Friday, March 14, 2014

THE MUPPET SHOW: Every Episode Ranked - Part IV

#'s 45 - 37

Season 4, Episode 6 - Happy Birthday Kermit!
At the beginning of the episode, Miss Piggy interrupts Kermit's introduction to announce that it is his birthday and all of the Muppet gang have created surprises for him on his special day.  Kermit, of course, is quite reluctant but he is excited about guest star Linda Lavin (of TV's Alice) who sings some great songs (and she even gets to slap Miss Piggy!).  In the end, we find out why Kermit was so reluctant (but I won't spoil it for you!).

Season 3, Episode 8 - Workin' On the Railroad
One of the things I love is when the Muppet writers decided to play with the show's format.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.  This was one of the earliest times they attempted it and what they ended up with was really quite clever.  In the story, the Muppet Theater is being fumigated and the Great Gonzo had the "brilliant" idea to move the show to a local railroad station (again, don't ask!).  But as Country legend Loretta Lynn, the episode's guest star, puts it: "We country singers can sing anywhere!"


Season 5, Episode 23 - Kermit's Crush
Kermit and guest star Linda Ronstadt share a mutual little crush on each other, but there is someone who is not to pleased with that (do I really need to tell you who it is?).  But Ronstadt (in perfect full voice) sings some fabulous songs like "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)," the haunting "Blue Bayou" and the sweet "When I Grow to Old to Dream" (seen below).

Season 4, Episode 22 - Engagement Announcement
Miss Piggy has a plan (yet again!).  She thinks if she can get guest star Andy Williams to sing "The Theme from Love Story," it will excite Kermit enough to welcome an engagement announcement (even though Kermit has not proposed!).  Kermit is of course not as receptive to the idea as Piggy would have hoped and he is even a little miffed that Andy Williams took part in such a ruse.  But of course everything is resolved by the end and Piggy goes on pursuing her frog despite his tiny protests.  One day, there will be the pitter-patter of bouncing baby "figs."

Season 5, Episode 16 - Blow the Roof Off the Place
The phenomenal Gladys Knight (sans her Pips!) joins the Muppets for zany half-hour in which the Muppet Theater's roof has rotted through.  It exposes all performances to leaks, cold, fog and even snow.  But Ms. Knight handles herself well through her soulful renditions of "Friendship Train," the beautiful "God Bless the Child" and the groovy "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (which she performs with the help of Muppet grapes!).

Season 1, Episode 11 - Singing in the Shadow
Was there a Lady of Song classier than Lena Horne?  Every song Ms. Horne sings is marvelous.  And it was around this time that the show was beginning to find its niche with good episodes among the so-so episodes.  This one would be a really good episode.

Season 1, Episode 3 - Give Me a Subject!
For their third episode, the Muppets procured Cabaret star Joel Grey to stop the show with some "Razzle Dazzle."  And while the first two episodes were kind of a mixed bag, with this one they were perfecting their format.  You could see very well what kind of variety show they wanted to be and with a guest like Tony and Oscar winner Joel Grey, they have their format in very good hands.  

Season 5, Episode 24 - Pies Like Us
James Bond himself joins the Muppets for what aired as the final episode of the show ever.  Roger Moore brings his suave quality to a scene where Miss Piggy tries to seduce him (singing "Slow Boat to China") and a rendition of "Talk to the Animals" where he wants to sing with cute and cuddly Muppets.  The problem is that Kermit was under the impression that by having Agent 007 he could have a action-packed spy number for the finale and he ordered actual spies.  The spies try to blend in to the cute number to get their hands on Moore, but of course the super-sleek agent is ten steps ahead of them.  This episode also features one of the most famous Muppet numbers: a group of Viking pigs singing the Village People's classic "In the Navy."

Season 2, Episode 2 - Lady Wrestlers
Legendary comedian Zero Mostel (of Fiddler On the Roof and The Producers fame) was a great guest to have on The Muppet Show.  He sang a song from the musical Camelot dressed as Henry VIII.  He read a poem entitled "Fears of Zero" surrounded by all kinds of Muppet creepy crawlies.  But the best moment is when Sam the Eagle, in his fervor to make the show cultural and moral, goes to visit Mr. Mostel in his dressing room and hilarity ensues (see the clip below).  Sadly Mr. Mostel passed away three months after the episode completed filming and shortly before it had a chance to air, making The Muppet Show his final TV, Film or Stage appearance in his storied career.

Coming Soon: #'s 36-29

No comments:

Post a Comment