The Muppet Show

Season 1 Episode 1:

Joel Grey

Fozzie Bear was originally intended as being the show's second banana (the main star next to Kermit), but even though we've seen him tell jokes in the opening theme and figure in the backstage plots, this is the first episode where we actually see him in one of his regular comedy spots. Since the "hook" of this particular act is that he needs audience members to call out joke subjects, this sets up interaction between him and Statler and Waldorf in the balcony. This is a lucky and significant development for each character since it serves as the first time we've seen Statler & Waldorf interacting with people onstage (instead of with just each other). This gives Fozzie's comedy spot an extra touch. Instead of just "A Comedian On Stage Telling Jokes", we have "Comedian Tries to Perform while Suffering the Heckling of the Geezers In the Balcony". This would become a regular component of the comedy spots, which in a way was fortuitous. The writing team would soon learn that Fozzie's "bad comedian" hook by itself, was hardly strong enough to create a strong character. What will end up being Fozzie's saving grace is how he interacts with other characters. His interaction with Statler and Waldorf is the first major relationship that's explored with his character onstage while backstage his relationship with Kermit will continue to develop throughout the series. Gorgon Heap is a modified furry version of a classic Muppet monster originally known as Big V. Also, regarding names of Muppet monsters, for the purpose of this episode guide, "Gloat, the Green Frackle" will be referred to throughout this guide by the name "Gloat" as was revealed in the "Great Santa Claus Switch", even though he was usually referred to on set and in scripts as "Green Frackle". When this guide does mention the "Green Frackle", the reference will be to the puppet that looks like a green version of Boppity (the "Blue Frackle"). While "Pachalafaka" was taped as the UK sketch, the actual original airing of this episode in the States included this number and instead took out the Sherlock Holmes sketch. The Newsman is seen here in his original version, without glasses and a slightly different voice. Jerry Nelson does not perform in this episode. Jane Henson, once quoted as having stopped puppeteering when it was time to do voices, does a rare puppeteering stint in this episode, but with no voices. Because this was in some regard the first "official regular" episode of The Muppet Show, the show runs 30 seconds longer than most (partly due to the extra verse in the opening.) This is pretty typical with Henson productions - the first episode of Bear in the Big Blue House is a minute longer as is the first filmed episode of Farscape, "Exodus From Genesis". Some strange edits also appear in the episode as well with one-frame shots popping up in a couple of places as if some revisions were being made to the order shots were appearing in and weren't done well. The first time this happens is in the opening theme - a frame of Zoot/Crazy Harry can be seen after Animal's shot. Then a frame of Kermit in front of the curtain is seen before the second Newsman spot.
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About The Muppet Show:

Go behind the curtains as Kermit the Frog and his muppet friends struggle to put on a weekly variety show.

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