The Muppet Show Season One

Cover Art and Menu: 10/10
Close your eyes, give the cover a rub, and you will be convinced that Kermit is alive and well and in your living room. That’s right folks, they have given us a lovely felt covered DVD box which is a groovy detail for anyone with sentimental memories of the Muppets. The fold out box that holds all the discs looks great with each disc featuring a different Muppet favorite character. The menus are fairly colorful, and do feature Statler and Waldorf (the old men from the balcony), but other than that are pretty basic.

Extras & Features: 7/10

  • The Original Muppet Show Pilot – The very first full episode of what would become a 70’s TV favorite. You get to see original versions of Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy and the rest. When you watch the Pop Ups along with the episode you learn a lot about the evolution of each character and skit.
  • Muppet Morsels Pop Ups – While the show is, of course, entertaining, after all these years the semi-stale jokes are brought back to life with all the information they dish out with the text details throughout each episode. This ain’t Pop Up Video, so don’t look for flashy pro looking text or graphics. These titles are functional, not pretty to look at, strictly informational.
  • Season One Gag Reel – It’s funny enough to see real people screwing up their lines, but when it’s a puppet, I mean come on! The Muppet Show was on a tight schedule and these people worked soooo hard at getting their skits just right, it’s no wonder they had moments of distraction and the normal screw ups that any performers would have.

The Show: 8/10:
I remember it like it was yesterday. Every Saturday evening at 6:30 it hit the TV and anyone who reached for the channel knob (yes knob) was bound to get some kind of bodily harm. I was gonna watch those Muppets no matter how much my teenage siblings whined about it. The theme song was enough to send me into a different world. I sat so close to that old console TV I’m sure I did some kind of damage to my young retinas. But it was worth it. I laughed at the old vaudeville jokes, even though I’m sure I didn’t get them half of the time.

So, was it good because I was a wide-eyed kid with nothing better to compare it to except for Saturday morning cartoons like Scooby-Doo and Wacky Races? I mean, those are timeless classics that you never grow out of….well, mostly. I would say the thing about The Muppets is the nostalgia effect is quite strong. In some cases that can overpower anything, included outdated jokes, long gone “stars” no longer identifiable to the general public, and what some might consider the low tech art of puppetry.

I for one think The Muppet Show stands the test of time. It may not make you like the way you did when you were a kid, but it will make you smile for a lot more reasons.

I never noticed when I was a kid, but now when I watch the entire first season from start to finish I see Miss Piggy evolve into a character to be reckoned with. I appreciate that now, after so many years of being a fan of the entertainment world. These days you don’t get to see that kind of work in progress on TV. Now days you just see characters from episode 1 thru the end of a series who are pretty much the same week after week. Characters on The Muppets were all a work in progress from the looks of it in their first season.

Fozzy Bear’s voice changes many times. Miss Piggy is often played by different people, including Frank Oz and his partner in crime Richard Hunt. Kermit’s standard serial skits change slightly from time to time showing that the creative team behind the show were always trying new things to make it better.

The guest stars are a bit of a mystery to me now that I’m an adult. I mean, what kid wanted to see Joel Grey sing with the Muppets? I’m sure I had no idea who he even was at the time, but I bet I watched just the same. With people like Vincent Price and Florence Henderson I can see why kids might tune in, but several of the guest stars were clearly favorites of Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and the rest of the grown up minds behind the show.

Speaking of Vincent Price, his was the first ‘themed’ episode they did, which of course consisted of an all monster, spook, ghost, and vampire skits. They might not always have been original with their material, but for whatever The Muppets lacked, they make up for with a million times more good memories which is worth it for me.

I’m not convinced a kid of today would find it as entertaining as I did back then, but I’m guessing, even without CGI, special effects, or modern day stars, there are a few who might just get hooked if you let them watch from episode one through the whole series. It’s good wholesome fun, which I usually don’t care much for to be honest, but in this case I’ll make an exception. The radio active waves from that old TV must have had some long term effects. 🙂

As an adult I can full appreciate that Jim Henson had a true love for the art of puppetry. It drove him to become one of the iconographic figures in the history of Hollywood and television. Aside from that little achievement, his passion gave those of us lucky enough to be kids in the 70’s an amazing collection of Saturday night memories that I, for one, am thrilled to get a chance to relive.

Value: 7/10
I can’t even say I care how much this little gem costs, but for the sake of informing the public, you can find it for between $25-$35 online. That’s a good deal for a whole season of one of the most beloved shows of all time. It could use more extras, but I can only hope they have more planned for future season DVD releases.

Overall Score 8/10