It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights, and after 25 years of entertaining generations of children and adults, it’s time to treat ‘the Muppet Show’ right. In 1976 Jim Henson and company began producing ‘the Muppet Show’, a weekly variety act starring Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and an ensemble cast of puppets alongside some of the biggest names in show business at the time. And though a four disc ‘best of ‘the Muppet Show’ DVD box set was released earlier this year, the twelve episodes featured leave the die hard Muppet fan like me, starving for more. This is why I’m adding a release of the complete series of ‘the Muppet Show’, with all of the 120 episodes that spanned five consecutive seasons to my ‘Waiting for DVD’ Wish List.
In the current best of box set, each of the 4 discs contain only 3 half hour episodes per disc, focusing on a particular type of entertainer. So while it’s great to see singers like Harry Belafonte and Elton John interact with the Muppet gang, it makes me long to see some of my personal favorite shows with folks like Alice Cooper, Johnny Cash, and Debbie Harry again.
When ‘the Muppet Show’s’ first season aired, Henson had to fill the celebrity guest star of the week slot by recruiting a number of his personal friends, but by the third season, the show’s cache value in Hollywood was so big it had no problem attracting talent from all ends of the entertainment spectrum. From international ballet stars like Rudolf Nureyev, and the cutting edge performance art troupe Mummenschanz, to country and western legends Dale Evans and Roy Rogers. They all stepped into the dysfunctional Muppet variety show reality and made the world laugh.
‘The Muppet Show’ was always more than a ‘kids show’ with intelligent and insightful scripts that maintained a heart of gold. The writing humorously poked fun at pop culture and modern day life with madcap mayhem that children of all ages could laugh out loud at and a sophisticated subtext that made adults smile wide.
Besides the weekly guest stars, ‘The Muppet Show’ featured regular skits that played on television staples and resulted in hilarious recurring bits like ‘Pigs in Space’, ‘Animal Hospital’ and of course the incoherent yet delectable Swedish Chef. And in between all of these, random moments of Muppet weirdness was pervasive with acts like Lew Zealand and his boomerang fish act, the bizarre stunts of Gonzo the Great, and the sadly funny shtick of Fozzie Bear.
Considering how many other television programs have complete seasons available, you would think compiling one of the most popular family shows ever made would be a no a brainer. Hoping the Henson family hears this plea and we don’t have to wait for the 30th ‘Muppet Show’ Anniversary to see this wish come true, for Movie Magazine, this is Purple.
© 2003 - Purple - Air Date: 12/30/03
The Muppet Show
USA / UK - 1976-1981