|The Muppet Show|
|Production||January 29-31, 1976|
|Premiere||UK: January 16, 1977|
NYC: April 25, 1977
Best of the Muppet Show
Muppy, the favorite pet of The Muppet Theatre owner J. P. Grosse, becomes a prima donna when Kermit reluctantly allows him to do a musical number with Scooter. Muppy even gets his own dressing room and star billing, but Kermit draws the line when the dog asks to change the show's title to The Muppy Show. When Muppy locks himself in his dressing room and refuses to perform, Scooter does the number with Fozzie instead.
- "Mahna Mahna"
- "Flight of the Bumblebee"
- At the Dance
- UK Spot: "You and I and George"
- Talk Spot
- "Cowboy Time"
- "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear"
|"The Muppet Show Theme": Fozzie thinks his opening joke is so funny, he never gets around to telling it.|
Guest star Juliet Prowse is pestered by three of the Green Gazelles.
Gonzo ends up charred when he hits the O with his mallet and it explodes.
|Kermit introduces Mahna Mahna ("whatever that means") and the Snowths, who perform the classic variety show number, "Mah Na Mah Na."|
As the nonsense song draws to a close, Mahna Mahna dances his way backstage and out of The Muppet Theatre. Soon after he has disappeared, the phone rings. Kermit answers the call and brings the receiver on stage, telling the Snowths "It's for you," at which point Mahna Mahna has the last word: "Mahna Mahna!" After the number, Statler asks what a Mahna Mahna is, and Waldorf responds with, "The question is, who cares?"
|Backstage: Kermit drinks milk through a straw: "Think about this, friends."|
Scooter and Muppy approach Kermit to talk about the act they're performing on the show that night. Kermit protests that they aren't performing an act until Scooter casually mentions that his uncle who owns the theater thought it up: "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Dog," which features a cute, adorable, sweet, sugary, little dance for Muppy. Kermit, displaying his artistic judgment, thinks it sounds sappy; displaying his will to survive, however, he thinks it sounds wonderful.
Muppy shows his gratitude to Kermit by biting him and then finishing off his milk.
|Gonzo's Stunt: A flustered Kermit introduces The Muppet Show's resident artist, Gonzo the Great, who announces that he will eat a rubber tire to the music of "Flight of the Bumblebee." Statler and Waldorf are amazed and astounded, but bored.|
Kermit comments the act as another wipe-out for Gonzo, who is booed off the stage, spitting out pieces of rubber and calling the audience "Yokels!" Despite his critical failure, though, he has made surprising progress on the tire. This sketch was featured on The Muppet Show (album) in which Gonzo finishes the whole tire during the entire song.
|Backstage: Muppy wants Kermit to know that he is sorry for biting him earlier. Luckily, he is also happy that Kermit let him do the "Simon Smith" number. But, he also wants his own dressing room and star billing!|
(Note:This is the first time that a live dog is used to play Muppy in a long shot.)
|Backstage: Kermit talks to Juliet backstage before her big number. She has nothing to complain about, although she has never before had to share her dressing room with a man who eats a tire. Apparently, Gonzo was supposed to dress in the alley.|
|Juliet dances to "Solace" with the Green Gazelles. The number uses the Black Light Theater technique to mask the puppeteers portraying the gazelles.|
After Juliet vanishes into the background at the end of the song, Waldorf wonders how she managed the trick, so Statler demonstrates it for him.
|At the Dance: Mildred Huxtetter feels like her feet haven't touched the floor ever since she and George the Janitor started dancing. They haven't; she's been standing on George's the whole time.|
Miss Piggy, played by Richard Hunt, asks her male pig companion is he prefers Shakespeare to Bacon. He, of course, prefers anything to bacon.
Flower-Eating Monster's partner says she doesn't mind if he smokes. So he does.
Background couples: Brewster with Trumpet Girl and Mahna Mahna with Wanda.
|UK Spot: Rowlf the Dog presents his rendition of one of the great songs of our time, that ever popular classic, "You and I and George," despite the fact that his own mother turns down her hearing aid when he plays it.|
In his introduction, Rowlf explains that the reason nobody has heard of this ever popular classic is that, in its only recording, the song sold two copies: Rowlf bought one, and George bought one. "Where were you?"
|Talk Spot: Kermit confesses to Juliet that, as a tadpole, he wanted to be a dancer, but that unfortunately, the first thing to go on a frog are his legs.|
Juliet, charmed by his sense of humor, tells Kermit that she finds him quite attractive, even calling him the Robert Redford of frogs. When he asks if she'd be willing to kiss the next best thing, she at first thinks he's talking about Paul Newman. But she kisses him anyway.
|Backstage: Kermit cues the actors for the Western sketch, and Fozzie asks him if his deep voice makes him sound more like John Wayne.|
Muppy finally drives Kermit over the edge when he suggests the show be retitled The Muppy Show.
|The Muppet Players put on a Western sketch, "Cowboy Time," in which Rowlf tells the story of the time Kid Fozzie came to Snake City to hold up a saloon but was foiled by his own incompetence and some explosive vegetables.
Waldorf tells Statler, who is now holding a lit cigar, that the way the Muppets find explosions funny is why he has always thought the Muppets are weird. He does not think explosions are funny, then Statler's cigar explodes when he brings it to his mouth and Waldorf confesses, "Although some of them are really quite droll."
|Blackout: Zoot points out that there is something strange about Juliet's feather boa.|
|When Muppy refuses to go on until Kermit changes the name of the show, Scooter performs the number as "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear" with Fozzie instead.|
|Kermit gathers the Muppet Glee Club on stage to perform, but when he begins conducting, he is met first by silence and then by a cacophony of different songs, one of which is identifiable as "The Caisson Song." Kermit's suggestion that they all sing the same song is well received, though, and they all settle on their favorite song, "Temptation."|
Kermit lets "Piggy, honey" take the solo in her first featured performance, and when her cue comes, she marches down the risers and throws herself at Kermit while he conducts, ultimately pinning him to the ground before chasing him offstage.
|Curtain Call: Kermit bequeaths Juliet with a Muppet likeness of herself.|
(Note: Although Kermit calls this a tradition, the only other guest star to receive a Muppet likeness of herself at the end of the show would be Connie Stevens in episode 102.)
|Just as Statler admits that watching the show was better than sitting home and watching television, Mahna Mahna invades their box.|
- Miss Piggy was performed both by Frank Oz and Richard Hunt in this episode. Oz performed all of the puppeteering and spoken dialogue during the "Temptation" scene, while Hunt pre-recorded her singing voice for the number, in what would be the only time he performed Miss Piggy's vocals in a musical number. Hunt also performed Piggy (and her dancing partner) in the "At the Dance" sketch.
- In the Talk Spot, Juliet makes reference to Robert Redford and Paul Newman, both of whom starred in the film The Sting, which had coincidentally only several years earlier brought renewed interest to "Solace," the Scott Joplin instrumental that she danced to earlier in the episode.
- Miss Kitty's appearance in the "Cowboy Time" sketch was the only instance in which the monster was addressed by that, or any, name.
- The closings at the end of episodes 101 and 102 feature only Kermit, the guest star, and the guest star's Muppet likeness. Other Muppets would begin joining the guest star during the closing as of episode 103.
- Jerry Nelson was not available for the filming of the first three episodes, but began performing as of episode 104.
- Despite "Lullaby of Birdland" being removed from episode 201 on Disney+, the section of "Mahna Mahna" that quotes "Birdland" is kept intact.
Episodes 101 and 102 of The Muppet Show were both shot as pilots in late January 1976, several months before regular production of the show began in May of that year. These pilots were never aired, and the episodes were reworked during the regular production window, but the final versions were among the last of the first season to air in certain international markets, such as France and Germany.
When the episodes were reworked, several sketches were abbreviated or cut entirely, and new footage was taped. All material featuring the guest stars, however, was shot during the initial production window, although on several occasions, different takes were used in the final versions of the episode from those used in the pilots.
Changes from Pilot to Broadcast Episode
- "The Muppet Show Theme"
Several changes were made to the pilot version of the opening theme song before the episode was broadcast:
- Different takes were used for several shots, including Kermit's opening introduction and the kickline of chorus girls.
- There is a second shot of Zoot and Crazy Harry in the orchestra after the chorus girls' verse. The first frame of this shot is also shown between the shots of Animal and Rowlf in episode 103.
- Aside from Blue Frackle, the chorus boys in the kickline were different and included Snake Frackle; an orange-wigged, rock star pig; and a different Whatnot creature. They also sang "You'll see the strangest creatures on The Muppet Show tonight" instead of "It's time to raise the curtain on The Muppet Show tonight."
- A third kickline immediately following the chorus boys' consisted of croaking frogs and clucking chickens, and was punctuated by T.R., who introduced "our leader, Kermit the Frog!"
- A clip of Wayne and Wanda singing "You Made Me Love You" was introduced by Kermit as an example of the show's offerings. Although the pair's act was not featured in either version of the episode (a silent Wanda appeared with Mahna Mahna "At the Dance"), their performance in the theme ended as abruptly as any of their future duets would.
- The female chorus make a cameo appearance performing an extra kickline.
- The joke Fozzie told during the opening theme was different in the pilot. This one, about the panhandler who needed a bite, was told to completion. During this scene, Fozzie is "eyebrowless."
- Juliet sang "It's very nice to be here, I'm pleased to say hello" instead of appearing with the Green Gazelles in the cutaway shot after Kermit introduces her. It was the only singing she recorded for The Muppet Show.
- Songs and Sketches
- The most dramatic change made to episode 101 was the addition of the backstage plot involving Muppy and Scooter. "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear" was also the only onstage act to appear in the final version of the episode that was not shot for the pilot.
- Two acts were cut completely from the pilot, Fozzie's monologue and Animal's drum solo. Also cut were Kermit's 'introduction' and a brief exchange between Fozzie, Rowlf, and the bartender in the "Cowboy Time" sketch; a conversation between Hilda and Fozzie; an appearance by Mahna Mahna, who pops out from behind Juliet Prowse to shout his trademark line after Kermit talks to her backstage; and an interstitial with Statler and Waldorf.
- Several sketches, while they remained essentially unchanged in both versions, used different takes from the original shoot, including Juliet's backstage conversation with Kermit, their Talk Spot, and "You and I and George."
- A rare addition between the pilot and broadcast version was a line during the Muppet Glee-Club sketch where the members comment about Kermit's baton-waving.
- Another addition occurs during Kermit's introduction of "Flight of the Bumblebee." Gonzo is seen coming out from the stage's left wings. A similar shot is used in episode 111, in which Gonzo comes out in the wings from stage right.
- Characters who appeared in the pilot but not the aired episode include Animal, Hilda, and a Whatnot chorus girl (performed by Eren Ozker and identified as Roxanne) who rejects Kermit's romantic overtures. However, she is later seen as the waitress in Cowboy Time, which eventually aired. In the opening, she was replaced with another female Whatnot with a brown curly wig.
- Sonia and Her Singing Seals would have been the first in a long string of never seen acts to cancel on Kermit for one reason or another when her seals get the flu.
- Scooter and Muppy were the only characters who appeared in the broadcast version but not the pilot.
- Frank Oz's voice for Fozzie Bear was considerably deeper in the pilot, as can be witnessed in the "Cowboy Time" sketch. A new introduction to this sketch, in which Fozzie asks Kermit if using his deep voice makes him sound more like John Wayne, was written to explain the difference.
- Jane Henson was credited as a performer in the pilot but not in the broadcast version of this episode.
- Fozzie was referred to as "the kid" separately by Statler and Kermit. And in the "Cowboy Time" sketch, he played Kid Fozzie.
Guest appearance by:
- Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, Scooter, Statler and Waldorf, Mahna Mahna, the Snowths, Muppy, Green Gazelles, George the Janitor, Mildred Huxtetter, Flower-Eating Monster, Female Dancer, Miss Kitty, Zoot, Feather Boa Constrictor, Gawain, Frogs, Pigs, Chickens, Whatnots, Juliet Prowse Muppet
- Jim Henson as Kermit, Rowlf, Waldorf, Mahna Mahna, and Flower-Eating Monster
- Frank Oz as Fozzie, Miss Piggy, the Snowths, George, Mildred, and Feather Boa Constrictor
- Richard Hunt as Scooter, Statler, Miss Piggy, Miss Piggy's dancing partner, Frogs, and Bartender
- Dave Goelz as Gonzo, Muppy, Zoot, Miss Kitty, and Pigs
- John Lovelady as Cowboy and Frogs
- Eren Ozker as Flower-Eating Monster's dancing partner, Waitress, Chickens, and Juliet Prowse Muppet
- Jane Henson (uncredited)
- Falk, Karen. "Jim Henson's Red Book," 1/11/1976 - Travel to London to do 2 pilot shows - Connie S. and Juliet P. Also taped Des O'Connor Show.
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|Muppet Show Pilot Episodes||Connie Stevens|