The Muppet Show episode 21 review

Episode 21 of The Muppet Show features a guest appearance from model-turned-actress Twiggy. Here’s Glen’s review…

This episode’s guest star was one of the biggest models of the 60s and 70s whose iconic image has, no doubt, adorned many a wall over the years. After retiring from modelling in 1970, Twiggy embarked in a career on stage and screen, and at the time of her Muppet Show appearance had a few credits to her name including The Boyfriend, which saw her win two Golden Globes, a brief appearance in Ken Russell’s The Devils and made her West End debut in a performance of Cinderella.  

The opening sketch and musical number is the headache-inducing Dance performed by an assortment of Day-Glo feather dusters. The contrast between the brightly coloured dusters and the black background is pretty poor, with levels of blur around each and every movement that’s made, which is constant, and as such, I found this segment more irritating than entertaining.

Another sketch that failed to do it for me was Twiggy’s performance of A.A. Milne’s The King’s Breakfast, which saw the guest star play the role of the milkmaid as she recited the poem. The material is strong, but the delivery came off a little too much like Playschool for me, so I found it to be a little tedious and below the level of wit shown by much of the material seen so far this series.

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Other than that, though, Twiggy was an engaging guest star who showed some great comedic timing and a rather good singing voice. The Muppets News Flash segment, where she plays a woman who has consumed a tractor due to her iron deficiency, is one of the better offerings off this segment seen so far, even if it does fall some way behind the sketch in the Vincent Price episode.

Twiggy’s two musical numbers were a heartfelt rendition of The Beatles’ In My Life, as she performs facing a slideshow of pictures from her modelling days, with a sense of loss to her voice. Perhaps a bit more emotive than much of the material seen in the series so far, this still remains a musical highlight for me.

The other musical number is a rendition of Irving Taylor’s Ain’t Nobody’s Business But My Own, where she plays one half of a bickering couple at the centre of the song’s narrative, with the Gogolala Jubilee Jugband. Very different to her earlier performance, this is still a very strong song and another that could be a contender for one of the best of the series so far.

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The phantom of the Muppet Show theme seems quite out of place here, and would really have benefited from being used in the Vincent Price episode. As such, it makes much of the backstage interactions seem at odds with the rest of the material contained in the show, of which the Twiggy material is very much the best the show has to offer.

I have to admit that, going into this episode, my expectations were quite low. I really was expecting this to be the one that broke the run of good episodes, but I was pleasantly surprised. Twiggy may not have been the most accomplished of guest stars this series, but she took to the material with a high level of enthusiasm and was really quite good. Sure, The King’s Breakfast Sketchwas a little poor, but apart from that, she showed off her rather impressive singing voice and solid stage presence that could handle comedy as well as more emotional content.

So, ultimately, this one’s a bit of a mixed bag, but by no means a disappointment, and there’s enough quality here to count this another good episode in the longest run of hits experienced so far this series.

You can read our remembrance of episode 20 here.

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