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The Muppet Show
Guest Valerie Harper
Production October 26-28, 1976
Premiere UK: January 2, 1977
NYC: November 22, 1976
Releases Season One


When Valerie Harper shows up unexpectedly on The Muppet Show, she begs Kermit to let her do a big opening number. Statler and Waldorf are so impressed with Valerie's beauty that they start to fight over which one of them will get to pursue her, and they finally decide to flip for her. Statler wins by flipping himself into the air, then goes backstage to woo her with some smooth talk and an African berry bush that grows three feet an hour (more if it rains!).

Unfortunately, while Statler waits to see Valerie, George the Janitor waters the plant, which grows and grows until it takes over the whole backstage area.

After Valerie's closing number with the Clodhoppers, Statler finally gets a chance to ask her out on a date. Valerie, a vegetarian, politely declines his offer of a steak dinner but considers noshing on the potted offspring of the berry bush that he gives her.

During the closing scene, Fozzie gets a rare opportunity to get back at Statler and Waldorf for their heckling. He plays the part of a bouncer, removing Statler from the stage.



Picture Description
"The Muppet Show Theme": Gonzo tries to hit the gong with a large mallet, but it collapses on top of him.

One of the few times an episode begins backstage, Kermit the Frog confronts George the Janitor about the mess backstage. George complains that it's because of all those Muppets "blowing their tops."

Guest star Valerie Harper arrives, excited to be on the show as she's a huge "Muppet freak." George counters the comment by claiming "Everyone on this show is a freak!" Valerie asks Kermit if she could do a big opening number on the show, but Kermit has already scheduled Bertha Beasley and Her Galloping Geese. When Kermit discovers that she has sabotaged that act, he allows Valerie to audition with "Broadway Baby," impersonating Marilyn Monroe and Mae West during it. When she is through, Kermit exclaims, "That was great! I tell ya, you're going to be going out on that stage a star, but you're coming back a chorus girl!"
Statler and Waldorf, impressed with Valerie's performance (and beauty), argue over who will go backstage to meet her. They decide to flip for her. Statler wins the flip.
The Swedish Chef adds cream and fruit to a chocolate cake, but as he goes to cut it, the cake loudly Japanese! The cake is instead dispatched by a "cakenschmooscher" (baseball bat).
Statler storms backstage, demanding to meet Valerie. He's even prepared an opening line for when he does: "Hiya, toots! You're some kinda hot looking tomato!" It's a very old line from a very old man. Statler tells Kermit about his gift for Valerie, an African berry bush. It grows at a rate of three feet an hour, except when it rains. Then it grows faster. Despite being told to leave, Statler sits backstage to wait for Valerie.
Muppet News Flash: The Newsman speaks with Mrs. Klinger (Valerie Harper) whose husband, Gus, has gradually turned into a rug and had to sue for divorce because he did not match the drapes.
A Poem by Rowlf: "The Butterfly." As Rowlf recites his poem, a small yellow butterfly flutters by. The poem is interrupted, however, when a giant butterfly catches Rowlf in its net and carries him offstage.
George, in his ignorance, waters Statler's plant for him. It immediately begins to grow out of control! Statler claims it will eat everything in sight!
At the Dance: The baseball bat strikes again, knocking the head off of a Blue Frackle.
UK Spot: Rowlf and Sam the Eagle perform "Tit Willow." Sam is eager to sing when he learns that it will be a cultural song. He quickly loses interest, however, when he hears the lyrics.
Floyd Pepper and two Whatnots sing "Searchin'" while seeking out Mary Louise.
Waldorf, jealous of his friend and left to his own devices, tries to amuse himself by making faces and tickling himself.
Kermit confronts Statler about his plant running amok. Statler tries to protest, quoting from the theater-goer's manual, but Kermit refers to his comments as a lot of hogwash. George, who was about to go wash the hogs, determines that Kermit does not want the hogs washed, and so dumps his bucket of water into the plant. It grows even more and catches Kermit in its vines.
Valerie, in search of a comb, is introduced to Bernie the makeup man, also known as the Easter Bernie.
Kermit has to don a pith helmet and cut through the berry-bush jungle just to get to his desk. Fozzie then informs Kermit that he will be unable to do his act. The plant ate his cue cards! Statler tells Kermit that if he'd only allowed him to meet Valerie, this whole mess could have been avoided. Kermit states, "The only person you're going to meet back here is Tarzan!" Tarzan's call is heard mere moments later which Statler says "I hope he's a good dancer!".
Wayne and Wanda sing "On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever)" as the fog rolls in.
Muppet News Flash: There is nothing written on the Newsman's paper.
In her dressing room, Kermit informs Valerie that she will have to perform her closing number with the Clodhoppers. She calls it a perfect fit, it's been so long since she's danced, she'll be a perfect clod.
Valerie sings "Nobody Does It Like Me" with the Clodhoppers.
120 plant.jpg
At the closing, Statler finally gets to meet Valerie, and presents her with a small African berry bush: the original's firstborn. He tries to invite Valerie to a steak dinner, but since she is a vegetarian, she agrees to just eat the plant instead.


  • This is Season One's most forward-looking episode, prefacing the developments of the next season. It begins with the scripted "spontaneity" of Valerie arriving at the theater and asking if she can do the opening number. She then "auditions" an elaborate number backstage, complete with quick costume changes. The sense that the Muppets don't know exactly what they're doing until they do it is an important part of the show's "controlled chaos" aesthetic, but this is the only episode in the first season where that's a major element.
  • This is Statler's first appearance backstage. He and Waldorf would later appear backstage in episode 517, in which they run The Muppet Show.
  • Statler reveals to Kermit that he has dated "Hayes, Langtry [Lily], and Barrymore." Kermit assumes the last means Ethel Barrymore, but Statler corrects him. It was actually Lionel Barrymore that he dated.
  • The three-headed monster, Tom, Dick, and Harry, makes his second and last appearance. The three heads get their names in this episode : three male names, although in the last episode, it was revealed that one of the three heads was a "she".



Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, Statler and Waldorf, George the Janitor, The Swedish Chef, Japanese Cake, The Newsman, Animal, Red-Haired Female Whatnot dancer, Herman, Loud Female Whatnot dancer, Zoot, Janice, Dr. Teeth, Mildred Huxtetter, Frackles, Sam the Eagle, Floyd Pepper, Mary Louise, Hilda, Bernie, Wayne, Wanda, The Clodhoppers, "Searchin'" Whatnot singers

Background Muppets:

Miss Piggy, Scooter, Tom, Dick, and Harry, Big Hand, Butterflies, Baseball Bat, Tarzan (unseen)

Referenced Characters:

Bertha Beasley and Her Galloping Geese


Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Waldorf, the Swedish Chef, the Newsman, Dr. Teeth, a Clodhopper, and the "Searchin'" Whatnot singers
Frank Oz as Fozzie Bear, George the Janitor, Animal, Mildred Huxtetter, Sam the Eagle, Mary Louise, and a Clodhopper
Jerry Nelson as Floyd Pepper, Herman, and the Loud Female Whatnot dancer
Richard Hunt as Statler, Wayne, the Japanese Cake
Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Zoot, and Blue Frackle
Eren Ozker as Hilda, Wanda, Janice, Female Green Frackle, and the Red-Haired Female Whatnot dancer
John Lovelady as Bernie


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