The very first season the the classic variety show, The Muppet Show – watch as Fozzie, Ms. Piggy, Gonzo and the others find out ‘who they are’, and how they change, week by week, into the characters that we now know and love.
- Mahna Mahna song by muppet performers, Juliet Prowse dances, At the Dance routine, Kermit “interviews” Juliet Prowse, Western sketch (“Fozzie the Kid” with Rowlf, “he’s got an apple; and the fuse is lit!”), Scooter and Fozzie Bear sing Simon Smith and His Dancing Bear, and concludes with the ‘Muppet Glee Club’ singing Temptation.
- Connie Stevens, and Bert and Ernie (from Sesame Street)
- The very first episode (the first filmed episode, anyway) starring Connie Stevens,, Kermit the frog singing Lydia the Tattooed Lady (Jim Henson’s favorite song – it was even performed at his funeral), the running subplot of Gonzo’s old teddy bear (‘that bear is the most beat-up thing I’ve ever seen – get rid of it!’) — leading Fozzie to think that they want to get rid of him, the introduction of the Swedish Chef (making rubber meatballs), Connie Stevens singing Teenager in Love, the ‘At the Dance’ sequence (where different characters are on the dance floor, really an excuse for the characters to pun around), Connie Stevens, Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear sing Close to You, Zoot & his sax, and Ernie & Bert (in a tuxedo) & Connie Stevens perform Some Enchanted Evening.
- Joel Grey
Singing Comedy Tonight, At the Dance, Joel Grey sings Willkommen, Joel Grey and Kermit talk, muppet performance of Pachalafaka, Fozzie Bear’s stand-up comedy, the singing duet of Wayne and Wanda sing Stormy Weather, and Joel Grey tries to cheer up the Great Gonzo by singing Razzle Dazzle.
- Ruth Buzzi
- Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem perform Sunny — with Animal continually increasing the tempo until they all collapse, a very funny subplot as a robotic host replaces Kermit the Frog, At the Dance, Wayne and Wanda attempt to sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Ruth Buzzi and Sweetums sing a very funny rendition of You’re Just Too Good to be True — one of the few times I actually felt sorry for Sweetums :), Ruth Buzzi and Kermit have a chat, Fozzie does his stand-up comedy, a truly funny skit with Ruth Buzzi as an interrogated spy — “We have ways of making you stop talking!”, and the Muppet Jug Band singing Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd
- Rita Moreno
- Rita Morena in a very funny skit with human-sized muppets in a ‘slapstick cafe’ routine, Veterinarian’s Hospital (starring Rowlf, Janice and Miss Piggy, with Fozzie Bear as this week’s patient), the subplot of a running gag with a telephone, allowing Fozzie to revel in his puns, the Swedish Chef makes flapjacks, At the Dance, the hammered music of Marvin Suggs and the Muppetphones, the weekly panel discusses ‘Is conversation a dying art?’, Rita and Kermit talk, Wayne and Wanda again fail to finish their song, Fozzie does his stand-up humor while being heckled by Statler and Waldorf, and Rita Moreno sings Fever.
- Jim Nabors
- Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem play Money, Scooter is introduced, Jim Nabors sings Gone with the Wind, At the Dance, Kermit talks with Jim Nabors, Fozzie is heckled, and Jim Nabors since, Thank God I’m a Country Boy with a large muppet cast.
- Florence Henderson
- Bouncing Borcelano Brothers, Florence Henderson sings Bright Elusive Butterfly of Love, At the Dance, Kermit (and Miss Piggy) talk to Florence, the weekly panel discussion, Fozzie Bear still being heckled, Florence Henderson and the Muppet monsters sing So Happy Together, and the (odd, in my opinion) Koozbanian Mating Ritual.
- Paul Williams
- Singing All of Me, Paul Williams sings Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song, Muppet Labs (with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant, Beaker) introduce the all-purpose tenderizer, Rowlf sings Silence, At the Dance, this week’s running gag culminates in Scooter and Fozzie doing the punnish skit, ‘The Telephone Pole’, Paul sings.
- Charles Aznavour
- One of the ‘anything muppets’ sings I Feel Pretty (a personal favorite), Charles Aznavour sings Dance the Old-Fashioned Way, Gonzo tries (and fails) to perform ‘rock art’, Rowlf, Janice and Piggy in another installments of Veterinarian’s Hospital, a cute sketch with the french Charles Aznavour and a muppet loaf of French bread, At the Dance, Charles Aznavour demonstrates to Kermit how to use French to drive Miss Piggy wild (“I think I’ve met the pig of my dreams … Piggy …”), the weekly panel, and ending with Charles Aznavour doing a very nice rendition of Inchworm.
- Harvey Korman
- I’m a huge fan of Harvey Korman, and this episode demonstrates why — Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem perform Atom Bomb, Animal is interviewed, Harvey Korman plays an animal trainer with one of the human-sized muppets, the weekly panel discusses the Meaning of Life, At the Dance, Harvey Korman and Kermit talk, Veterinarian’s Hospital, Wayne and Wanda meet yet another gruesome fate, and Fozzie Bear strikes out as a comedian again, and Kermit’s nephew Robin sings Halfway Down the Stairs.
- Lena Horne
- Lena Horne sings I Got a Name, At the Dance, Kermit talks with Lena Horne, the Swedish Chef fights with spaghetti, Lena and Gonzo sing, Lena Horne and the muppet cast sing Sing a Song.
- Peter Ustinov
- Peter Ustinov as a robotic diplomat at Muppet Labs, At the Dance, Peter and Fozzie tell a shaggy dog story, You Do Something to Me, Muppet News Flash, Wayne and Wanda perform Falling Leaves, the Muppet panel discusses psychiatry, while dealing with his jealousy Kermit sings It’s Not Easy Being Green.
- Bruce Forsyth
- Sandy Duncan
- This week’s subplot is the running gag of ‘the banana sketch’ by the legendary Gags Beasley, Sandy Duncan does a song and dance in a Muppet version of a bar, At the Dance, Sandy and Sweetums, Never Smile at a Crocodile, Veterinarian’s Hospital, Kermit and Sandy Duncan sing, Try to Remember the Kind of September.
- Candice Bergen
- Fozzie Bear’s running gag of delivering … things, Miss Piggy sings What Now My Love?, Candice Bergman sings Put Another Log on the Fire, the Muppet panel discusses travel, the Swedish Chef, That Face with different muppets doing portraits of Candice, Veterinarian’s Hospital, Candice Bergen and the Muppet cast sing You’ve Got to Have Friends.
- Avery Schreiber
- This week’s subplot has Miss Piggy using Scooter in an attempt to make Kermit jealous – meanwhile, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem sing Tenderly, Avery Schreiber duels with Sweetums (via insults), Muppet Labs demonstrates the not-quite-perfected Gorilla Detector, Fozzie Bear and Avery Schreiber in the classic ‘living painting’ sketch, At the Dance, Wayne and Wanda, Veterinarian’s Hospital, Avery Schreiber and Fozzie do a comedy act.
- Ben Vereen
- Boogie Woogie Music, Fozzie and the magic cabinet, Ben Vereen performs Mr. Cellophane, At the Dance, Kermit interviews Ben Vereen, At the Dance, Veterinarian’s Hospital, Wayne and Wanda, Ben Vereen performs Imagination.
- Phyllis Diller
- Mississippi Mud, Phyllis and Rowlf in a comedy routine, At the Dance, Kermit interviews Phyllis Diller, Hugga Wugga, Muppets Labs investigate exploding clothes, Veterinarian’s Hospital, Phyllis Diller plays the saxophone.
- Vincent Price
- Under My Skin, Vincent Price in a very funny ‘haunted house’ skit with Fozzie, Wayne and Wanda, the Muppet Panel discusses gourmet food, At the Dance, Muppet News Flash about furniture monsters, Vincent Price and the Muppet cast sing You’ve Got a Friend in Me.
Editorial review of The Muppet Show episode guide- Season 1, courtesy of Amazon.com
The charm, the zaniness, the corny jokes, the showbiz cliches–every element of The Muppet Show holds up 30 years after Jim Henson’s legendary variety series’ debut season. Well, perhaps not everything: Today’s younger viewers might have a hard time placing some of The Muppet Show’s then-guest stars, such as Florence Henderson or Ruth Buzzi. But then, the Show’s real celebrities are perennial icons Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo the … whatever, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and the rest of the Muppets’ harried, well-meaning family of entertainers. Season One finds the show pretty much in the basic shape longtime fans will remember: A musical introduction followed by backstage chaos, another musical number, a sketch, a scene with the guest star, and so on. A half-hour episode can fly by pretty quickly, but it’s interesting to note that the series hadn’t quite found its familiar tone through much of the first year. A reliance on too many disposable verbal jokes and redundant, so-so material for sketch fodder ultimately gives way to more creative premises and the development of key relationships between characters. By the final half-dozen episodes in the first season, The Muppet Show is truly cooking. Season highlights include Kermit’s confession to guest Juliet Prowse that he always wanted to be a dancer, and Prowse’s comparison of the little green superstar to Robert Redford. Joel Grey does a cabaret-style act for a roomful of Muppets and is later outraged when Kermit’s introduction of the actor proves so thorough there is nothing left for the latter to say. Rita Moreno proves quite game in a funny piece, set in a French cafe, in which her dance with a man-size Muppet turns from romantic to table-smashing violent. Harvey Korman plays bumbling ringmaster Maurice the Magnificent, easily the worst animal trainer in history. Phyllis Diller bats out shameless one-liners (“I sang ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,’ and it fell on me”), and Vincent Price toys with his own horror film image by playing a ghoul who turns into a maudlin orchestra conductor at midnight. —Tom Keogh