TITLE: THE MUPPET SHOW - SEASON ONE
DVD Release Date: August 9, 2005 (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
Number of Discs: 4
Number of Episodes: 22 Half Hour Episodes
Running Time: 604 Minutes
Total Run Time of Special Features: approx. 30 minutes
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles: English, Muppet Morsels [see special features]
Special Features: The Muppet Show Pitch Reel; The
Muppet Show Original Pilot: Sex and Violence; Season
One Promo Gag Reel; and Muppet Morsels.
It’s time to raise the curtain on The Muppet Show!
Join Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, the Swedish
Chef, and more, in the first season of this
groundbreaking twist on the classic variety show!
What happens when you combine a show like Laugh-In
with a show like Sesame Street--the Muppet Show, of
As you’ll see if you view the pitch film on disc four,
The Muppet Show was a hilarious gang of nuts from the
very beginning. Admittedly, the last time I was able
to watch the show was when I was ten, so I was kind of
iffy if the quality of the show would hold up ten
years later. Still, I wanted to see the show again –
so when Buena Vista announced the season one set, I
was interested to say the least. Will the show hold
up in my eyes after ten years? Will I still find the
jokes as funny as I did when I was nine? Did Buena
Vista use original or syndicated prints? And what are
the names of the two old guys in the balcony that I
can never remember? All this and more follows!
Memorable Episodes / Notable Guest Stars:
Normally I’d do some talking about which episodes you
should watch specifically, and which episodes have
celebrity guests – but the Muppet Show is a different
animal (not to be confused with the character OF
Animal). EACH episode contains a special guest, and
the different segments are so varied that – while one
segment may be flat – the next could be classic.
Therefore, I’m simply going to go down the episode
list, list the celebrity, and make note of a few
Episode 1) Juliet Prowse: This is a classic – the
first episode of The Muppet Show. First off, those
of you who remember hilarious Dr. Pepper commercial
from a few months ago – the one where the woman,
drinking the Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, hears
everyone singing “Ma-na-ma-na…Do Do Do Do” – will be
delighted/surprised to discover that the first sketch
in Muppet Show history is actually three Muppets doing
Episode 2) Connie Stevens / Bert & Ernie: One of a
couple Sesame Street crossovers. First Swedish Chef
(outside the pilot)
Episode 3) Joel Grey
Episode 4) Ruth Buzzi
Episode 5) Rita Moreno
Episode 6) Jim Nabors
Episode 7) Florence Henderson
Episode 8) Paul Williams
Episode 9) Charles Aznavour - Charles demonstrates the
romantic power of his native language to Kermit,
winning over Miss Piggy by whispering to her in
French, "Your oil filter has a leak and your
transmission is sagging."
Episode 10) Harvey Korman
Episode 11) Lena Horne
Episode 12) Peter Ustinov features the song “It’s Not
Easy Being Green”
Episode 13) Bruce Forsyth
Episode 14) Sandy Duncan - This episode features the
recurring joke about the banana sketch. Oh, and Sandy
gets drunk and does a song & dance.
Episode 15) Candice Bergen
Episode 16) Avery Schreiber
Episode 17) Ben Vereen
Episode 18) Phyllis Diller - Phyllis Diller plays “The
Entertainer” on the sax with the Muppet Show band –
and it’s comedically bad.
Episode 19) Vincent Price
Episode 20) Valerie Harper - This season showcases the
controlled chaos that would be the show theme as the
series progresses. 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, complete with quick
costume changes, backstage.
Episode 21) Twiggy
Episode 22) Ethel Merman
Episode 23) Kaye Ballard
Episode 24) Mummenschanz (They’re a mime troupe).
This is the last-produced episode of season one.
Gonzo loves Miss Piggy…also, Thirty days has
September, April, June, and Fozzie’s Cousin Fred, who
gets out on Wednesday.
The front cover of the package is quite interesting.
The cover art has been known for sometime – it’s green
with yellow spikes, in a design similar to Kermit.
What wasn’t known was that the front cover is actually
made of a type of fabric designed to feel like genuine
Kermit-skin. It’s a small touch that shows that
someone at Buena Vista wanted this set to be “special”
(it IS the Muppets’ 50th anniversary), and put the
necessary creative touches in to make it feel that
way. Reverse cover is solid green with a couple of
pictures – one has several Muppets jumping, one is a
solo picture of Miss Piggy, and the other is a solo
shot of Gonzo. The interior disc holder has some
nicely done art. The front cover has a picture of
Kermit covering the entire cover. The back cover has
a red cover, with Kermit, Fozzie, and Miss Piggy’s
feet showing under the curtain. There’s an interior
cover with several main characters featured. The art
in the information sleeve and behind the discs is a
simple red curtain.
Package is similar to that used for several other
releases, most notably The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and
Murphy Brown’s first seasons. The packaging is a
digipak, with two molded plastic holders. The first
holder holds discs one and two (D1 overlaying D2),
while the other holds D3 and D4 in the same overlaying
Disc covers are straightforward. Disc One features
Kermit on the cover, and holds the first six shows.
Disc two features Miss Piggy on the cover, and
contains episodes 7-13. Disc three has Fozzie Bear
on the cover, and features shows 14-19. The final
disc has Animal on the cover, and holds shows 20-24,
and the special features (aside from the Muppet
Morsels alternate subtitle track, which is on all four
There’s a $5 rebate offer included in the set, valid
with proof of purchase (in-case proof of purchase tab
in addition to store receipt) of both The Muppet Show
Season 1 DVD set and The Muppets Wizard of Oz DVD/VHS.
Menu Design and Navigation:
Menus are excellent. A screen of various-colored
blocks rotates around in a V-like fashion, revealing
the main menu. At various points, the blocks with the
show logo flip around, and Statler and Waldorf (the
two old guys in the balcony) say one of several
various things. If you don’t choose a menu option
after a certain amount of time, they even comment
about your not choosing to play the show (they THANK
you). Each option (Play All, Episode Selection, Set
Up, Muppet Morsels, and Special Features) are all on
an individual block. Selecting a block will cause the
blocks to flip, and a sub-menu (blocks with a certain
color scheme, with several blocks removed) will open
up. The options for each submenu are in the part
where blocks have been removed. Episode selection
menus (Miss Piggy themed) offer a screenshot of the
episode guest, as well as the episode name. Text
links at the bottom offer to take you to either
episode selection menu page 1 (Ex: 1-3) or page two
(Ex: 4-6). For what it’s worth – the episodes are
included in the disc in production order. The
original air order is so erratic that production order
simply works best.
Video and Audio Quality:
The video looks magnificent! The folks at Buena
Vista outdid themselves. The video looks superb for a
show that aired 30 years ago. The colors could stand
to be a little bit more vivid – but from what I
remember from the 90s reruns, the color then wasn’t
much worse. Audio is somewhat soft, and could stand
to be louder, but it’s still definitely audible. The
music sounds as good, if not better, than most other
releases from the same era. It’s a Dolby Digital 2.0
track, however don’t be misled by the 2.0, the sound
coming out both speakers is nearly 100% identical.
There are no chapter stops, but this is one of the few
sets where I genuinely feel there shouldn’t be. Every
segment is important to the show, from the
introduction of the guest star and joke by Fozzie in
the opening, to the goodbyes. As for the closing
credits…well…if you’re doing Play All, it’s a great
time to go to the bathroom – just make it back before
the last joke Statler & Waldorf One of the FEW times
I’m glad to see a studio didn’t do chapter stops.
Some may prefer them anyway, but for once, I’m
actually happy they didn’t.
Most episodes run about 25 minutes, but there are some that appear to be edited.
List of Edits:
Episode 3: Joel Grey:
Sketch: "Muppet Newsflash"
Song: "Stormy Weather", Wayne & Wanda-w/comments from Statler & Waldorf
There's actually a bit added compared to the original listing I have - a small bit between Gonzo, Joel, with guest spot by a Banana.
Episode 6: Jim Nabors
Song: "Gone With The Wind", Jim-w/comments from Statler & Waldorf
"The Danceros" -A four legged dancing creature
Strange Sketch Order in 2nd Quarter of Show
Episode 8: Paul Williams:
Song: All of Me
Episode 9: Charles Aznavour
Song: "The Old Fashioned Way", Charles-w/comments from Statler & Waldorf
Episode 19: Vincent Price
Song: "You’ve Got A Friend", Vincent & The Monster
I don't have the resources to see if any specific lines were cut out of any scenes (doubtful), almost all edits are music edits). Pitchfilm MAY have had a line cut out - it's possible, but I didn't notice anything condusive
to an edit.
Original Pilot (Sex and Violence) runs 25:22, so I doubt it's edited. Pitchfilm is 2:51...
Four special features in the set – and all four are
The Muppet Show Pitch Reel (2:50): Before networks
commission a pilot, they’re shown a brief presentation
or film to convince them to put down the money to pay
for one 30/60 minute test episode of a show.
Included in this set is the pitch film for The Muppet
Show – and it’s hilarious. It starts out with an
executive Muppet doing straight-laced info about Jim
Henson and George Slaughter. The first sign of the
direction of the pitch film happens about a minute in,
when the eyes of Jim and George in the photos suddenly
shift, and look at the Muppet. As for the rest,
well, watch for yourself. Quite simply, this pitch
film is so hilarious that had I been in the boardroom
making the decision, I quite possibly would have
considered a 13 episode order based SOLELY on this –
forget the pilot.
The Muppet Show Original Pilot “Sex and Violence”
(25:33): First, I want to discuss an interesting
thing that happened at the end of this pilot: The
camera zoomed out, and for one of the rare times, you
could actually see the people controlling the Muppets
– a rare shot. The pilot was a bit more adult than
the series was – it started with an announcer saying
“Ladies and Gentlemen – the end of sex and violence on
television”, followed by the words “Sex” and
“Violence”, carved in stone, blowing up. There’s also
the “Seven Deadly Sins Pageant,” “Mount Rushmore
Standup,” Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem, the debut
of The Swedish Chef, Pro Wrestling, several
slow-dance segments that talks about, among other
things, how the show jumps around (think your typical
dance on Laugh-In, but with slow-dancing), and much
more. Anyone familiar with the pacing of an episode
of Laugh-In will feel right at home here – there’s a
remarkable similarity in the timing and quick-hit
pacing of bits and sketches.
Season One Promo Gag Reel (1:46): Just want to clarify
something first – this is a gag reel consisting of
hi-jinks that happened during the filming of promos.
Both the actual promos involved and the gag reel of
bloopers from the series itself are in this set – it’s
bloopers from the promo reel. There’s only a few, but
they’re pretty funny.
Muppet Morsels (no time): By choosing the “Muppet
Morsels” option on any of the first three discs, or
the same option within “Bonus Features” on disc four,
you can access a secondary subtitle track on each of
the episodes. The morsels are scattered across all
the episodes. One example; For example: Did you know
that Jim Henson had a fondness for masquerade balls,
and threw them often in New York. They manage to fill
25 minutes of episode length 24 times with this kind
of valuable information (a lot of it IS better than my
Buy this set now - there’s a link at the end of this
review. There, I got it out of the way. This set is
GOOD…really good. The Muppet Show may seem like a
“kids show,” but it’s often far from.
After having not seen the show in ten years, I can honestly say, a decade later, the show
still holds up in my eyes. Really,
it’s a comedy show for all ages that just happens to
use the Muppets, and feature a couple of crossovers
with Sesame Street; not to mention that the show looks
and sounds great. The only thing missing, in my
view, from the set was commentary. Frank Oz is still
alive, and there are still more than a few people
associated with the show – not to mention the
celebrity guests – that could spend some time doing
commentary. Aside from the occasionally quirky one,
the Muppet Morsels are also a cool – and rare –
feature that I hope are continued for the hopeful
second season set.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 3/5
Menu Navigation/Design: 4.5/5
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 07/31/05 (edited 08/05/05).
To order the DVD click below and help support SitcomsOnline.com:
Please e-mail me with your sitcom related questions, sitcoms to add, and suggestions for additional links. © 1999-2014, Todd Fuller Contact Form