The Muppet Show: Season One (review)

There may be no greater touchstone among the childhood entertainments of Generation X than The Muppet Show, which introduced a whole new crop of kiddies to the comedic possibilities of vaudeville and “variety” while celebrating a gang of wildly different creatures who didn’t merely work together but created their own unique family dynamic. Our parents had Carol Burnett and Sonny & Cher — we had the Swedish chef, Gonzo the Great, and the snide asides of Waldorf and Statler. I don’t think it’s too great an overstatement to say that this one gloriously silly, deeply profound show had a greater affect on the group character of Generation X than any other single influence. Not all the characters had yet been fully realized when the series debuted in 1976 — Miss Piggy, in particular, feels rather unformed — but the self-referential and self-deprecating attitude is already in full swing in these wonderfully frantic episodes, as well as the sweet sadness of so many of the deeply flawed and achingly melancholy Muppets, like Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear. The guest list is a who’s who of 70s pop culture — Connie Stevens, Joel Grey, Jim Nabors, Rita Moreno, Florence Henderson, Sandy Duncan, Paul Williams, Harvey Korman — but we kids didn’t know that at the time. We just knew we could sing the theme song by heart and couldn’t wait for each new episodes. Extras include pop-up trivia tracks on all episodes, the hilarious original pitch reel, a gag reel, and the series’ original pilot.

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