The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence
Airdate: March 19, 1975 on ABC
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PRESENTING THE END OF SEX AND VIOLENCE ON TELEVISION!"
With those words, Crazy Donald from the first Muppet Show pilot, The Muppets Valentine Show (now inexplicably renamed Crazy Harry) blows up block letters reading "Sex and Violence". And so begins the absolute madness of this second pilot for The Muppet Show!
A quick instrumental riff serves as the theme song, playing over clips from the following half hour, punctuated by a sharply dressed sleepy-eyed Muppet announcing the show's been prerecorded as he stamps "Do Not Erase" on the screen.
Upon returning from commercial, we learn the Muppet's name is Nigel and will be serving as the host for tonight's proceedings as he shows us around the conference room which serves as a "nerve central" for the show
We see some familiar faces from The Muppets Valentine Show. Brewsters is asleep in the corner and Crazy Harry is warned to cool it on the explosions. Then we see some intriguing newbies, a dungeon holds a raging beast named Animal, a hipster dressed like he's just come off the cover of the Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album cover. Floyd is "the musician of the group". There's an eagle playing solitaire named Sam, who's function is to keep things from going out of control. After expressing concern about the Seven Deadly Sins Pageant scheduled for later, Sam starts on a rant about needing good old fashioned American values and the wisdom of our forefathers.
The statuettes are noble...majestic..and telling itself jokes (which George Washington doesn't get).
AT THE DANCE
In an elegant ballroom Muppets are dancing away. Nigel, dancing, assures the audience that the show jumps from place to place..."you'll get used to it."
As dancers tell jokes (quite reminiscent of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" ballroom segments), we see some more familiar faces in the crowd. From the first pilot, we see Mildred dancing with a Muppet Gene Shalit, Miss Mousy dancing with Mahna Mahna (who himself hales from classic Muppet guest appearances and "Sesame Street"). Speaking of Sesame Street, is that Bert in the background?
Another jump cut, this time to a crowd of Muppets eagerly watching a wrestling match. Two Muppet wrestlers in the center ring are all over each other. Among the large crowd are Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, and various Frackles (monsters) from the 1970 "Great Santa Claus Switch" special.
Just as it seems something really exciting's about to happen, all of a sudden we cut to...
THE SWEDISH CHEF
A chef, rambling in Swedish tongue, starts preparing a submarine sandwich along with CHINESE SUBTITLES! (The transition here is especially masterful since the cut is so unexpected and the viewer is instantly presented with bouncy accordion music and a Swedish opening title that it actually appears for a moment that an errant satellite feed just cut into what we were just watching.
The Swedish Chef himself is so wonderfully human in appearance, that it even takes a split second for a viewer not paying attention to realize that this indeed another part of the show! In fact, the hands themselves ARE real human hands.)
After Nigel beats Sam at checkers, the first guests for the Seven Deadly Sins Pageant start to arrive.
[Keep your eyes on the background of the control room for slight changes every time we see it. A bust now sports a beret and a photo on the wall by Brewsters has changed from a 30's starlet to the Mona Lisa.]
MUSICAL NUMBER: ONSTAGE - "LOVE YA TO DEATH"
Floyd introduces his band. "The very wonderful, the very exciting, the very violent, and the financially very successful, Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem."
Consisting of Dr. Teeth, a Dr. John-esque vocalist and keyboardist with VERY long skinny arms, Sgt. Floyd Pepper on bass, Janice, with large lashed eyes and long blond hair on lead guitar, sunglassed saxophonist Zoot - and the previously seen "Animal" playing the drums, the group launches into a rocking psychadelic number with lyrics:
STATLER AND WALDORF'S DEN
The wild cheers from the audience slowly fade to the contrasted monotony of a large den with grandfather clock ticking slowly in the back. Two slow-talking, elderly gentlemen (Statler & Waldorf) sit in their chairs as the world outside seemingly passes them by.
AT THE DANCE
In the background, Sam dances nose-to-nose with Mildred, and Statler trips the light fantastic with Janice!
The San Francisco Earthquake is redesigning his opponent's entire left leg!
In the crowd, we can now make out Catgut from the "Muppet Musicians of Bremen" special and three puppets who bear a striking resemblance to Muppeteers Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Jerry Nelson.
THE SWEDISH CHEF
His sandwich has grown quite large (among the ingrediants is a rubber glove and a 7" vinyl record). He starts to place a rubber chicken on top, but then decides it needs tenderizing first. ("SMICK du burd wit der sludgenhammer!")
FOR THE BIRDS
To the sound of a bass-centric jazz piece by the Electric Mayhem, several male birds try to attract two females. Each has its own distinctive call..."WHATTAYA SAY", "FOR CRYING OUT LOUD", "OH BOY". The females (whose calls are "OH REALLY" and "YOU KNOW") finally settle for a bird with a "RIGHT ON RIGHT ON!" mating call.
Sam (not faring too well at cards) takes a call...
Envy arrives ("Oh, I love this room! Is that your hat? Wish I had a shirt like that.")
[The bust now has sunglasses, a toupee, and moustache. The photo next to Brewsters is of Little Orphan Annie.]
Knock knock jokes continue to fly over George Washington's head. ("Roosavelt nice but Gladys felt nicer!")
THEATER OF THINGS
A ruler makes an impassioned speech to a group of pencils. ("I'm STRAIGHT and I'm gonna tell you where to draw the line! Now get the lead out!")
Two Heaps, tarantula like monsters talking in gibberish, interupt their sleep to club each other before napping again. Another two long-nosed creatures with their own nonsensical (but Refined English sounding) language curiously examine the monsters.
The monsters aren't too taken with the interuption and mock the long-nosed creatures. Undeterred, the male taps the monsters irritatingly with his nose probing "COO PAR DOO?" which earns him a harsh club beating by the monsters, completly twisting up his nose. As the alarmed female runs off after the humilated male, the monsters laugh and mock their language.
AT THE DANCE
Yep, it WAS Bert we saw in the background earlier! In the foreground now, he address his parner, "You know, you REALLY look familiar!" The female turns to face the camera revealing an Ernie-esque face and laughs an Ernie laugh!
STATLER & WALDORF
The wrestlers are a knot of arms wrapped around each other...one tries to bite his opponent but chomps his own arm instead.
Floyd beats Sam at chess. Vanity (a mirror) and Gluttony (covered in food) arrive along with Leafy Green Vegetables looking for the Seven Basic Foods Pageant. Gluttony chases her out the door. [The bust now sports a top hat, bowtie, and eye patch.]
FILMS IN FOCUS
The Gene Shalit Muppet we saw earlier is giving a scathing review to "Return to Beneath the Planet of the Pigs", the seventh in its series of pseudo-epics. We see a clip of a human Muppet trapped by a bunch of pigs (one of which will become the puppet for Miss Piggy in "The Muppet Show" series, presently with beady eyes).
Upon hearing his protestations that he's a scientist from Earth, the pigs decide to take him to Dr. Nauga so they can drill a hole in his head and look inside. Dr. Nauga (who resembles Dr. Julius Strangepork, who will make his debut in The Muppet Show's second season) suggests the addition of a hinge so they can flip up and down the brain to view whenever they like. At the end of the film clips, Gene is replaced by a pig with bushy hair and glasses who gives the film Five Oinks.
Sam and Nigel play Scrabble.
Floyd suggests Sam challange him; they turn to Brewsters and his dictionary. (Brewsters: "A medieval form of Gribbazoogum")
Lust arrives, all tongue and arms
[The picture by Brewsters is now of Big Bird from Sesame Street.]
The sandwich, now completed (birthday candle on top and all), starts to fly away. The Chef shoots it down with his blunderbuss.
George, thinks he has the hang of knock knock jokes now...
AT THE DANCE
Sam dances with another long-nosed lady, Zelda Rose. Dr. Nauga approaches them with scalpel ("May I cut in?") Rowlf the Dog complains to his partner: "I was with Jimmy Dean but nobody remembers me anymore."
Now over, stadium empty, the wrestlers are motionless in the ring, a mess of arms completely obliterating them. George the Janitor from The Muppets Valentine Show, reminds them as he closes up, "Just want you guys to know, noon tomorrow, we got an ice hockey game in here." The wrestlers lie there helpless to the sound of a ticking clock which fades into the clock in...
STATLER & WALDORF'S DEN
It ticks some more beats, then stops.
The Sins are all lined up and Nigel is set to announce the winner when it's discovered they're out of time. The Sins start getting Deadly when asked if they can come back next week, so Crazy Harry (who's behaved himself since the beginning when Nigel asked him to) sets off an explosion diverting their attention from attacking Nigel. As the credits start to roll, the Electric Mayhem (now joined by the puppet resembling Jim Henson on banjo, looking a bit confused as why he's there) play the closing theme - as Crazy Harry sets off explosions on thier set as well. The credits continue over the Muppets on the Pageant set chasing each other as the camera rolls back to show the puppeteers running around underneath.
As the credits end, a final Sin enters ("I'm Sloth, am I late?")