This episode’s guest star is popular comic, Harvey Korman, who made his name performing broad comedy sketches on a number of variety shows such as The Carol Burnett Show as well as appearing in a number of comedy movies, most notably the films of Mel Brooks. Korman appeared to have been a favourite of Brooks, appearing in Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, History Of The World: Part 1 and Dracula: Dead And Loving It.
Korman is given ample opportunity to show his comedic chops here and seems to approach all of the sketches with a high level of enthusiasm, adopting a number of different characters throughout the show. As a veteran of variety shows, it’s little surprise that he’s so good here.
The highlight of the sketches would be Maurice the Magnificent, the circus ringmaster who rages at the gentle giant, Thog. Korman really is excellent and the sketch hinges on the two extremes of the character, with Korman exclaiming, “Back, you Devil!” or “Dance, Devil!” as Thog talks about high brow literature and what a nice a man Maurice is. It’s a very strong sketch, indeed.
He also excels in the discussion panel, acting as the antagonist to Miss Piggy with back and forth exchanges discussing if life is like a tennis match. Korman burns Piggy with the line “That’s the first time that pig scored in her life!”, which leaves an exasperated Kermit to hint at the next panel topic: is conversation a dying art, which, in fact, appeared in the Moreno episode earlier in the series.
UK audiences were treated to a double dose of The Electric Mayhem, which is always welcome, as in addition to the opening musical number of Love Ya To Death, featuring numerous explosions, they also got to enjoy The Sweet Tooth Jam.
Following the first performance of the show, we’re treated to a formal interview between Kermit and Animal regarding his musical influences and love of the drums. When Kermit mentions that there will be another drummer starting next week, Animal reacts badly and changes Kermit’s mind.
There have been flashes that Animal would go on to become one of the key characters in the show’s cast, however, this is the first time that there has been an extended section such as this to highlight him away from the rest of The Electric Mayhem.
This is the first episode this series that has seen the bulk of the action take place on the main stage, with backstage antics kept to a minimum and the backstage sketch features Korman, who appears in half of the sketches.
Previous guest stars have made varying impacts on the shows so far this season, but none have dominated the material in the way that Korman did in this episode. But despite, dominating the sketches, Korman doesn’t perform a single musical number throughout the course of the show.
The final musical number goes to the debut of Robin the frog performing Halfway Down The Stairs, which is another instance this series that an A.A. Milne poem has been put to music and another that was performed at Henson’s funeral. The song was also a top ten hit in the UK following the show’s release and earned an appearance on Top Of The Pops.
Whilst I would stop short of saying he’s the best guest so far this series, I’m happy to acknowledge how comfortable Korman was with the material, and the sketches he featured in were very strong. He doesn’t quite reach Buzzi and Moreno heights, but he’s not far off.
There are few misfires in the episode, with the majority of material showcased here providing a good number of laughs and moving through at a blistering pace. I’m pleased to say that this is very much a hit in a hit and miss run of episodes.
Read our remembrance of episode 9 here.