“It’s the Muppet Show with our very special guest star, Connie Stevens and from Sesame Street, Ernie and Bert.” – Kermit the Frog
Episode two of The Muppet Show sees one of its stars threaten to quit over comments made by their co-stars, some prima donna behaviour from the supporting cast and a crisis of confidence from one of the guest stars. Will Kermit manage to rally the troops and deliver a great show?
After warm-up gags and introductions the show opens with a musical number by Kermit, Lydia, The Tattooed Lady, in which he is seen serenading and dancing with a scantily-clad tattooed pig, much to the annoyance of a certain admirer of his, who punches him immediately after the performance. This was reportedly Henson’s favourite musical number from The Muppet Show and was performed at his memorial service.
Following the punch, the show looks to go off the rails as, backstage, Fozzie overhears Kermit make remarks about the state of a bear and is horrified as he overhears various cast members make equally disparaging comments throughout the course of the show. Little did he know that the comments were, in fact, being made about Gonzo’s teddy bear and not the loveable comedian.
The episode saw debuts from favourites the Swedish Chef, the Muppet News Man and Wayne and Wanda. The Swedish Chef and the Muppet News Man are used in cutaway vignettes and Wayne and Wanda are the members of the supporting cast exhibiting prima donna behaviour, as they question the quality of guest star Connie Stevens’ act, in frustration at being sidelined, only to be interrupted by Stevens.
The crisis of confidence is seen towards the end of the episode during an appearance from Sesame Street‘sBurt and Ernie. Burt struggles with the adjustment from children’s TV to variety show, but recovers following a pep talk from Ernie to take to the stage dressed in a tuxedo to perform a musical number with Connie Stevens.
As with episode one, this episode borrows from Sex And Violence by using the At The Dance scene for one of the cutaway vignettes. It also features one of the prominent characters from the pilot (and one of my favourite Muppets), Floyd Pepper from Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
Although his appearance in the show is brief, he’s part of one of the best scenes and best musical numbers with a wonderful rendition of Ain’t Misbehavin’ as well as dancing with Mildred in the aforementioned At The Dance segment, which would become a Muppet Show staple.
It’s a strong show that built on the promise shown in episode one. All of the musical numbers hit the right notes, the theme of insecurity amongst the characters was well handled and Connie Stevens was a fantastic guest.
The previous episode saw the guest star seem a little uncomfortable in her role. The same can’t be said for Stevens, who fully embraces their role and proves to be a thoroughly engaging and entertaining guest.
Whilst Stevens isn’t the greatest of singers, her performance of Teenager In Love backed by The Mutations and her performance of Some Enchanted Evening with Burt are two of the show’s standout scenes that far surpass the quality of much of what was seen in episode one. Even in the non-musical segments in which she appears, she is playful and flirtatious with the characters that she interacts with. As a guest, she more than earned her Muppet likeness.
Read our remembrance of episode 1 here.