The Muppet Show: Season 1
Special Edition, Special ed.
DVD | Box Set
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It's time to raise the curtain on THE MUPPET SHOW! Join Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, the Swedish Chef, and more in the first season of this groundbreaking twist on the classic Variety Show. Contains all 24 episodes, which have been completely restored and remastered. The bonus features also include something you were never meant to see: the original "pitch reel" that propelled the Muppets' blend of original songs, sketch comedy, and guest stars into a primetime hit for all ages! Come discover for yourself the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational pleasures of THE MUPPET SHOW SEASON ONE!
The charm, the zaniness, the corny jokes, the showbiz cliches--every element of The Muppet Show holds up 30 years after Jim Henson's legendary variety series' debut season. Well, perhaps not everything: Today's younger viewers might have a hard time placing some of The Muppet Show's then-guest stars, such as Florence Henderson or Ruth Buzzi. But then, the Show's real celebrities are perennial icons Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo the... whatever, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and the rest of the Muppets' harried, well-meaning family of entertainers. Season One finds the show pretty much in the basic shape longtime fans will remember: A musical introduction followed by backstage chaos, another musical number, a sketch, a scene with the guest star, and so on. A half-hour episode can fly by pretty quickly, but it's interesting to note that the series hadn't quite found its familiar tone through much of the first year. A reliance on too many disposable verbal jokes and redundant, so-so material for sketch fodder ultimately gives way to more creative premises and the development of key relationships between characters. By the final half-dozen episodes in the first season, The Muppet Show is truly cooking. Season highlights include Kermit's confession to guest Juliet Prowse that he always wanted to be a dancer, and Prowse's comparison of the little green superstar to Robert Redford. Joel Grey does a cabaret-style act for a roomful of Muppets and is later outraged when Kermit's introduction of the actor proves so thorough there is nothing left for the latter to say. Rita Moreno proves quite game in a funny piece, set in a French cafe, in which her dance with a man-size Muppet turns from romantic to table-smashing violent. Harvey Korman plays bumbling ringmaster Maurice the Magnificent, easily the worst animal trainer in history. Phyllis Diller bats out shameless one-liners ("I sang 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,' and it fell on me"), and Vincent Price toys with his own horror film image by playing a ghoul who turns into a maudlin orchestra conductor at midnight. --Tom Keogh
Stills from The Muppet Show (click for larger image)
The divine Miss Piggy
Kermit and Miss Piggy
Fozzie Bear and Kermit
Everyone's a critic
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I forgot how funny Fozzie Bear was!
A must for Muppet Fans especially because these are seldom shown on television in syndication any more. Now you don't have to miss your Muppets.
Bonus: it's family entertainment that appeals to kids as well as adults. Little kids won't "get" all the jokes and innuendo, but adults won't be gagging on unstimulating childishness. Fun for everyone!
I loved this show when it was on television. I enjoyed seeing who would be their next "special guest" (from getting a crush on a young Sandy Duncan to laughing out loud over Vincent Price's over-the-top parodies of horror.)
But, of course, the real stars of the series are the muppets themselves. Kermit stays pretty much the same throughout. He's the default leader of the show, a charming and gracious, uh, frog.
Ms. Piggy is the character with the most growth, as she goes from a simple dancing partner during the ballroom skits, to Kermit's love interest (if they had a complete interspecies relationship, would their offspring be Progs? Or Figs?)
Fozzie Bear is the corny comedian who has to deal with his substandard material and the heckling of the in-residence old farts who inhabit the balcony.
Gonzo, Dr. Teeth, Ralph the Dog (piano player extraordinaire), the Swedish Chef, Wayne and Wanda, Sam the Eagle, Crazy Harry, and a multitude of other muppet characters never fail to entertain (one of my favorite repeat skit's was Veterinarians Hospital, "a show about an orthopedic surgeon who's gone to the dogs", but that might be because I'm IN the medical field!)
But if there's one muppet that has continually entertained me, I'd have to say it was Animal, the red-haired, over-active, and sometimes insane drummer in the muppet orchestra. Whether he was chasing around a guest host because she was cute, or dancing under a chandelier and slamming his partner onto the floor, I never failed to at least crack a smile when he showed up on-screen.
This DVD set (containing 24 episodes) was a great walk down memory lane, catching up with many actors and actresses I had forgotten about, and getting me back to my inner kid, even if just for a little while.
Which brings me to the innards. One might say the heart and soul of The Muppet Show was the running gag, spread out over all 22 episodes. Fortunately, most were creative enough to earn a smile or a chuckle, but Miss Piggy's karate chops got really old really fast, after the episode where she did seven in one show.
How do I know there were seven? Because one option was to enable on screen notes of facts about the episode, the puppets, the puppeteers, and the guests. One show counted the Karate chops. What these optional notes mean is that you will be sure to get at least two viewings, one without notes, and one with. I recommend you do the first without, because the notes are distracting, and you may miss a punch line.
The guests are by far the best part of each show, even though almost all of them perform "potboilers" for which they are famous in their past careers. But, Liza Minelli doing "Mein Herr" from Cabaret... with Muppets, is quite a treat, Just as seeing Joel Grey doing a number from the same show. It's remarkable that the one guest for which I had the greatest disappointment was on episode 22, with Mummenshanz. There is something to be said for song and dance, and the Mummenshanz mimery tended to be washed out in the context of this first class troupe of puppets.
Much is made of cut segments; however there are also many segments included, almost one per episode, where were not shown in the US, only in the UK. I don't feel cheated for those missing segments, however, it did make Charles Aznavour's appearance seem very short.
One may almost wish a DVD were prepared with all the repetition removed... and the deleted segments restored. But, still great fun.
The Muppets are something that will remind me of my entire Childhood. I remember sitting in the lounge room with my parents & sister, & watching the Muppets every single week. To be honest, since receiving the DVD boxset & watching all the episodes again, I think I have laughed more now than I did back then.
I'm not all that sure that I had even seen all the episodes from the 1st Season; concidering that it aired in Australia when I was probably not even 1yr old. I can't believe that for the time it was made, it had no CGI, it was all manually done, with talented performers & stands to reason why it one of the best ever TV Shows produced, & contunies to have movies made. Keep em comin!!!
I have only just realised that I too have missed out on my inner leaflet in the DVD. Having read the other reviews, it seems that allot of us have not received it. It is a shame, but that doesn't bare any impact of the wonderful Muppets world.
I look forward to buying the rest of the Seasons as they come available & hope that Muppet Babies & Muppets Tonight will make it to the DVD for all of us to continue to enjoy!