The Muppet Show Season Two

Cover Art and Menu: 9/10
The cover has that nice felt thing going on just like season 1. It’s touchable, and it’s Miss Piggy. I’m glad they did something fun and cool to look at, not just some Hodge Podge of characters.

The menus are fun. There are characters on the stage who chit chat while they wait for you to pick an episode. Other than that the menus are pretty functional, not as much Muppet excitement as I would like to have seen.

Extras & Features: 4/10

  • The Muppets Valentine Special – I don’t think I watched this Valentine’s Day special when it was on TV originally. I was told it was quite an event. I have to disagree. Sadly, it’s boring and the Muppet cleverness is totally missing from start to finish. Mia Farrow is the guest star and she’s a bit too mushy soft and sweet for me. Call me a hard-ass, but I would like a bit more grit in my puppet loooove.
  • The Muppets On The Muppets – These are some very funny interviews with modern Muppets. Yes, the Muppets are being interviewed, but it’s not the old school voices. It’s all new, but still pretty fun.
  • Weezer & The Muppets Keep Fishin – It’s a video with some Muppet drama going on. The funniest part is, why the heck would Weezer do a video with the Muppets?

Introducing The Show: 9/10
Ladies and Gentlemen, Its The Muppet Show!

Its time to play the music
Its time to light the lights
Its time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.

Its time put on makeup
Its time to dress up right
Its time to raise the curtain on the Muppet Show tonight

But now its getting started
Why don’t you get things started?
Its time to get things started
On the most sensantional
This is what we call The Muppet Show!

(and then Gonzo blows up or something as he blows his little horn)

I couldn’t resist. You know the tune. I know the tune. You might even be singin’. It’s ok, admitting that you remember the song, Kermit’s voice, and that exciting moment once a week when the Muppets would hit the screen on your remote-less TV, is the first step to accepting how old you really are.

I can’t possibly review such a classic with any critical eye. Let’s be real people…IT’S THE MUPPETS! Criticizing The Muppets is like telling Grandma Helen her pie crust isn’t the best in the land. You didn’t know Grandma Helen, but it wouldn’t be a good thing, and you would be wrong. I’ll be safe and honorable and remind you of what The Muppets has to offer. Someone else can be snotty and rude and find fault. I’ll be that little blonde headed girl sitting so close to the TV I could effectively defend my position from any horrible older siblings who wanted to turn the knob to something old people like teenagers want to watch.

How could they not want to watch Milton Berle do his shtick with hand operated creatures? Or John Cleese giving a fabric frog a hard time? Who wouldn’t want to watch Miss Piggy get jealous of any living breathing human who might want to hook up with her Kermit? I didn’t even know who people like John Cleese or Milton Berle were at the time, and I was still hooked.

Here are a list of the guest stars for Season 2 and a little bit about their episodes, just so you know what you’re getting into (again):

  • Don Knott’s – I love Don Knott’s, always have. He was his expected awkward self. He is trying to be cool, but things don’t go very well for most of the show.
  • Zero Mostel – I didn’t know who this guy was then, and I still don’t. But there was still enough Muppet goodness to keep me entertained.
  • Milton Berle – If it weren’t for shows like The Muppets that show cased some of the classics of the era, kids like me would have never heard of or been exposed to the style of people like Berle. I attribute Jim Henson for giving me some cultural incite when Hee Haw didn’t do much to expand my horizons.
  • Rich Little – I had almost forgotten Rich Little. How awful is that? He was a huge comedy influence in the 70’s and early 80’s. I laughed and was just as impressed with his impressions as anyone else was. So, now when I watch I have to admit he wasn’t always THAT great, but hey, we were younger and less savvy back then.
  • Judy Collins – She sings “I Knew An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly…” which was quite classy and almost hypnotizing. I do think The Muppets celebrated so much of the theater style entertainers. Looking back now I actually wish we had more variety shows that did the same these days…..and no I don’t think “America’s Got Talent” fits that bill.
  • Nancy Walker – This is a funny woman. She’s got that sarcastic rough side and I remember her as Rhoda’s mother with her snide comments and hard nosed attitude. She’s really funny and fits right into the strange surreal world of the Muppets.
  • Edgar Bergen – A ventriloquist on a show with puppets. So, you get a frog puppet talking to a wooden puppet, one puppeteer out of site, one right there in plain site, and still I’m convinced these are living breathing creatures talking to each other. I feel so brainwashed.
  • Steve Martin – He does his thing with the routines he was famous for at the time. Lots of goof, lots of strange
  • Madeline Kahn– I have always liked Madeline Kahn, and now I know why. She was a lot of fun with the little dudes. She’s a real comedy classic. She’s goofy and silly and sweet.
  • George Burns – He’s George Burns. I have a strong feeling that he was pretty clear in his contract before going on the show..”I will not act foolish. I will only do the same jokes, the same routine I always do and it will be funny because I’m George Burns.” It is fun, but I can only wonder what was going through his mind doing a show with puppets.
  • Dom Deluise – He’s a total ham. Deluise is perfect for any theater related entertainment. He goes with each routine with the same enthusiasm and a bit of desperation. But then again, that’s how I always have thought about his style.
  • Bernadette Peters – This is darling of Broadway. She’s a stage chick so she eats up all the drama and comedy with great gusto. I like her in the show, but I can’t help think of her saying, “I don’t care about the money, I don’t wanna lose all the stuuuff.” from The Jerk. What can I say.
  • Rudolf Nureyev – Why did I have this strange feeling that this classical dancer was booking any American entertainment venture to keep himself in the public eye? I know times have changed but this is a dude who defected from the Soviet Union and it took them over 20 years to “approve” a visit with his mother who was, by then, dying of cancer. But back then I get the feeling his leaving his country was a big deal. Oh, and the show is good too, he does his best to be more silly than one would expect, so it’s not as boring as I thought it was gonna be when he was introduced the first time I watched it so long ago.
  • Elton John– Oh, Elton. I have loved you for soooo long and there you are in your lovely costumes singing your amazing songs. Yes, I’m biased. I have to say that as an aging person I know see the promotional value of the Muppets for the entertainers of the day. Elton John, along with most of the guest stars, simply does what he was noticed for at that time in order to get even more notoriety, kind of like an old fashioned 30 minute infomercial for each guest star, but with puppets.
  • Lou Rawls – This guy is just cool. What is he doing on the Muppets? I imagine he might have dug the cool cats, and frogs, and pigs. He does a few numbers in his groovy jazzy style, but with some comedy tossed in for good measure.
  • Cleo Laine – I didn’t know who she was then, and I still do not. Sorry to say, but she wasn’t one of my favorites. I love British people, (thus the husband from Manchester, UK) but she’s not very interesting. There’s still a lot going on in the show to keep things rolling.
  • Julie Andrews – She sings. I think I remember even being a bit blah about her back in the day. I’m still not a big fan, but it was funny to watch the Muppets try to deal with a real live stray cow on the set.
  • Jaye P. Morgan – Ms. Morgan is being ornery. She doesn’t want her night on the show to be cute and sweet, so she keeps blowing stuff up:)
  • Peter Sellers – The Pink Panther original, oh yes. Just like so many others, they capitalize on the persona that Sellers had established at the time. He does a lot of slap stick stuff, and he does a great job of meshing with the cloth animals and beings that live in Muppetland. Some people just fit better in that world than others.
  • Petula Clark – Another Brit, but a very cool one. She’s classy and plays along with every skit and song with great energy and fun. I don’t remember knowing who she was when I was a girl. Being in the Mid West of America I guess I was a bit sheltered from the international crowd:)
  • Bob Hope – He’s Bob Hope! What more do you want? The theme of the show was that Hope had so many other engagements he barely had time for the show. I guess that was part of the Muppet Show charm. They poke fun at the stars and their fame. He does a number or two and sticks to his dry comments and pro showman style.
  • Teresa Brewer – Singin’ with a bit of a yodel influence and a very down home persona, Brewer is one of those people I still have no clue about. She was charming enough, played along with the skits and was pretty cute. Other than that it wasn’t one of my favorite episodes…sorry Teresa.
  • John Cleese – As a rising star Cleese takes on the role of the spoiled difficult guest star trapped in a show where he tries to refuse performing with pigs and monsters. So, you can imagine he’s quite funny as the anti-hero. How can Cleese NOT be funny? Enough said.
  • Cloris Leachman – I think this is my favorite episode of the season. I love Cloris Leachman, so I’m slanted in my view. She’s one funny woman. I love how some people seem to really really get into the whole Muppet world thing, and she’s one of those people.

So, that’s it for the guest stars. They are an important component of the show, of course. However, the themes that run through the season, the repeated skits and character development is also something to notice while you are watching show after show after show. I never caught all the linked references when I watched as a youngster, so it gives me a whole new appreciation of the series now that I know more stuff, a little bit more.

Some of my favorite skits are At The Dance, Pigs in Space, Muppet Labs, and the many dramas that were going on with Kermit as the producer of the show each night. For example, once he is told by the owners of the theater to make things more exciting and hire lady wrestlers. He also had to keep Miss Piggy at bay, get the guest stars on stage despite their many hazardous obstacles. Once they even had to run two skits as one, At The Dance and Veterinarian’s Hospital, which was pretty funny.

The show, on the whole, offers up a lot of cool music, great fun, many laughs (even if you don’t want to admit it) and a look back in time at some famous people we have grown up with.

I spent two days watching every episode on this 4 disc set, and now I’m looking forward to Season 3…bring it on!!!

Value: 7/10
For 24 episodes of an excellent blast from the past and a great show all around, it’s almost worth the 30 bucks you will probably find it for right now. If you wait a while you might get lucky and find the price dropping down. Since there are so few extras I hesitate to claim this is a great deal. For the show itself, it is worth having on the shelf for someone like me who likes to look back at the good old days of TV every once in a while (this from a woman who is watching every episode of M*A*S*H on DVD currently).

If you want your kids to watch it, rent it and move on. They will very likely not be as interested as you are, or were when you were a kid.

Overall Score 8/10