Monday, March 17, 2014

THE MUPPET SHOW: Every Episode Ranked - Part VII

Season 1, Episode 16 - How to Make a Frog Jealous
In the show's first season, the head writer was comedian Jack Burns who asked his former cohort Avery Schreiber to be a guest in the show's early days.  And Schreiber delivered.  My brother refers to him as a "Human Muppet."  He has some really great scenes (including a battle of wits with Sweetums and a hilarious pantomime with Fozzie!).  But the big highlight is that Miss Piggy wants to make Kermit jealous and has enlisted Mr. Schreiber to pretend to be madly in love with her.  It's a story only the likes of Jack Burns could have written!


Season 5, Episode 21 - W-HOG
With Country legend Johnny Cash as the guest star, the Muppet Theater has teamed with a local Country radio station (W-HOG) to broadcast the show.  However the man in charge of the station, Big Tiny Tall Saddle, believes he is running the entire show.  He has no idea who the Muppets are and moreover, he doesn't care.  And when someone disagrees with him or gets in his way, he ties a microphone stand around them.  All while this is happening, Country's Man In Black is singing some of his hit songs like "Ghost Riders In the Sky," "Orange Blossom Special" and "Jackson" (which he duets with the fantastic Miss Piggy below!).


Season 3, Episode 7 - Searching For Souls
When you think of guest stars on variety shows in 1970s a few of the normal names come to mind, but no one ever immediately says rock star Alice Cooper was at the top of that list.  At the time he was very controversial, yet the writers were able to play with that.  While all traditionalists were complaining that Cooper was "an agent of the Devil," the Muppet writers chose to write him as...well an agent of the Devil trying to get the Muppets to sign their souls away.  In the meantime, he performs two of his biggest hits "Welcome to My Nightmare" and "School's Out for Summer" (seen below!).  Because this episode centered around monsters, ghosts and all things creepy, it was aired as the Halloween episode in the United States.


Season 4, Episode 18 - Super Duper Superman
Christopher Reeve was truly a Superman.  I mean he was really really talented!  And this episode proves how talented he really was.  He performs Shakespeare (with help from Fozzie and Link, so maybe not exactly!).  He takes part in a Vet's Hospital sketch (and does their usual brand of pun humor!).  But the biggest highlight is, as usual, Miss Piggy.  She is so thrilled that Christopher "Superman" Reeve is on the show that she is determined to perform a romantic duet with him as the closing number.  She even goes as far as to slam the piano lid on Rowlf's hands so that Mr. Reeve will have to play it instead (yet another thing the Man of Steel could do!).


Season 2, Episode 8 - Auditions
At the beginning of the show, Kermit realizes that he had scheduled time for auditions.  So he announces that the evening's show is cancelled and sends the audience home.  This does not sit well with some of the other Muppets (namely Miss Piggy and Fozzie!), but it also doesn't please the week's guest star, the great comedian Steve Martin.  Martin decides to stick around and perform his schtick (which includes balloon animals and banjo playing!) for the rest of the Muppet gang.  It was one of the first times that the show's writers decided to play with the usual format, and it works quite well (the production crew especially loved it!).  And Gonzo dances with cheese!  What more could you want?


Season 1, Episode 5 - The Running Gag
Rita Moreno belongs to that prestige club in Entertainment that is known as EGOT.  And it was with this performance on The Muppet Show that she became a member of that club.  Watching her episode, it is not hard to see why.  She fights/tangos with a sleazy looking Muppet, she joins a panel discussion about conversation (as a character with a very thick accent!) and she performs Peggy Lee's "Fever" with some (often inconvenient!) help from Animal (see below).  The latter sketch has gone down into Muppet history as a true and utter classic (and it's probably what won her the Emmy!).  All while this occurs, Fozzie drives Kermit nuts backstage by handling some odd phone calls.

Tomorrow: #'s 15-11

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