The Muppet Show: Season 2

The Muppet Show: Season 2

This variety show ran in prime time and invited the biggest stars of the day to participate in order to amuse nearby parents but as the stars of yesteryear (Zero Mostel, Nancy Walker, Cleo Laine) fade into pop cult obscurity, it’s the Muppets that have remained icons. That’s true of this 1977-aired season, which moved away from the original conceit of song-and-dance-capable guests and into the realm of celebrities (Elton John, Bob Hope, Julie Andrews, George Burns). The guests are still used sparingly but as the show gained popularity, the writers loosened the strictures on its formula - the "show” of the night gets cancelled when Steve Martin hosts, John Cleese crashes a "Pigs In Space” sketch dressed as a pirate and Peter Sellers enjoys an inspired bit of "Shakespeare and tuned chickens” lunacy. Even amongst the duds - impressionist Rich Little is only slightly less horrible than ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (Candice’s father, incidentally) - there is always at least one beautiful, poignant or fall over hilarious moment in every Muppet episode. This four-disc set includes the 1974 Muppets Valentine Special (with a very pregnant Mia Farrow), improvised in-character interviews in "The Muppets On the Muppets” and Weezer’s "Keep Fishin’” video. Of course, none of these can compare to the sheer delight of watching Animal pound the drums and yell, "Chopin!” A Waldorf and Stadler commentary is the only thing I can think of to improve this. (Buena Vista)