tell Denise what you want”?

Some will argue that kids (mistakenly) allowed to tune in won’t get all the adult humor — or the references to marriage regret and the very grown-up conversations about how relationships don’t always work out and very often leave people with deep disappointment.

Maybe the TV executive figured that adding adult humor would let the franchise capture a wider audience without doing any real harm.

But children do pick up on the innuendo, dirty jokes and adult humor. At the least, they ask questions — making it very uncomfortable for parents who didn’t expect a night watching “The Muppets” to prompt discussion of divorce, infidelity, the hook-up culture, Hollywood’s preoccupation with plastic surgery and other issues usually reserved for adults.

It isn’t just parents who crave innocent content for their kids; adults crave innocent themes and entertainment as well.

And when it comes to classics like The Muppets, the right course is to protect what’s best about the gifts left us by creators universally described as gentle, kind and sweet — not to taint them by plundering their charm.

Julie Gunlock is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.