I Blogged Myself

Why do you always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like a kind of torture, To read this blog, y'know.

Welcome to the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational blog since Kermit left just a little bit of the swamp in his pants.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Muppet Question # 4 Answered

Elaine asked me the following question a little while ago:

At Wednesday, August 31, 2005 10:45:56 AM, Elaine said...

Do you have a favourite Muppet episode?

(I like the star wars episode)

Well, Lainey, thank you for asking. I must say I haven't thought about a favourite episode before. Certainly I've thought about the episodes that kind of disturbed me as a child, such as the one where the show was taken over by pigs, and to be frank, the Star Wars one was another that jarred with me.

Without meaning to sound disrespectful, allow me to point out why:

(I was quite young when I watched it, so bear that in mind as you read.)

The Muppet Show had its own sense of ‘reality’. The premise was always that a real personality from the entertainment industry would guest star on this televised theatrical variety show being put on by a band of freaks and weirdos, so that was fair enough. However, when the Star Wars ‘cast’ guest starred on the show in character, they committed the unthinkable sin of combining one fantasy world with another, thereby cheapening both. If this was to happen on a TV show like Charmed (bear with me here), and characters from M*A*S*H were to guest star, I hope you’d see how it would destroy both ‘realities’.

Perhaps a better example would be if the characters from Seinfeld had appeared in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s called jumping the shark, and generally signifies when a show has underestimated its audience and offended them by presuming they’re not intelligent enough to notice such a drastic changing of gears, storywise.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have anything against crossovers (if done well). For example, when Buffy the Vampire Slayer had crossovers with Angel, it made perfect sense. Both shows are set within the same ‘universe’. It makes sense. Let me say that again. It makes sense. But a series of science fiction films set ‘a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away’ crash-landing in a modern (at the time) variety show hosted by puppets went completely against the grain for me. Even as a kid I knew it was wrong.

I’m not saying there aren’t similarities between the two – both have puppet monsters and feature Frank Oz doing essentially the same voice for Fozzie / Yoda, but there’s a difference between two shows having similarities, and two shows belonging to the same ‘universe’. It was a shameless promotional scam and they took full advantage of the Frank Oz connection to publicise the film - which grated with me.

I also knew that in one of the fantasy worlds in question, nobody comes to any lasting harm, but in the other, death and injury are constant and serious threats. Suddenly I felt that the Muppets were in legitimate danger and it troubled me.

Yes, I took it all too seriously (and still do), but the point is, as an impressionable young child, these are the things that struck me and that I've carried with me into adulthood.

Whenever I see aliens crash-landing into a theatre now, I always find myself fretting for the lives of the monsters and talking animals made of curtain material who are running a dodgy televised variety show inside. Then I remember that I’ve just taken some rather strong drugs, and I relax.

But getting back to Elaine’s question, if you will allow me a chance to review the first season’s episodes on DVD (which I am about a quarter of my way through), I will give you my favourite episode from Season 1. Then I can list my favourite episode from each of the five seasons as they are released on DVD, and at the end of this process I’ll be able to determine my all-time favourite. I don't feel like I've seen them all recently enough to answer you conclusively at this point.

For now, though, let me say that the John Cleese and Gene Kelly episodes always held a special place in my heart. Right next to all the cheese I’ve stored away in there over the years.


At Wednesday, September 14, 2005 5:41:00 pm, Anonymous John B. said...

I don't think I ever saw the Star Wars episode, but I would have liked to see Darth Vader take a lightsaber to Fossie Bear. Him and the 'Pigs in Space' crew. That would justify the cheesy cross promotion.

At Wednesday, September 14, 2005 6:31:00 pm, Anonymous James Gregory said...

I liked it when Kermit was on. I liked that episode

At Wednesday, September 14, 2005 8:45:00 pm, Anonymous sbr said...

Speaking of crossovers, have a look here:


and especially here:


The second one is a great analysis of the whole crossover idea and the madness to which it leads.

At Thursday, September 15, 2005 9:47:00 am, Blogger elaine said...

oooh! Thanks Bevis. I like your analysis of the episode (I still like it though).

At Thursday, September 15, 2005 11:32:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

John B: I think it only featured Luke Skywalker, C-3PO and R2-D2 (although I may be wrong - does anyone else sorta remember Chewbacca appearing as well?), so unfortunately Darth wasn't there to use the force on Fozzie or anyone else. I still felt they were all in danger, though.

James Gregory: I agree, that was a good one.

SBR: Great links! I've just had an enjoyable (but long) read and have bookmarked the Crossovers website for further investigation later.

Elaine: No problem. And I'm glad you will continue to like the episode you like - as you should. I only ever speak for myself; not to convince others to change their minds. If you enjoyed that ep, I'm glad you did. It means I can't dismiss it out-of-hand as a 'jump the shark' moment, and hopefully that means The Muppet Show never stooped that low. Great!

At Saturday, September 17, 2005 8:39:00 pm, Blogger Brownie said...

Cleese Capt Hook: I've got a hat a hook and a parrot. Whadda ya think I am? A chartered accountant!

My other Magic Muppet Moment was Kris Kristofferson singing to Miss Piggy "Take the ribbon from your hair....."

Speaking of the Shark Jump: when did Roy and HG jump the shark they surely have?


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