The Muppet Show and pretty much everything Jim Henson every did brought me a lot of joy as a child and as an adult. I always felt he truly knew how to make “family” entertainment. The Muppets rarely talk down to children and they are not above a little nudge nudge wink wink to adults, even on Sesame Street.
I had a VHS tape that I used to record ALL the episodes I could, carefully edited for commercials to fix the maximum amount of show on the tape. This is why I am so excited about the five seasons coming to Disney+. Before now, there were only three seasons on DVD and then a smattering of collections, which left out some of the lesser known artists that I had grown to love as a child. Beverly Sills, Leo Sayer, Zero Mostel – so many performers that were popular in the 70s but might have faded from mainstream memory now, I remember them!
In honor of Disney+ releasing ALL FIVE SEASONS of The Muppet show this week (February 19), I wanted to highlight the most Jim Henson-y corner of my house:
I have a few other Muppet items scattered around the house, but this is where the bulk of them live. This represents a lifetime of being a fan of The Henson Company – Kermit the Frog, in his reporter trench coat (from his segment on Sesame Street News Flash) has been with me since the beginning. I think he used to have a tie and a hat but those have been lost to the sands of time. He is well loved and still one of my favorite toys, just seeing him sitting there in the corner makes me smile.
The book collection a mix of gifts over the years and ones that were about to end up in the library recycling bin due to condition. Many have pages falling out, but I refused to let them go to the great shelf in the sky! There is also a collection of Muppet Babies and Fraggle Rock books that were in Happy Meals as prizes.
The available seasons of The Muppet Show are there on DVD, along with John Denver and The Muppets Rocky Mountain Holiday, Dinosaurs season 1 (also streaming on Disney+) , The Storyteller (a buried treasure) and The Muppets 2011 movie with Jason Siegel.
The Fraggle Rock collection spans decades. The Fraggle cars were McDonald’s Happy Meal toys in 1988! The Fraggle Rock lunchbox (Thermos no longer included because when you take milk with you to lunch every single day of school, those Thermos do not last) is from 1984. I don’t remember where I found the Fraggle Rock patch or the Gobo plush anymore, they might have just been random finds that were too good to pass up because Fraggles merch has always been at a premium.
The Fraggle Rock DVD set (which has some of the WORST packaging of all time) is from 2008. The case inside is ridiculous and discs were constantly sliding in and out. I remember I had to return it to Amazon TWICE before I got a set that wasn’t all scratched up in transit. Luckily, I have the blu-ray set now, which has much better packaging. The Red Fraggle puppet I picked up at the gift shop at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC. I’m trying to remember when that trip was but I want to say early 2010s?
Jim Henson’s sense of humor and the message at the core of all his shows, be it the chaos of The Muppet Show, the neighborhood working together in Sesame Street or the communal existence of The Fraggles – it was all about being a part of something bigger while also appreciating the little things. It was about looking out for your friends, even when they might be driving you a little bit up the wall. It was about having fun together.
There are several episodes of The Muppet Show that I am excited to see again after all these years – Steve Martin’s episode was always one of my favorites. I enjoyed Liza Minelli’s murder mystery episode. And Paul Williams – oh I can’t WAIT to hear one of my favorite songs of all time. (okay yes it is on YouTube if I want to hear it but I can’t wait for MORE people to hear it – it is a beautiful song and I think this performance is better than the album recording, don’t @ me).
Have you seen The Muppet Show before? Do you have any favorite guest stars or sketches you’re excited to see again? Let me know in the comments or link me to your Muppet post!