Thursday, March 13, 2014

THE MUPPET SHOW: Every Episode Ranked - Part III

#'s 60 - 46

Season 4, Episode 17 - From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
I am a geek.  I am proud that I squee with delight whenever I see Jedis, Vulcans, Hobbits, Wizards, Singing Candlesticks and especially Muppets.  This episode, however, has always been a mixed bag for me.  It is one of those situations where what you are watching is so bad that it is actually good or the geekly collision of Star Wars and Muppets is so good that it kinda ruins them both.  And on an ironic note, it is interesting that the episode's finale ends with "When You Wish Upon a Star" considering that both franchises are now owned by the House of Mouse.

Season 3, Episode 2 - Annie Sue's Big Moment
British pop/disco singer Leo Sayer guested on this one and sang some of his catchiest tunes (I really like "You Make Me Feel Like Dancin'!").  But the big highlight of this episode is the reaction Miss Piggy has to the way Kermit supports the new Muppet singer Annie Sue Pig (yeah, how did Kermit think Piggy wouldn't mind that?).

Season 3, Episode 3 - Goin' Country
Country music performer (and longtime Hee-Haw host) Roy Clark showed off his musical talents and helped the Muppets go "a lil' bit country."  His songs are pretty good (especially "Sally Was a Good Ol' Girl" seen below), but the episode's high point is how Fozzie tries to hide from Kermit the fire that is going on backstage at the Muppet Theater.

Season 2, Episode 13 - Culture
Booking ballet legend Rudolf Nureyev onto the show was a major coup for The Muppet Show.  According to the show's producers, once they got him it seemed like everybody wanted to be on the show.  His ballet with a big Muppet pig (it's NOT Miss Piggy people!) is a major highlight.  His other moments on the show are mostly so-so (he tries to sing, and basically...well, it's a good thing he was a phenomenal ballet dancer!).  The episode MVP award has to go to Frank Oz' Sam the Eagle who tries to use Mr. Nureyev's appearance as a chance to make the show the cultural apex he wants it to be, despite the fact he is unsure what Mr. Nureyev actually does or looks like.

Season 5, Episode 18 - Arabian Nights
Comedian Marty Feldman (Igor in Young Frankenstein) joins the Muppets to tell the legendary stories of the 1,001 Arabian Nights.  Feldman, with his googly eyes and crazy antics, plays the mysterious Scheherazade (don't ask!) and other characters (like Aladdin's Genie, below).  Of course being a half-hour variety show, they only cover the famous tales like Sinbad (Kermit), Aladdin (Gonzo) and Ali Baba (a Marty Feldman-like Muppet!).  And with Ali Baba's classic "Open Sesame," a cameo from some of your favorite Sesame Street characters is a natch!

Season 1, Episode 19 - The Horror Show
When you book a guest like horror film icon Vincent Price, most of the stuff you do in the episode is going to be an homage to the said genre.  The best part is when Fozzie and Gonzo go to a haunted house and meet the mansion's creepy owner (played by Mr. Price).

Season 3, Episode 13 - On the Floor
Australian pop singer Helen Reddy (she is woman, hear her roar!) sings some catchy tunes and dances with a camel (seriously, don't ask!).  But it is the character of Beauregard (the janitor) who steals the episode with his lovable dim-witted ways.  Plus, my brother always loved this scene.

Season 2, Episode 15 - RollerBear
Lou Rawls was so smooth and cool.  Every song he sang on the show was absolutely "groovy."  And how do you not love Fozzie on roller skates?  It is the perfect recipe for a classic Fozzie Bear disaster (its a good thing, people!).

Season 1, Episode 12 - Bein' Green With Envy
Two-time Oscar winner Peter Ustinov was a very interesting guest star (not someone who springs to mind when you think of TV variety!) and his segments are pretty hilarious (especially his skit with Fozzie, seen below).  But the episode's biggest highlight is Kermit, who is jealous of all the praise the other Muppets have for Sir Ustinov, sings his classic anthem "Bein' Green."  The episode is funny, sweet and classic.

Season 4, Episode 1 - Goin' Camping
Kermit and John Denver want to take the whole gang camping in the swamp (Kermit's home!), but no one is really interested...except for Miss Piggy.  She's interested at least until she finds out exactly what camping in the swamp entails.  So when she tells Kermit she doesn't want to go, he becomes frustrated with everyone telling him "No!" that he does something he probably shouldn't have.  Denver, however, manages to sing some of his classic songs and make them memorable (particularly "Grandma's Featherbed," below).

Season 5, Episode 1 - The End of the World
Silver screen legend Gene Kelly comes to The Muppet Show as the guest...literally, he just wants to sit and watch the show.  He has no intention of performing and he certainly has no intention of singing his classic "Singin' In the Rain."  He does however manage to give Kermit a dance lesson, duets backstage with Miss Piggy (and The Great Gonzo when Piggy has to be on stage!) and is coerced into singing a medley of his classic songs that all seem to have the same opening vamp as the legendary song he "won't" sing.  The other highlight of this episode is that sweet, lovable and incredibly dim Beauregard is under the impression that the world is coming to an end.  Ironically this was the last episode to be filmed for the show (yet was somehow the first to be aired in its last season!?!?!?), so "the end of the world" storyline was pretty clever.

Season 3, Episode 23 - Kermit & His Merry Muppets
With British actress Lynn Redgrave as the guest star, the Muppets decide to perform the story of Robin Hood.  There are so many good things in this episode ranging from Fozzie and Scooter showing the Merry Men how to properly "cavort" to the Great Gonzo as the Sheriff of Nottingham who enjoys torture so much (especially when the instruments are used on him!) to Miss Piggy who is jealous that Kermit cast Ms. Redgrave as Maid Marian instead of her (Sister Tuck was not a good enough consolation prize for her!).

Season 1, Episode 8 - No Short Jokes, Please!
Singer/songwriter Paul Williams was a good friend of Jim Henson's (he later wrote the songs for The Muppet Movie) that he guested on the show in the first season.  He sang some of his classic songs and partook in some obvious "short jokes."  And Fozzie had another classic moment alongside Scooter performing, what is in Scooter's words, the classic "Telephone Pole Bit" (Google it, it's so hokey that it's actually funny!).

Season 4, Episode 16 - The Gypsy Curse
The late comedian Jonathan Winters guested on this episode in which a strange gypsy has placed a curse on the show.  Everyone becomes wary when bad things start to go wrong with every act and Winters himself is afraid to perform.  The episode is great because the Muppets are the way they are, Jonathan Winters was his usual awesome self and when everyone starts speaking Swedish it jurgen borgen hurgen gurgensy.

Season 2, Episode 10 - Miss Piggy Buys the House
Miss Piggy decides its time Kermit really appreciate her, so she has Scooter pay the audience to cheer for her every time she is on stage (and jeer when she's not!).  Of course, this disturbs everyone (including guest star Dom Deluise) and Kermit smells something fishy.  When the truth is revealed, all is well because Dom Deluise leads them in a song.  It is silly, predictable, hokey and sappy; yet, it is so classically Muppet that it is hilarious.

Tomorrow: #'s 45-37

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