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What to watch: The Muppet Show

What to watch: The Muppet Show

Let's go old-school and watch the old Muppet Show.

OzzieMejia

While I'm used to looking at contemporary TV shows to watch, it's worth noting that The Muppet Show just shot over onto Disney+. You might have accidentally overlooked it in the frantic search for the latest episode of WandaVision, but the OG Muppets show that made Jim Henson's creations a household name is on Disney's streaming service fully intact. (Mostly)

Potential heresy: I've never actually seen this show. The Muppet Show was just before my time, I never saw reruns, and my exposure to the Muppets mainly came from the newer movies, the 90s follow-up (sigh) Muppets Tonight, and the old-school Muppet Babies cartoon. I hadn't actually seen the old Muppet Show, which is why I'm surprised to see that the humor... really holds up well.

The Muppets are built on slapstick and clever wordplay and The Muppet Show is full of that. A lot of it is timeless, in the sense that the jokes and the punchlines are so simple that they can work in 2021 just as well as they did in 1980. There are few elements that have really aged, one of them being the actual celebrity guests. Try watching some of these episodes with your kids, because you'll get a lot of "Who's that?" questions. Heck, I was born in 1983 and I didn't even know who some of these people were. It was actually fun to see the pilot start off with Rita Moreno, just because she's still around and kicking ass today in shows like One Day at a Time.

The other thing of note is that (at least in the early episodes), the primitive puppets are borderline distracting. I don't know if you modern Muppet people are ready for the Version 1.0 Miss Piggy puppet or the weird (even for him) design on the old Gonzo puppet. If you can get past those distractions, this show is such an easy watch. They're half-hours that just breeze by.

The Muppet Show is on Disney+ right now! The whole thing! Well... almost. A few episodes are cut. The Wrap has more information on that. Probably best to leave out the episode with the guy convicted of child porn possession. Also, the Don Knotts episode is apparently hacked to pieces due to music rights issues, because even the Mouse isn't immune to the DMCA hellscape we all live in. Give these shows a watch, binge them all in one go or watch a few at a time, and you won't be sorry. It'll make you hungry for more Muppets... which should also give you a sad, because who the hell knows when the Mouse will get around to giving them the same kind of love they give Marvel and Star Wars?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 20, 2021 8:07 PM

    What to watch: The Muppet Show

    Read more: What to watch: The Muppet Show

    • reply
      February 20, 2021 8:20 PM

      We are on episode 8 now and my kid keeps telling me how old fashioned it is. He hates the musical interludes.

      I haven't ever seen the Muppet Show either. I found a love for the Muppets later in life. We always watched the Muppet Babies (the new one on Disney Junior is SO GOOD too) when we were kids but that was all until the Muppets movie recently. We watched the original Muppet Movie a couple of weeks ago for the first time too and that was so GOOD.
      Miss Piggy is crazy pants looking. I think Frank Oz got better at her voice as the episodes went on. Miss Piggy and the other pig they show her with make sexy jokes all the time lol
      Gonzo looks wonky and sounds even more wonky. Sam the Eagle looks fluffier. Animal looks fluffier.

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      February 21, 2021 6:40 AM

      Are all of the musical bits still intact? I used to watch as a kid with my parents, and I’d check out the episode with Alice Cooper again.

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      February 21, 2021 10:11 AM

      Apparently D+ includes disclaimers that some content in the show is not appropriate this day + age. Which is at least better than not offering it at all.

      https://deadline.com/2021/02/the-muppets-contains-offensive-material-declares-disney-disclaimer-1234697894/

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        February 21, 2021 10:55 AM

        Which is frankly the better way to handle it than basically just pretend it never happened.

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          February 21, 2021 11:44 AM

          Yeah, to present the show without the warnings would have caused a shitstorm. Of the three options (no show at all, show with no warnings, or show with warnings) the latter is clearly the best approach, may seem PC but it keeps those that may not understand how times change from raising a fuss now or in the future.

          I can expect to see the same at some point down the road on shows like Seinfeld and The Office, decades when there's even further change.

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        February 21, 2021 11:33 AM

        Episode 3 literally has Rowlf make a joke about the "Asian flu" and-- ohhhhhhhh no.

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          February 21, 2021 2:12 PM

          I couldn't remember anything I thought would be considered offensive but it's literally been 15+ years since I've watched an episode of it, and yeah that's not great :/

          Jim Henson will forever be one of my idols but I'm glad they're putting this out with that context.

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      February 21, 2021 10:56 AM

      Bork bork bork bork
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCxpQ5sjo8s

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      February 21, 2021 10:56 AM

      Watched part of the first episode with Rita Morena beating up a man-sized puppet in a bar. Different times.

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      February 21, 2021 1:47 PM

      My kids just wouldn't sit through this. They have no taste for the finer things in life.

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