The Muppet Show - Season One is a great 4 disk DVD box set. It is so well done, and so full of life that I found it almost infectious. It would be hard to watch this show without being affected by it. In fact you can’t see Kermit, Fozzy, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Ralph and all the other Muppets and not remember why you loved this show so much in the first place. Yeah, they have some cool guest stars, but my favorite moments are when they just let the cameras focus on our puppet friends.
I think what makes these shows work so well is that they are both equally good for adults as well as children. An adult can watch this show and not feel that they are being “talked down to”. A kid can watch this show and they won’t be clueless to what The Muppets are talking about. In some ways, this show seemed to advance the learning curve by just putting ideas and thoughts on the screen and hoping that the audience would go with it. As it turned out, we were more then happy to take the journey that Jim Henson and Co. were going to be sending us on.
I think what I really love about these shows is the tenderness of The Muppets. Sure, Miss Piggy won’t hesitate to slug somebody, and yeah, some of the Muppets might seem a bit “out there”, but I really think that Henson was creating an allegory for our world. We all are different and we should be defined by what makes us all different, just like we should respect what makes us the same.
I would recommend The Muppet Show - Season One to anybody who is interested in children's and adult entertainment for ANY age.
Original Pitch Reel
This is really cool. As far as I know, this is the pitch that Jim Henson put together to convince the suits to pony up the money to make this show. In hindsight, how could this have not been a success? I mean, you have a puppet on the screen, in a very adult way, stating it’s case for why The Muppet Show me made and put on TV. The fact that Henson boldly called out the TV execs that could say “Yes” or “No” to his vision is something that is truly hilarious. When you realize he is doing this through a Muppet, the joke is even funnier. This is a really nice piece of nostalgia for Muppet fans as this pitch kick started the show.
Original “Muppet Show” Pilot
There was a host named Nigel before there was Kermit? Who knew? The show had a different title? I never knew that. I mean, I know that when a show goes from being a pilot, to a legitimate, on the air, weekly show that things are going to change, but I had no idea that they could change a show with puppets so much? Another really interesting thing is that the tone of this variety show, is very much in line with how The Muppet show’s were when they were “regular” shows on TV. I just love that this show was taken seriously and that because of that we are able to celebrate it the way we are now.
Muppet Morsels and Gag Reel
I love text commentary’s like this because we can watch the show, and then be given little tidbits that comment on the action taking place on the big screen. We get to find out when certain episodes were shot, fun facts about the guest stars and many other cool things that you may or may not know. Also, for young kids watching this, they can learn something and improve their reading skills at the same time. The gag reel was a bit different because it’s not like the performers messed up their lines. It basically seems like candid moments that were captured of The Muppets cutting loose. Personally, I enjoyed all this stuff.
1.33:1 - Full Frame. As these shows were from 1976, they obviously have the TV look from that time. Not that this is a bad thing at all. I love the cozy quality about this show and I appreciate that not everything is lit to be extra bright. Not that I mind that when I watch kids shows today, but The Muppet Show seemed to be trying to do things differently. To have a dark side without getting too dark. Yet, it is in this sort of gray area that Henson seemed to love playing with the audiences expectations. These are puppets after all, but why should they act like it? The fact that Kermit or Fozzy can come on the screen and talk about things that are “only for adults”, really turns on it’s head all the ideas and expectations that people have about what is and isn’t for kids. At the very least, Henson probably did a very good job of getting the family’s of the world together to watch TV. While this might not seem like that amazing of a feat, any time spent with loved ones is better then no time at all, right?
Dolby Digital Sound. These disks are also digitally mastered. The sound is flawless. As there is a great deal of singing, and back and forth bantering, the sound needs to be at it’s level best because this is what carries the show. Sure, there are a lot of cool visuals happening, but I really get a kick out of the way these characters talk to each other. Sure, there are segments of the episodes that are life lessons, but for the most part The Muppets seem to be just having a good time. I know that these shows were obviously scripted, but they really don’t seem like it. They are seamless in how the segments and themes blend into one another.
The packaging is a part of Kermit the Frog’s stomach. In fact the front cover (which is green and yellow), has a piece of semi-fuzzy fabric on it! No, I am not kidding. The back features some pictures from the various episodes, a description of the shows, an extras listing and a minor technical specs list. The four disk set folds out and there are pictures of Kermit, Fozzy, Miss Piggy and Gonzo for each disk. The background for this fold out is the famous red curtain from the show. There are other pictures of The Muppets inside as well. I really like how economical the packaging is. While not in the plastic cases that I have come to like so much, this packaging is just fine for this 4 disk set.
The ability to straddle the worlds of being cute and fuzzy, while at the same time being mature and edgy is a feat that is nothing short of brilliant. When you realize that Jim Henson and the people behind The Muppets were able to do this for not only multiple shows, but multiple seasons, I think it is safe to say that Henson was a genius. While watching these DVDs, and seeing show after show unspool on my DVD player, I was very impressed with the high level of material that carried on from show to show. I think some people just look at The Muppets as being something for children, but as I stated above, I truly feel that this was a show that had the ability to go deeper, without calling attention to the fact that it was doing just that.
The Muppet Show - Season One should be in every DVD collector’s collection. In fact, President Bush should declare not owning The Muppet box set to be an act of treason. Okay, that might going a little bit overboard but after watching 604 minutes of The Muppets, forgive me if I feel the need to take things a little bit over the top myself.