Monday, 30 September 2013
I am a huuuuuuuuuge Muppet Show fan. I was thrilled to be given boxed sets of Series 1 and 2 of The Muppet Show on DVD for my birthday and have enjoyed watching classic episodes during mini Muppet marathons (half-marathons, maybe?). Each episode is short enough to watch just one or two (or three) at a time whenever you need a pick-me-up. They're also incredibly addictive. Luckily I still have plenty more episodes to watch, then it will be back to the beginning again and again.
There is so much to love about the Muppets, with an endearing cast of characters and great running gags. I'd forgotten how many one liners George the Janitor quipped on the dance floor. I always preferred Veterinarian's Hospital to Pigs In Space. The two resident hecklers, Statler and Waldorf, are surprisingly sharp, as poor Fozzie Bear knows all too well. Then there's the perpetually hapless Great Gonzo, whose greatest admirer is Camilla the Chicken.
Here's Fozzie telling the world's funniest joke. "Good grief, the comedian's a bear!" Cracks me up every time.
While many of the special guests have faded into oblivion or weren't quite as funny as they thought they were, some were truly memorable. I loved Rita Moreno's dance sequence where she effortlessly, then exasperatingly, threw her Muppet admirers around the room. Her episode finished with Animal accompanying her on the drums while she sang "Fever". Of course it went wrong for her. I always remember Ben Vereen's smiley, happy cabaret-style episode. Although I don't really know what Avery Schreiber was famous for, he was certainly one of the funniest guests.
But really, it's the musical numbers that set The Muppet Show apart. Rowlf the Dog is an astonishingly good pianist and definitely one of my favourite characters. I love his renditions of classical arrangements, many of which I learned to play myself. He almost met his musical match when Bruce Forsyth played a beautiful version of "Let There Be Love" during his guest appearance. Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are my heroes and Zoot is an absolutely legendary sax player. Just listen to his fine form during one of my favourite numbers, "Sax and Violence".
Classic. Timeless. Hilarious. Muppets rock.