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General Discussion => Television aka TV discussion => Topic started by: Darth Geek on July 31, 2014, 06:35:33 PM

Title: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on July 31, 2014, 06:35:33 PM
Since I am going through watching The Muppet Show from beginning to end, I thought I would start a thread devoted to it and my thoughts on it as I go.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on July 31, 2014, 06:45:22 PM
Episode 1: Juliet Prowse

Watching the first episode it is amazing how fully fleshed out it feels. This feels like a typical episode later in the series, both in characterization and tone.

First appearance of Piggy (and it's already implied Kermit has a relationship with her) in the Muppet Glee club skit. And her crowding the spotlight personality is already present.

Fast forwarded through the dancing number with Juliet Prowse. Aside from a talking session with Kermit they don't give her anything else to do. I always liked it when they let the guest star do something outside their wheelhouse, that the audience doesn't suspect.

It's a shame they discontinued the practice of giving a muppet version of the guest to them. I like it.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on July 31, 2014, 06:46:00 PM
I made a mistake and should have watched the Sex and Violence pilot first.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on July 31, 2014, 07:45:54 PM
Pilot episode: Sex and Violence

  This wasn't quite as painful as I remember it being from when I watched it last (8 years ago), but it's not good. There are only a few characters that feel like what we are used to. Crazy Harry and Sam Eagle most notably.
  The main difference would seem to be Nigel as the host, who doesn't have nearly the magnetic presence and character necessary to center and ground a show like this. And while he is an issue, I think there are other things that really hinder it much more. Firstly being that it's not funny (only a very few things get even a chuckle). Also, the editing is faster, not letting skits go very long to even get a chance to go anywhere, if they could have. There is no real "connection" between the behind the scenes bits with Nigel and Sam and the rest of the show. They talk abut it, but don't seem to be putting on a show, nor do we feel that there really is a stage near them where the other bits are being performed.
  The last major difference is the lack of guest star. In my opinion, the guest star on the Muppet Show was never the reason to watch it. They varied a lot, whether you were interested in them or not, and if the show gave them anything interesting to do. It did however give the episode of The Muppet Show something to focus around, which narratively helps.
  This show doesn't really feel like the germ of the idea for the Muppet Show. It feels like a remake made later by less funny people who don't "get" the Muppet Show. An odd thing to be sure. Which just makes me wonder how long it was between the making of this pilot and the first episode of the Muppet Show we are used to.

The Swedish Chef is here, but he's just sounds like someone saying words backwards or something. He's also just making a sandwich, nothing interesting.

Did they ever redo the "seven deadly sins" idea later? It's a neat idea, just doesn't really pay off (as with much of this episode)

The Electric Mayhem! Yes! Now here we go, some Muppet Show goodness. They are great here, even though the song seems like it doesn't let them cut loose like they would later.

It's interesting to see the Statler and Waldorf bit here with them not in the theater but just in some rich house somewhere. Obviously having them at the theater is better, letting them interact with the show (especially Fozzy). But it's interesting in how similar it is to what they did on Muppets Tonight. Although I think that worked better in that show than here.

The birds sketch is a wierd one. When it started I thought their different sayings would be used to form the parts of a song (especially given Floyd's involvment), which would be something they would do in the regular show. But it doesn't, it just meanders. And isn't funny. Nor is it clever like it clearly thinks it is.

Ironically the only violent part of Sex and Violence (there is no sex) still feels like it could have been on Sesame Street.

The Vanity deadly sin puppet looks a LOT like the talking clock in Beauty and the Beast.

Even their Planet of the Apes parody is oddly humorless. Although between the Heston character and George Washington on the Mount Rushmore, it's nice to hear the Link Hogthrob voice. Although it just goes to show how much it needs the pomposity of Link's character to really sell it.

The choice to zoom out to show the puppeteers during the end credits is a really interesting one. I don't think it would have kept it's novelty if they had done it for every episode, but I really like it here.



Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on July 31, 2014, 08:42:39 PM
Episode 2: Connie Stevens

Lidia the Tattoed Lady! I always really liked this song. I forgot it was so early in the show's run.

And see THIS is why I hate Miss Piggy! Aside from the Muppet Glee Club bit in the last episode, the first thing we see her do in the whole show is hit the extremely likeable Kermit. Over nothing! We the audience have no choice but to take his side in this issue. Had they already established more about their relationship, and especially if Kermit hasd actually done something to justify her jealosy (not that that would have justified hitting him), then it would be at least a little different. A shame too, because I kind of want to like her just because I like to support strong assertive women. But no, she's just a bitch.

Woohoo! Swedish Chef! He's always been my favorite of the "minor Muppets". The ones we don't see all the time.
"Major Muppets" are the ones in every episode and have more developed characters: Kermit, Fozzie (my absolute favorite), Miss Piggy, Gonzo, etc.


At least they gave Connie Stevens a little something extra interesting t do backstage with Kermit. I still fast forwarded through her song, though.

I love Ernie and Bert. It is cool to see them here, and their bit is funny. I also get why they had them as guests, given the success of Sesame Street. But it really doesn't help to have them right after Kermit and Fozzie, where the fact their voices are EXACTLY the same is painfully evident.

Holy shit Connie Stevens has some major cleavage in that last shot!
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on July 31, 2014, 09:11:31 PM
Episode 3: Joel Grey

I've never heard of Joel Grey outside of this episode, but I enjoy him here. It also helps that I really love the Cabaret song he sings.

The first time we've seen the theater audience. It's a neat idea. But it never seemed like they did it consistantly enough.

Only the third episode and we already have even more of an emphasis on Fozzy! I do prefer Fozzy's look after they changed him for the second season, though.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 01, 2014, 06:52:07 AM
Does anybody know if there is any interviews or makeing of type documentaries on the creation of the Muppet Show? I've seen a lot of them, but are there any more recent ones?
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 01, 2014, 05:11:36 PM
Other people can comment in here and talk about The Muppet Show, it's not just for me.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Quirk on August 01, 2014, 06:10:53 PM
I started watching on Youtube. I don't think it's a good binge watch, though. Still, it's neat to see these characters in their original context, as I've only seen movies.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 01, 2014, 06:19:52 PM
I started watching on Youtube. I don't think it's a good binge watch, though. Still, it's neat to see these characters in their original context, as I've only seen movies.
I wouldn't necessarily binge several hours worth. And the fact I'm stopping occasionally to writeup the reviews or pausing to take notes does help the zaniness from getting repetitive.

Are you watching from the beginning like I am, or just randomly? The Muppet Show doesn't have to be watched in order to understand what's going on.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Quirk on August 01, 2014, 06:22:38 PM
I'm watching in order but I couldn't find the first one, so in order from the second episode.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 01, 2014, 06:38:26 PM
Beaker doesn't show up until the second season, so I'm looking forward to that. But otherwise I am enjoying it so far.
Like I said in my write-ups, aside from the misfire that is the Sex and Violence pilot, the episodes at the very beginning wouldn't necessarily be distinguishable from later seasons. Aside from the noticeable improvement in some of the puppets.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: BathTub on August 01, 2014, 08:03:36 PM
I started watching on Youtube. I don't think it's a good binge watch, though. Still, it's neat to see these characters in their original context, as I've only seen movies.

Yeah I was thinking the same thing.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 05, 2014, 07:06:16 PM
Episode 4: Ruth Buzzi

I like Ruth Buzzi, so I hate to insult her. But they make a big deal about physical fitness and her fit body, yet she has the face of an old crone witch. Poor lady.

Animal starting to show real personality here when he speeds up the "Sonny" song.

Only the fourth episode, and I wish they would stop having Scooter's only bit be that his uncle owns the theater. He's already a fun character, he doesn't need it.

The 'robotic TV show host' Kermit is a better fake Kermit character than Constantine. Heck, they even do a similar idea of the copy 'ramancing Miss Piggy'. Aaand she hit Kermit again, for something that wasn't his fault. Bitch.

An odd Newsman skit where nothing wierd happens to him or anything falls on him.

I like this "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You' song between Sweetums and Ruth Buzzi. Because while it's sung straight, it's performed humorously. Making it much more fun to watch.

Whenever I think of Rowlf, the 'Onion' song is usually the first thing that comes to mind.

Not the first, but one of the most obvious, meta jokes. Kermit mentions the laughtrack.

Fozzie's bit is funny, even though he doesn't even make a single joke.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 05, 2014, 08:03:48 PM
Episode 5: Rita Moreno

I'm glad they changed Gonzo's bit in the opening to be blowing the trumpet in the later seasons. The hitting the O as a gong thing doesn't work as well.

YES! I LOVE VETERINARIAN'S HOSPITAL! Too bad Janice's voice is distractingly different than what we're used to.
All these years that I've enjoyed these bits, and I still can't exactly explain the reason why the way they look up when the announcer talks at the end is so funny and adorable. But it is. It's one of my Dad's favorite bits, too.

Another skit where the Newsman doesn't get harmed. I wonder when they figured out that's what made him really funny? Or at least added the punchline to the joke. Although the later "There is no news tonight" bit is funny. Is that the only time they did two Newsman sketches in one episode?

As much as I love The Electric Mayhem, the Country Trio is just the most charming group ever. I think it's not only because of the type of music they sing (usually folk songs), but because they are truly analogs for Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson. Making them the closest we get to watching those people perform together sans felt.

Marvin Suggs! I love how much character milage this show gets from a simple (and what should be horrifying) concept. Not to mention that it's based on the "Mouse Organ" bit in Monty Python from a few years earlier. A bit that was played for how outragous it was, and how horrified everyone was at it.

I have a female latina friend with an accent and she will devolve into Spanish when she gets frustrated, which arritates me to no end. So I just found Rita's part of the Debate Sketch really annoying and unfunny.

Sam is a fun character, and Frank Oz's performance is always great. But his comic timing on "AWESOME" when introducing Wayne and Wanda this time is, well.......awesome!

I don't know if Rita Morano is known for anything comedy related, or just singing. But her annoyed performance with Animal is hilarious. It also helps that the song is short (or at least cut short).
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 05, 2014, 08:50:00 PM
Episode 6: Jim Nabors

And finally a guest star I like! When visiting with my family we will often watch he Andy Griffith Show, so I have a soft spot for it.

"MONEY!" Is my alltime favoite Dr. Teeth song! I didn't remember it was so early in the show's run.

Six episodes in and they are introducing Scooter? He's been in several episodes already. So I assume the order that they are on the DVD is in original broadcast order, not production order.

Jim Nabors (and Rita in the previous episode) talks about being a fan of the characters, yet this is the first season, adn early in it to boot. It could just be lines writeen for them of course, but they come off like genuine fans. I wonder if there were a few episodes shown and then a delay in filming the others?

So Miss Piggy will violently retaliate whenever she even suspects (usually wrongly) that Kermit is hitting on any of the female guests, but has no problem herself openly throwing herself at male guests? Bitch.

I can see why Wayne and Wanda didn't last too long in the show. They're not bad, but it's one joke. And the introductions by Sam are always the funniest part anyway.

'Thank God I'm a Country Boy'. Haven't heard that in years, it's still a lot of fun. It hits me right in the childhood. I was raised on classic rock and that kind of country/folk. I don't care for regular country music anymore, but the John Denver style folk music really makes me smile.

No mention of the green suit jacket Jim Nabors is wearing in the ending? Especially with the big 70s style collar, I would have thought he'd be wearing it just so Kermit could comment on it.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: RoninFox on August 06, 2014, 05:57:17 AM
Jim Nabors (and Rita in the previous episode) talks about being a fan of the characters, yet this is the first season, adn early in it to boot. It could just be lines writeen for them of course, but they come off like genuine fans. I wonder if there were a few episodes shown and then a delay in filming the others?

The Muppet Show started in 1976, but the Muppets were around in one form or another since the 50s.  The local tv "Sam and Friends" show, Sesame Street, and a ton of appearances on late night tv and commercials all pre-date the Muppet Show.  The year before The Muppet Show, they were featured fairly regularly on Saturday Night Live's first season.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 06, 2014, 06:03:15 AM
Jim Nabors (and Rita in the previous episode) talks about being a fan of the characters, yet this is the first season, adn early in it to boot. It could just be lines writeen for them of course, but they come off like genuine fans. I wonder if there were a few episodes shown and then a delay in filming the others?

The Muppet Show started in 1976, but the Muppets were around in one form or another since the 50s.  The local tv "Sam and Friends" show, Sesame Street, and a ton of appearances on late night tv and commercials all pre-date the Muppet Show.  The year before The Muppet Show, they were featured fairly regularly on Saturday Night Live's first season.
True. And that is maybe what Rita was referring to. But Jim Nabors specifically mentions being a fan of Miss Piggy, who was first introduced on The Muppet Show.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: RoninFox on August 06, 2014, 06:06:12 AM
Jim Nabors (and Rita in the previous episode) talks about being a fan of the characters, yet this is the first season, adn early in it to boot. It could just be lines writeen for them of course, but they come off like genuine fans. I wonder if there were a few episodes shown and then a delay in filming the others?

The Muppet Show started in 1976, but the Muppets were around in one form or another since the 50s.  The local tv "Sam and Friends" show, Sesame Street, and a ton of appearances on late night tv and commercials all pre-date the Muppet Show.  The year before The Muppet Show, they were featured fairly regularly on Saturday Night Live's first season.
True. And that is maybe what Rita was referring to. But Jim Nabors specifically mentions being a fan of Miss Piggy, who was first introduced on The Muppet Show.

Ah, that does kind of smack of a line written for him then.  It could be that at least an episode or two had aired when they were filming, but then Miss Piggy wasn't very developed in the first couple episodes.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 10, 2014, 09:19:32 PM
Episode 7: Florence Henderson

As much as I loathe The Brady Bunch, Florence is okay here. Nothing special, but like so many guest I don't have a prior interest in, she's just there.


The Bouncing Brcellino Brothers feel like a precursor to the Flying Ziccini Brothers, who were always much funnier. And I know they're pigs, but they topple with only a 6 person pyramid? It is funny to see the Strangepork puppet before they established that character.

Ugh, another serious song. Fast forward. I appreciate their commitment to sticking with the variety show type format. But I come here for the laughs.

It's odd to see Miss Piggy acting so subserviant. Yet then at the end she talks about being so forward because she's liberated. I think she just means horny. I do find it hilarious whenever she does pig snorts when she is smooching on Kermit, though.

Wow. AN instance where Miss Piggy is justified in being jealous. Kermit is putting some serious swamp moves on Florence here. And Piggy is funny here (especially the "I'm well paid" line). Oh, and now she's violent again. But at least it's not against Kermit.

SOngs like "Coddleston Pie" used to confuse the hell out of me when I was a kid. But They are still enjoyable because of the charm of characters like Rowlf. It's like enjoying a song mainly because a relative is singing it.

I enjoy those Discussion Panel bits. I wish they had continued them past the first season.

Well, I was about to say Miss Piggy went a whole episode without being a bitch, but she managed to turn it around in the last few minutes. "You always hurt the one you love." I'm pretty sure a lot of abusive husbands have said the same thing. Seriously, if the genders were reversed (epescially given Piggy's significant size advantage over Kermit) I think there would be MAJOR complaints about this!

Oh cool, the introduction of Planet Koozbane! I think the bit goes a little too long. Although the fact it ends with graphic hardcore alien sex is quite unexpected for national TV.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 11, 2014, 09:28:26 PM
Episode 8: Paul Williams

I know some people don't care for his music. I think Disney may too often go to him, so some people find him overplayed. But I'm a big fan. Here he is just a big fuzzy bundle of fun. Clearly loving every moment of goofiness with these odd puppets. I wish he would do more on camera stuff, he's great.

Is this intro Fozzy bit the first time he's wiggled his ears like that? Or did I just not notice. It's a classic Fozzyism, I love it. It's afavorite of my Dad's as well.

Just An Old Fashioned Love Song is wonderful! Love love love this song. And it's made even better by the puppet silliness going on in it. Interestingly, a rare prominant role for the puppet duplicates of stars.

I remember The Telephone Pole bit a lot because one of the first Muppets tapes I had was a clip show rememberance type thing and Scooter kept metioning it in the in between segments over and over, before they finally showed it at the end. Most notable because Mike Oznowitsz is Frank Oz's father's real name. Also another bit where the leadup is funny in itself, and the payoff is only funny because of how much it doesn't live up to the hype.

YES! The first Muppet Labs segment! Even without Beaker, I love these.

How do we get kids to appreciate poetry? Let's aggravate a dog. Brilliant Muppet logic.

Another Newsman bit where he doesn't get hurt, he's just there to be frustrated by the stupidity of someone else. These are okay. I actually wish they had kept doing these occasionally, to break up the one joke sameness of his skits later on.

Sad Song is also really nice. And the first serious non-comedic song I haven't fast forwarded through.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 27, 2014, 08:25:14 PM
Episode #9: Charles Aznavour

Another guest I've never heard of. He didn't do much for me in his segments. But the "Inchworm" song at the end was nice enough that even though a serious song I didn't fast forward through it.

In the "I Feel Pretty" song, I love this kind of use of the 'whatnot' puppet.

Really, why is Gonzo of all characters given the "doesn't understand metaphors" schtick when he's the abstract artist on the show? Although after watching the Guardian of the Galaxy movie, I'm just glad we don't see him without his shirt.

For once I don't blame Miss Piggy for her going gaga over the male guest, as Aznavour was deliberately trying to get her moist in the hocks. And she does the snort when she's kissing him, that always kills me! This time Miss Piggy hits Kermit because he called her poison. Yeah, you earned that one, frog.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on August 27, 2014, 09:14:35 PM
Episode #10 Harvey Korman

I like Harvey Korman, but he's very hit and miss for me. He really works best when he has Tim Conway or other people to work off of which him as the straight man. In the Discussion Spot and Talk Spot he's used well, the two others he's trying to be the goofy one, and he's just mugging like crazy for the camera. Also, him in the chicken outfit is beyond laaame.

Not only beginning with a great Electric Mayhem song, but an extended bit getting to know Animal. Niiiice. And later we get a fun jam session too.

It's interesting that they didn't (as I recall) reuse the street set with the puppet houses in the later seasons. It looks like a very elaborate set for them to use only a few times, one joke each.

Oh dear God in Heaven, YES! Fozzy and Kermit's bit about "good grief the comedian's a bear" is definitely my favorite alltime Fozzy moment. I could watch this on an endless loop for hours, it makes me laugh so hard.

Oh wow, I think this is the first time we ever see Kermit's nephew Robin on the show, aside from a group shot. And it's the lovely "Halfway Down the Stairs"song. Probably his most iconic.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on September 29, 2015, 08:35:11 PM
I shoudl get back to going through the episodes. I forgot why I stopped.
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Edward J Grug III on September 29, 2015, 08:39:16 PM
I shoudl get back to going through the episodes. I forgot why I stopped.

Probably because the first season isn't that good ;D
Title: Re: Darth Geek's The Muppet Show thread
Post by: Darth Geek on September 30, 2015, 06:31:58 AM
I shoudl get back to going through the episodes. I forgot why I stopped.

Probably because the first season isn't that good ;D
Ha ha. Now that I remember about this, I will probably get back to this in October.

I am surprised I didn't get more people posting on this thread.