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charlietheowl's Random Thoughts: Season 1 of TMS

Discussion in 'Classic Muppets' started by charlietheowl, Jan 28, 2012.

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  1. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    So I have just recently completed watching the first season of The Muppet Show for the first time, and thought that since I really don't have much else to do today, I'd get a thread going on some odds and ends from that season. In somewhat chronological order:

    • I really like Rowlf's numbers in the UK spots; they're short, snappy, and funny. "You And I And George" definitely needs to become part of the popular standards songbook.
    • The Piggy and Gonzo puppets used here look a lot different than the ones used in the movies and other, later projects, but they have a charm to them. Gonzo's puppet works for how sad-sack his character is.
    • Wayne and Wanda may be one-note characters, but most of the time, their one-note was pretty funny.
    • The "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" sketch with Ruth Buzzi and Sweetums is probably my favorite sketch from the whole season. Ruth Buzzi throws herself around with a lot of flair, and Sweetums shows off quite the voice.
    • Talking Houses: don't get it at all.
    • The handful of numbers that didn't really include any Muppets (the butterfly song with Florence Henderson, "In My Life" with Twiggy, Mummenschanz) confuse me because since the whole show is about the interaction between the guests and the Muppets, why would the writers have done anything that didn't rely on that?
    • Paul Williams looks like my grandmother.
    • The show's willingness to do goofy running gags is great; my favorite is the "telephone pole" bit.
    • The Electric Mayhem numbers are really cool to watch because I imagine it was really hard to perform all the needed puppeteering motions to make it seem as realistic as possible. They do a great job.
    • "Halfway Down The Stairs" oh my goodness how great is that oh man!
    • The "at the dance" segments are funny, but sometimes I must admit I don't understand the jokes, whether they were just poorly written or are more 70s-style stuff I don't know. So I prefer the visual jokes more.
    • The Veterinarian Hospital sketches are great, again, because of the writer's willingness to put any joke out there, no matter how corny.
    • Avery Schreiber is a weird looking person.
    • The Hugga Wugga sketch might be the weirdest thing aired during the first season, but it's great nonetheless.
    • "That was no lady, that was a pawn shop sign!"
    • "*** Willow" is awesome. I like when they send up Sam's cultural-values image. He's kind of under-utilized the first season, as he really only introduces Wayne and Wanda...
    • ...except when he's explaining the differences between immoral and illegal. Took me a couple seconds to get that joke.
    • Nigel is definitely a Fraggle, right? I can't be the only person who has noticed this. Clearly he beat Uncle Travelling Matt to the punch and wormed his way into the world of the Silly Creatures. (But seriously, I'd imagine that Nigel was one of the models for a Fraggle.)
    • "Fugue For Frog" should have definitely become the show's theme song.
    • I really like seeing Rowlf and Nigel playing the theme song by themselves at the end of the Kaye Ballard episode.
    • Gonzo's love for Piggy is sort of creepy but hilarious. It really works with his sad-sack characterization but I can see why they expanded his character outwards.
    • I know I said this before, but Mummenschanz does not work at all. No interaction with Muppets=no funny.
    Stay tuned a million weeks from now after I finish season two.
  2. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I think At the Dance was sort of a tribute to the TV show Laugh In(1967-1973). Good show, but sort of hit or miss humor. You saw more of that kind of humor in the Muppet Show's first season and I personally am glad they moved on for the most part, lol.

    Though to be fair some of the At the Dance jokes were classic Vaudeville humor that never goes out of style. :)

    But btw if you watch the episodes with the text commentary on some of the jokes are explained.

    Mimes were really big in the '70s. Strange but true, lol. Their bits were certainly amazing, I respect their craft but yes it would have been cool to integrate the Muppets somehow.

    I think it was just that they were still getting used to what the Muppets could do on a variety show format. Plus since the show was so new and untested, they knew at least the celebrities would draw an audience.
  3. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    I saw on Muppet Wiki that Mummenschanz were called in at the last minute to replace a guest, so maybe it was just easier on the writing staff to let the group do some pre-packaged routines, but it would have been funny if they incorporated the Muppets a bit more.
  4. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Yeah that makes sense too, that they just inserted the Mummenschanz segments in between because they were in a hurry.
  5. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    I really liked the Mummenschanz episode. I thought their bits were nifty and conceptual. That said, I can see why others wouldn't like that ep, and the lack of interaction with the Muppets is a flaw. It's one of the reasons I don't like the Liberace show; I wanna see the puppets, not Mister Lookit-My-Diamond-Rings.
  6. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    Charlie man, I'm definitely looking forward to your future thoughts on The Muppet Show!! These are great first impressions, not only because they're hilarious!! Ha ha ha. Good on you. :D
    charlietheowl likes this.
  7. newsmanfan

    newsmanfan Well-Known Member

    -----------------
    My favorite parts about TMS first season were that Newsie actually got to interact with the guest stars numerous times in those ridiculous news interviews. They showed a depth of intelligence and a sort of begrudging toleration on his part for the silliness that is TMS; later sketches of his don't allow him much room to react, much less duck! :news:

    Yes, the At the Dance and Vet Hosp. jokes were always as corny as they could get...but still better than the ones on "Hee Haw." No joke.

    Favorite guest star bit? Rita Moreno's daring dance of drunkenness with the French beatnik full-body puppet! Fave running joke? "Hello, backstage, Muppet Theatre!"

    Keep up the reviews, Charlie! Fun to read. :)
    -------------------
  8. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    The Rita Moreno episode was definitely one of the best of the first season. I believe she won an Emmy for her work in the show, and she definitely deserved it. "Fever" is great.
    MuppetLuver2000 likes this.
  9. tutter_fan

    tutter_fan Well-Known Member

    I thought the parts that Newsie was involved in were very funny, like the "running gag" episode where Fozzie says "Now THAT'S a running gag!!" (as Newsie is seen running to his desk)
    newsmanfan likes this.
  10. zoebell

    zoebell Active Member

    i didn't miss at the dance when they eventually stopped doing it. because i realized that overall it's not that different from vet's hospital and that one's better/funnier
  11. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    I think that Vet's hospital is funnier because they use the same characters every time, so the interplay was a lot more consistent. Sometimes the At The Dance sketches relied too much on random Anything Muppets or Monsters who really didn't have to much personality to burn, unlike Rowlf, Piggy, or Janice.
  12. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Though of course Janice's evolution is interesting to watch in Vet's Hospital. Obviously she started out with a standard female voice, sort of reminiscent of a '40s movie star. Then Richard Hunt took over in the 2nd season and you can see how she gradually becomes the surfer girl, it's quite fascinating actually, lol. :flirt:
  13. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I've seen some things that imply they were taken off because they didn't work out well, and I've often figured the reason they were let go was because of the departure of Eren Ozker (same reason I assume Hilda was written out). Especially since they did eventually bring back Wayne for a number of solo appearances in later seasons (not to mention Kathy Mullen performing Wanda in one episode). But then again, they didn't seem too hesitant about recasting characters at the time (seems that wouldn't happen until Jim Henson's death in 1990). After all, Janice was recast after the first season, as was Crazy Harry, on Sesame Street most of Brian Meehl and Michael Earl's characters were quickly recast after their departure. So who knows?


    He kind of looks like Captain Lou Albano on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. I think I used to think he was the actor who played Mario on that show.
  14. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I think the show's style of humor just evolved. The first season was a lot of the standard one note jokes, sort of traditional Vaudeville/Variety show comedy. As the show moved on the humor came more from the individual characters' personality quirks and a sort of overall gentle, rebellious insanity.

    Though of course, they never entirely got rid of puns, hehe. ;)
  15. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    The fact that they didn't recast Wanda but kept Wayne makes me think it was sort of both. They might not have felt there was anybody else on staff for Season 2 (correct me if this is a wrong assumption) who could do that kind of traditional female singing voice. But I'm interested in seeing the episode where they bring Wayne and Wanda back even though that's several seasons down the line, and I'm trying to make watching TMS last quite a while.

    By the way, does anybody on this board post on the AV Club? There's somebody on there whose comments about the Muppets on their TMS reviews are so informed that I swear they have to be a member of this board as well to have gained all that Muppety knowledge.
  16. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I post there, under the name Loser User. In fact, speaking of AV Club, I didn't understand the punchline to the telephone pole bit until I read that article. I kept meaning to ask on the forums what the joke was but never quite got it. Turns out the "telelphone pole" is mearly a polish guy in a telephone booth.
  17. charlietheowl

    charlietheowl Well-Known Member

    I post on there as "Boober Fraggle". I had been reading their site for awhile, but their Muppet reviews were what finally motivated me to get an account. They are definitely one of the best entertainment sites out there.
  18. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I'm extremely ashamed to admit I also had to have that joke explained to me, lol.
  19. miss kermie

    miss kermie Well-Known Member

    You people just explained it to Me, cuz I didn't get it five seconds ago!
  20. Muppet fan 123

    Muppet fan 123 Well-Known Member

    I really just hate Season one of TMS. It is by far the WORST. I'm just happy I didn't start off with that season from the beginninng of my fandom, or otherwise I'd be turned off right away.
    Firstly the characters:
    George: An extremely annoying character and is just so boring. Not funny, and he was in the spotlight way to much.
    Hilda: Also, a horribly boring and annoying character.
    Janice's Voice: I'm so glad that changed
    Fozzie and Piggy: I am so glad these two changed. I love Fozzie, he's my favorite character, but Fozzie is season one, is just horrible. He doesn' look good and his voice sounds strange, and I'm so glad Piggy's appearance changed (her voice changes too, as the season goes on)
    The skecthes:
    Vetenarians Hospital: My favorite sketch is ruined in this season. The jokes are just horrible, in the other seasons, they are corny, but funny. Here, nothing.
    At The Dance: The humor in this one is also very dumb. No good jokes and those stupid things with Animal and that other dancer. (ONE-TWO THREE DIP!!!)


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