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The Muppet Show
Guest Rita Moreno
Production (week of) June 3, 1976
Premiere UK: September 12, 1976
NYC: September 20, 1976
Releases Season One
Best of the Muppet Show


Fozzie Bear becomes embroiled in a running gag involving the backstage phone. Throughout the episode, Rita parodies her combative image. She battles with several Muppets, including Miss Piggy, a Full-Bodied Muppet, and Animal, who's backing her on drums in her closing number, "Fever."



Picture Description

"The Muppet Show Theme": When Kermit introduces Rita Moreno, she is bitten by Animal.

When Gonzo strikes the "O", the effect reverberates through him. (Repeated in episode 108)
Kermit opens the show with a joke, provided by Fozzie Bear, about 225 dancing elephants without costumes (they forgot to pack their trunks).
Rita Moreno dances (and fights) with a humanoid Muppet to the music of "I Get Ideas." The number is an apache dance, popularized in the early 1900s and usually with a Parisian flavor, in which a man and woman in "tough" attire and poses engage in physical conflict.
Backstage, Kermit asks Fozzie to answer the phone. Water sprays from the receiver. When Kermit asks who it was, Fozzie replies, "the Water Department."
Veterinarian's Hospital: Dr. Bob's patient is Fozzie Bear.
When Fozzie answers the phone this time, smoke billows out: "The Fire Department."
Muppet News Flash: The Newsman reports on a man who has taught his chicken to dance classical ballet and the man's wife who fricasseed the ballerina for lunch.
The Swedish Chef prepares flapjacks, but when he flips them, they all get stuck to the ceiling. There is only one solution: He shoots them down.
Fozzie answers the phone and hits the jackpot: "Las Vegas."
At the Dance: A shark wanders the ballroom.
UK Spot: The Country Trio sings "To Morrow."
105 muppaphone
Kermit has discovered a new act waiting at a bus station in Toledo, Ohio: Marvin Suggs and his Muppaphone. They tune up and then perform "Lady of Spain."


Panel Discussion: "Is Conversation a Dying Art?" The conversation turns into a raging battle between Rita (otherwise known as "Tiffany Gonzales" in this sketch) and Miss Piggy.

"How would you like a high heel in your hamhock?"

When Fozzie answers the phone, an explosion erupts from it: "The Atomic Energy Commission."

This is followed by another Newsflash where it is reported that there is no news tonight.
Talk Spot: Rita, fighting again (against conventions), tries to get Kermit to ad-lib it, Muppet-style, but ends up getting carried away by Sweetums, who prefers to carry her than the cue card.
Wayne and Wanda sing an all too brief rendition of "Goody Goody."
After Fozzie performs his Comedy Act, he returns backstage to answer the telephone, but Kermit will not let him. He cries out, "Is there no end to this running gag?" Animal comes in to solve the problem: He tears the phone off the wall and carries it off. And that puts an end to this running gag (and all incoming calls).
Rita's rendition of "Fever" is ruined by Animal's bursts of percussion. The song ends when she smashes his head between two cymbals.  Animal utters "That my kind of woman!" before passing out.
At the closing, Rita tosses her Muppet boyfriend from the beginning offstage.


  • This was the first episode broadcast in many US cities.
  • Rita Moreno won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music for her work on this episode of The Muppet Show. With this victory, Moreno became one of a select few artists who had won all four major artistic awards, which also include the Oscar, the Tony and the Grammy.
  • In Rita's "Fever" number, she speaks to Animal for a moment in Spanish, saying, "Listen, buddy. All I wanna tell you is that you shouldn't do that. It's not nice, you understand? Look at me when I'm talking to you. This is my number, and if you bother me any more I'm gonna hit you so hard, it's gonna leave you stupid. Cool it."
  • This is the second and last time Janice wears a wig on The Muppet Show during At the Dance, although the opening theme for this season remained the same.
  • Miss Piggy is switched between Richard Hunt and Frank Oz again in this episode. She is performed by Richard for most of the episode, Frank taking her only for the Panel discussion.
  • This episode marks the first time the guest star appears on stage for the goodnights after Kermit thanks them. In the previous episodes, the guest star was already on stage with Kermit at this point.


  • When aired on Nickelodeon, "I Get Ideas" is cut, but is replaced by Rita's closing number, "Fever." Subsequently, part of the first backstage scene is cut, as is the part of the last backstage scene where Kermit called Floyd and Animal on stage for the closing number. After the final backstage scene, the episode cuts to the final curtain call, because "Fever" was moved to the top of the episode. The curtain call includes a joke about the male dancer from "I Get Ideas," which doesn't make sense in this edited version.
  • In The Best of the Muppets, the Muppet News Flash is slightly longer, with the Newsman rereading "fricasseed the ballerina," stifling a laugh and groaning. Sweetums carrying Rita Moreno away during the Talk Spot is also longer. Rita compares Sweetums to King Kong, who is apparently Sweetums' brother.



Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Rowlf the Dog, Statler and Waldorf, The Newsman, The Swedish Chef, Sam the Eagle, Marvin Suggs, The Muppaphones, Rita's Dancing Partner, Zoot, Janice, Animal, George the Janitor, Mildred Huxtetter, Jim Henson Muppet, Frank Oz Muppet, Jerry Nelson Muppet, Brewster, Sweetums, Wayne, Wanda, Pigs, Whatnot, Trumpet Girl

Background Muppets:

Brunette Woman, Floyd Pepper, Muppy


Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Waldorf, Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, The Newsman, the Jim Henson Muppet, and some of the Muppaphones
Frank Oz as Fozzie Bear, Animal, Marvin Suggs, Sam the Eagle, the Frank Oz Muppet, George the Janitor, Mildred, Animal's Dancing Partner and Miss Piggy (Panel Discussion)
Jerry Nelson as The Jerry Nelson Muppet, Pig Bartender, the Announcer, Whatnot, and some of the Muppaphones
Richard Hunt as Miss Piggy (Most of the episode), Miss Piggy's Dancing Partner, Statler, Sweetums, and Wayne
Dave Goelz as Rita's Dancing Partner, Zoot and The Guru (Brewster)
Eren Ozker as Janice
John Lovelady as Rita's Dancing Partner


External links[]

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