Yes, it’s time to start the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to watch the Muppet Show from today onwards on Disney's streaming service.
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I’ll admit, I was pretty young when The Muppet Show went off the air in 1981, but I have fond, vague memories of Jim Henson’s variety show that introduced us to Pigs in Space, Dr. Bunsen and Beaker, and of course, Statler and Waldorf cracking wise from their box seats.
Apart from the Muppets themselves, the show, which ran over five seasons, had a who’s who of guest stars from the era, including Mark Hamill, John Cleese, Twiggy, Alice Cooper, Liberace, Crystal Gayle, John Denver, Lynda Carter, and Carol Burnett.
For those younger than myself, whose introduction to the Muppets only came through the later movies and shows like Muppet Babies, being able to watch the original series will give them the opportunity to see where it all started. While still family-friendly, the Muppet Show was a bit edgier than what came after, so there’s something there for both your kids (if you have them) while still keeping grownups entertained. Plus, you can explain to your children what made Jim Nabors famous.
Where else can you hear Elton John singing Crocodile Rock with a bunch of crocodiles (opens in new tab), or Steve Martin playing Dueling Banjos (opens in new tab) with a jug band? And let’s not forget about Mahna Mahna (opens in new tab).
When it’s released on Friday, Disney Plus will not only have all five seasons (102 episodes), but it will include skits that only appeared on the UK version of the program, so unless you were a really devoted fan, you’ll be able to see (at least for you) entirely new segments.
Just know that Disney has already placed its Content Advisory Warning on the show, saying that the show contains negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or culture. This warning probably refers to more than Beaker being blown up and the Swedish Chef’s inscrutable dialogue.
It’s been 10 years since Jason Segel’s Muppets movie reinvigorated the franchise with just the right combination of nostalgia — which was then squandered with a lackluster sequel and the short-lived Muppets Now series. Maybe the re-release of the original series will inspire someone to try and recapture Jim Henson’s magic.