Monday, January 25, 2010

Five best Muppet Show episodes

Or at any rate, these are the five great ones I happen to think of first.

1. Paul Simon. This episode is full of highlights, among them the Renaissance Festival cover of "Scarborough Fair" ("Get your red-hot parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme!"), Gonzo's efforts at songwriting ("You didn't like the leg-frying motif?"), and best of all, Gonzo's cover of "El Condor Pasa." I tell you, when Gonzo covers a song, it stays covered.

2. James Coburn. This one features the tough-guy guest star's instantaneous bond with Animal. All Jimmy has to do is show Animal how to break a chair, and he's won a friend for life. In some of the best scenes, he teaches Animal the fine art of meditation. (It doesn't take.) So we get what we really need to make a classic Muppet episode: lots of Animal.

3. Dudley Moore. Now, I do like "Arthur" pretty well, but I still stay this episode is the best thing Moore ever did. To accompany him in his musical numbers, he brings his "Music and Mood Management Apparatus," or "MAMMA," much to the disgust of the band. Again, we get lots of Animal, here functioning as the president of the band's debating society.

4. Peter Sellers. This episode deserves a mention here for one scene only: Kermit's attempt to interview Peter backstage, while the guest is suitably dressed in a Victorian corset and a Viking wig and helmet. He can't be real for Kermit because, as he says, "There is no me; I don't exist... There used to be a me, but I had it surgically removed."

5. Harry Belafonte. I have some issues with Belafonte's politics of late, but he's still a fine musician, and his closing number, "Turn the World Around," gets into your head and won't get out. We also get a performance of "Day-O" ineptly stage-managed by Fozzie Bear, Fozzie's attempts at scriptwriting, and Rowlf and Lew Zealand singing "Tea for Two" backwards.

Darn hard to pick just five, but I'll stick with these... at least until my next Muppet-related blog.

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