It’s time to meet the Muppets on Disney+. This past week, Disney+ added the original “Muppet Show” that aired from 1976 to 1981. Recently, the “Muppets” franchise was rebooted with two films, “The Muppets” and its sequel “Muppets Most Wanted.” In addition to this, the “Muppet Show” also received a reboot with “Muppets Now” on Disney +. The rebooted Muppets Universe, unfortunately, is highly underrated. The “Muppet Show” is a variety sketch show, much like Saturday Night Live (SNL), featuring musical numbers, recurring sketches and episode plotlines. The show stars Kermit the Frog and his many friends. The voice cast includes Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson and Richard Hunt.
One special aspect of the show is that each episode has a different guest star from popular culture. Some of my favorite guest stars include: Elton John, Alice Cooper, Julie Andrews, Harry Belafonte, Don Knotts, Mark Hamill, Liza Mennelli, Carol Burnett and Debbie Harry.
Musicians typically act in a skit and perform a couple of songs with Muppets included as background singers. For example, Elton John sings a duet with Miss Piggy on “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” and it’s just as entertaining as you would think it’d be as Miss Piggy rather provocatively kisses him throughout and tells Kiki Dee to “eat her heart out.” Another fun episode is the Alice Cooper episode, which differs from other episodes as it appears that Henson opted to use some of the props and muppets from “Dark Crystal” or “Labyrinth,” offering a stark contrast from the usual cheery atmosphere of the show. The episode reaches its climax as Cooper dresses as a demon and sings “School’s Out” while being attacked by giant Muppets in cheerleading uniforms.
Another fun episode sees Carol Burnett unwillingly participating in a dance marathon with the Muppets. Her dance partner, Animal, almost drives her to her wit’s end. Bringing her usual comedy and life, Burnett is the only person that can keep up with the Muppets’ crazy antics, giving them a run for their money.
“The Muppet Show” also debuted to Disney+ with a little controversy. Various episodes have received Disney’s newest content disclaimer for racist and offensive material. The warning states that “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”
Despite having this warning in place for some episodes, Disney+ failed to include a content warning for the Johnny Cash episode as Cash sings in front of a large confederate flag. Many fans have flocked to social media to voice their opinion over the content warning. One group of fans has displayed their dissatisfaction towards Disney+ for giving the show a content disclaimer in the first place, while another group of fans has voiced their anger at Disney+ for not giving a content disclaimer for the Johnny Cash episode. At the time of writing this article, the episode as of yet still does not have a content warning.
Despite these controversies, “The Muppet Show” truly exists as a silly, yet entertaining, show for those young and old alike. It’s time to start your “Muppet Show” binge, streaming now exclusively on Disney+.