Ed Grimley on Muppets Tonight


"Herbie" the puppet

SCTV (Second City Television) was a Canadian television sketch comedy show which ran in various incarnations from 1976 to 1984, first in syndication, then on CBC Television, on NBC (as SCTV Network 90), and finally on Cinemax. A blend of sitcom and sketch humor, the series focused on the SCTV station in the small town of Melonville, its eccentric staff, and array of programming (including movie spoofs and celebrity impersonations). By the time it reached NBC, most episodes featured wraparound plot lines or themes involving the station.

Several fictional characters from the show have crossed-over into the Muppet universe as celebrity cameos (performed by the original actor), or were re-worked slightly for their appearances.

Muppet Mentions

The March 24, 1977 broadcast of SCTV, from the show's first season, included a Sesame Street spoof called "Philosophy Street." The opening titles announced it as a Children's Television Workshop production, including the opening bars of the Sesame Street theme. The sketch parodied the pedagogy of Sesame Street by substituting philosophical concepts for letters and numbers, as demonstrated in several short segments.

  • In front of a brownstone (not unlike 123 Sesame Street), a kid (Dave Thomas) tosses pennies, until he's interrupted by a bespectacled know-it-all (Eugene Levy), who lectures him on "Factual Judgment" and "Value Judgment" (with the words appearing on the screen). The expert concludes that feelings and knowledge are as inseparable when making a Value Judgment as "ignorance and slum living," and is punched out by the kid.
  • Mr. Willis (John Candy), a Mr. Hooper-style storekeeper, greets Herbie (a commercial Oscar the Grouch hand puppet toy, performed by Catherine O'Hara). Herbie's mom sent him to buy materialism, but he's not sure which kind. When Mr. Willis offers either Dialectical Materialism or Mechanistic Materialism, Herbie gives up, and buys gumballs instead.
  • In a comparative sketch, based on various Sesame Street inserts demonstrating opposites or relational concepts like sizes, three weightlifters (played by Levy, Joe Flaherty, and Harold Ramis) demonstrate "Realism," "Idealism," and "Existentialism."
  • In the concluding sketch on the street, the know-it-all returns to ask the kid if he understands the difference between value judgments and factual judgments. The kid pulls a gun and demands the other's wallet. A gunshot is heard, and a superimposed title reads "Philosophy Street. Not a good street for learning."


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