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The team prepares to operate.

Nurse Piggy prepares to go on.

Behind the Scenes of Episode 313

Veterinarian's Hospital is a recurring Muppet Show sketch, loosely spoofing the atmosphere of medical soap operas.

Dr. Bob (played by Rowlf the Dog), Nurse Piggy (Miss Piggy), and Nurse Janice confer over a series of patients, telling an endless series of bad jokes and failing to effect any cure. The patient was often a character from an earlier sketch in the episode.

In the first season, the unseen Announcer was played by John Lovelady, who opened each sketch with, "And now, the continuing story of a former orthopedic surgeon who's gone to the dogs." Jerry Nelson, who occasionally substituted for Lovelady, would take over the role full time in subsequent seasons. Nelson's announcer opens the sketch with, "And now, the continuing stoooory of a quack who's gone to the dogs," and ends each sketch with "Tune in next week when you'll hear [Character Name] say..."

After the completion of The Muppet Show in 1981, the further antics of Dr. Bob's operating room were told in the panels of The Muppets comic strip by Guy and Brad Gilchrist. Examples from the earliest strips made their debut on October 21st and 28th, and December 8th; the last two of which feature Fozzie returning to the hospital bed once again. Later strips took the trio outside of their familiar setting and even split the characters up to inspire a variety of circumstances. Some of these can be found in the pages of six book collections of the series released by Tom Doherty Associates. More "Veterinarian's Hospital" sketches were included in the books It's The Muppet Show! and The Comic Muppet Book. A Veterinarian's Hospital comic strip was written and illustrated for Disney Adventures, but never published until the release of the trade paperback of The Muppet Show Comic Book: Meet the Muppets. Additionally, Issue #2: Fozzie's Story and Issue #4: Miss Piggy's Story include the sketch.

When the Muppet gang returned to television in 1989 with The Jim Henson Hour, Vet's Hospital was revived in a sense as "Merlin the Magician, MD," two medieval sketches (seen in episode 102 and 107) in which Rowlf appeared as the wizard Merlin (accompanied by a female assistant). Like Dr. Bob, Merlin would purportedly cure people's medical problems (this time using magic), making jokes and slinging puns all the while. In the Muppets' 1996 series Muppets Tonight, the Muppets, this time led by Dr. Fozzie, would again revisit the pun-filled medical sketch with the recurring segment "E-I-E-I-OR".

In 2003, Sababa Toys released a set of plush dolls featuring the Vet's Hospital cast and a patient, Camilla. Palisades Toys also planned on a set of Vet's Hospital action figures, but the toys were not produced.


The Muppet Show Season 1

Picture Patient Episode Description
Fozzie Bear Episode 105: Rita Moreno Janice is late because she was operating in the other booth. ("I know, it's the talk of the hospital," says Dr. Bob.) Fozzie is the patient, and when he considers leaving, Janice tells him that Dr. Bob is the only one who can save him. Dr. Bob claims to have saved over 500 last year (dollars, not patients), but he also lost over 100 pounds (not in weight, but in England).
Dead Patient Episode 109: Charles Aznavour The patient, a furry blue thing, is dead.
Hiccuping Patient Episode 110: Harvey Korman A patient has the hiccups, but Dr. Bob is more concerned with his own problems, such as being overworked and underpaid. The patient eventually explodes, and decides to quit while he's ahead.
Duck Episode 113: Bruce Forsyth The patient is a duck, but Dr. Bob keeps confusing it with a chicken. The duck constantly yells "Duck!" when someone says he's a chicken, but the doctors take it as a sign that something is about to fall down. Finally, something does fall down: a lamp, which lands on Dr. Bob's head.
Old Man Episode 114: Sandy Duncan Dr. Bob leaves his watch inside an old blue Whatnot.
Behemoth Episode 115: Candice Bergen Behemoth is at the hospital for a tummy ache and a sore throat. Dr. Bob hits his tummy with a hammer, giving him a tummy ache, but the patient explains that he has a sore throat and wants it to go away. Turns out he has a frog in his throat, and it's Kermit. Kermit, quite annoyed, threatens to cancel the skit.
Chicken Episode 116: Avery Schreiber Dr. Bob operates on a chicken (the chicken puppet only has one eyelid).
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George the Janitor Episode 117: Ben Vereen George is the patient, but he doesn't feel any better at this hospital. Dr. Bob is told that he has given the hospital a bad name, and he agrees...Fred is a terrible name for a hospital. An alternate take of this sketch was included on The Muppet Show album.
Bread Episode 118: Phyllis Diller The patient is a talking loaf of bread. What does Dr. Bob make of it? Toast!

The Muppet Show Season 2

Picture Patient Episode Description
Thing Episode 201: Don Knotts The Screaming Thing from "The Windmills of Your Mind" is the patient. He has three left feet, but also left two feet in Cincinnati.
Fozzie Returns Episode 204: Rich Little Fozzie is back in the hospital.
At the Dance Episode 206: Nancy Walker Two sketches are accidentally scheduled at once: Veterinarian's Hospital and At the Dance.
Telephone Episode 210: George Burns Dr. Bob operates on a telephone and prescribes a local anaesthetic -- "Long distance costs too much!"
Cow Episode 211: Dom DeLuise The audience demands to see Miss Piggy. The patient is a cow, and Dr. Bob and both nurses make several cow jokes. This sketch was released on It's The Muppets: More Muppets, Please!
Shoe Episode 212: Bernadette Peters Dr. Bob operates on a shoe with a coated tongue, while exchanging 'shoe business' jokes. This sketch was released on Muppet Moments.
Shakespeare Jokes Episode 213: Rudolf Nureyev While operating on a piglet, Dr. Bob and company recite a string of Shakespearean puns.
Baskerville the Hound Episode 214: Elton John Dr. Bob and company try to figure out what breed Baskerville is.
Dr. Bob Does a Sketch Twice Episode 215: Lou Rawls Dr. Bob lost another one of his patients. By the end of the sketch, he asks who the Announcer is, and the Announcer answers, "I'm the guy who says, 'Welcome to Veterinarian's Hospital, the continuing stoooory of a quack who's gone to the dogs...'" and the sketch is repeated (with slightly adjusted jokes). This sketch was released on Muppet Treasures.
Hungry Operating Table Episode 220: Petula Clark Dr. Bob's patient is sinking... into the operating table, that is.
Vegetarian's Hospital Episode 224: Cloris Leachman Dr. Bob and Nurse Janice have been replaced by Doctor Pig and Nurse Pig. This sketch was a UK Spot.

The Muppet Show Season 3

Picture Patient Episode Description
Train Conductor Episode 308: Loretta Lynn The patient is a train conductor, who can only say "All aboard!"
The Swedish Chef Episode 309: Liberace What starts as a Swedish Chef sketch finishes with Vet's Hospital, as the hospital staff discover the chef has a rare case of in-grown coffee pot.
Spanish Dancer Episode 312: James Coco One of the Spanish Dancers who have been showing up throughout the show has acute appendicitis. Meanwhile, James Coco thinks the sketch needs "razzle-dazzle" and sends in some dancing chorus-girls.
Recording Room Sound Guy Episode 313: Helen Reddy One of the sound men from the "Blue" number appears as the patient.
Hawaiian Pig Episode 320: Sylvester Stallone One of the pigs from the "Hawaiian War Chant" number is the patient.
Cluckitis Episode 321: Roger Miller Everyone in the theater catches "Cluckitis" and turns into chickens, including the Vet's Hospital cast and their patient.

The Muppet Show Season 4

Picture Patient Episode Description
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Old Lady Episode 404: Dyan Cannon One of the old ladies from Geri and the Atrics is the patient.
Robin the Frog Episode 406: Linda Lavin In honor of Kermit's birthday, Robin makes an appearance on the operating table. Piggy demands that he will call her Aunt Piggy.
Kermit the Frog Episode 410: Kenny Rogers Kermit is the patient. Dr. Bob and Nurse Janice crack jokes about both Kermit's condition and Nurse Piggy's love for him. This sketch was released on It's The Muppets: Meet the Muppets.
Best Sketch of the Year? Episode 412: Phyllis George Veterinarian's Hospital and Pigs in Space are nominated for Best Sketch in the Fred Awards, so Doctor Bob practices his acceptance speech.
Pig Patient Episode 413: Dizzy Gillespie A pig keeps coming back into the operating room because he has fallen in love with Nurse Piggy.
Dr. Bob Episode 418: Christopher Reeve Christopher Reeve replaces Dr. Bob while Bob is the patient.
Bunnies Episode 421: Doug Henning As a result of Fozzie's magic trick gone wrong, bunnies keep coming out of the operating table.
Rabbit Episode 422: Andy Williams This sketch was released on Muppet Treasures.
On the Swinetrek Episode 423: Carol Channing On Pigs in Space, Piggy's feet hurt because her shoes are too small. Dr. Bob and Nurse Janice come to the rescue, but can't seem to break through the invisible shield.

The Muppet Show Season 5

Picture Patient Episode Description
Beauregard Episode 501: Gene Kelly Beauregard is worried sick because he thinks that the world is coming to an end. The sketch ends with "a sign" he was waiting for: the Announcer falling on him.
Nurse Loretta Episode 502: Loretta Swit Loretta Swit replaces Nurse Piggy. This sketch was released on The Kermit and Piggy Story.
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Pinocchio Episode 508: Seรฑor Wences Pinocchio is at the hospital because his nose grows every time he tells a lie.
Conga Episode 510: Jean-Pierre Rampal Marvin Suggs lies on the operating table and starts a conga line to the beat of his heart and the operating instruments, along with Dr. Bob, Nurse Janice, Nurse Piggy and several patients. This sketch was not introduced as a Veterinarian's Hospital sketch.
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Gonzo Episode 511: Paul Simon Gonzo is only in the hospital for laughs. This sketch was a UK Spot.
The Weather Man Episode 516: Gladys Knight The theater's roof has been removed. The patient is a singing weatherman, who predicts the weather in song.
In the Dark Episode 522: Buddy Rich While all the lights are out, Dr. Bob tries to operate on one of the electricians who tried to fix the lighting problem in the theater and got a shock.
Viking Episode 524: Roger Moore The patient is one of the pig vikings from the opening number "In the Navy".

Additional Sketches (Non-Muppet Show)

Picture Description
The Muppet Show Comic Book:
The Muppets episode "Generally Inhospitable"

Rowlf guest stars on Up Late with Miss Piggy and performs as Dr. Bob with Janice.
The Muppets Take the Bowl

Danny Trejo appears as the patient in a pre-taped sketch.
The Muppet Babies Show 048.jpg
Muppet Babies episode "The Muppet Babies Show"

Baby Rowlf and Baby Piggy operate on Baby Fozzie's rubber chicken.

Honorable mentions

  • The Pigs in Space sketch from episode 423 features a cameo appearance by Dr. Bob and Nurse Janice who appear to help alleviate First Mate Piggy's sore feet, thus merging two of the more well-known recurring Muppet Show sketches. (When the Announcer closes the sketch, Dr. Bob comments, "We have him at the hospital, too.")


From A Muppet Crew Presentation

  • The production staff of The Muppet Show parodied the segment in a wrap party video shot at the end of the show's first season. The sketch featured Richard Holloway as "Nurse Richard" with the team performing surgery on a script.

See also

External links