I’ve been waiting for this day since the moment Muppets in Space first disappointed me back in 1999, which was approximately three minutes into the movie: today’s the day a new Muppet movie is released! *Screams “yay” and flails arms like Kermit*
To prepare for the muppical extravaganza, written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, I’ve been re-watching old episodes of “The Muppet Show,” which aired from 1976-1981. And I’ve noticed something that I didn’t pick up on when I was child watching reruns on the Disney Channel: “The Muppet Show” is often wonderfully inappropriate for children. There are sex jokes galore, and the writers never missed an opportunity to slyly use a curse word.
In celebration of The Muppets, here are 10 skits that prove the most sensational, inspirational, and celebrational show of all-time was secretly for adults, with nary a mention of Gonzo’s weird chicken fetish.
“You’re Always Welcome at Our House”
In 1962, the great Shel Silverstein released Inside Folk Songs, a 17-track collection arguably better than any of his more well known children’s book work. One of the songs on the album, “You’re Always Welcome to My House,” begins with a verse about a man going door-to-door selling books who gets hit in the head with a hammer and thrown into a closet, at “our house.” A lady arrives, and she’s served poisoned lemonade and hidden in a freezer. And so on. On “The Muppet Show,” the song is sung with dainty, oddly sexual glee by actress Marisa Berenson, who skips around the room in a short skit, singing merrily about sealing small children inside basement walls and throwing strangers into the oven until they’re “done.”
“Baby, It’s Me”
Raquel Welch is a decent enough actress and I’m sure a splendid person, but she’s famous for one reason and one reason only: she looked amazing in a bikini. Welch was the scantily-clad star of the otherwise terrible One Million Years B.C.. In the film, she wore a brown bikini made of fur, a bikini so famous that it has its own Wikipedia section. To the “Muppet Show” writers’ credit, they didn’t over-think Welch’s appearance – they just put her in revealing outfits, including in her opening number, where she sang and danced to “Baby, It’s Me” with a giant spider, and had Fozzie say “sexy” a lot. She returned the favor to the bear, calling him “sexsational” to boost his confidence. (According to Jim Henson, when Welch hosted, the set was crammed with “a good 150 guys from neighboring studios.”)
“For What It’s Worth”
A group of forest animals, seemingly hiding from a trio of gun-wielding hunters, sing the Buffalo Springfield classic “For What It’s Worth” on “The Muppet Show” in 1977, and 34 years later, a YouTube argument breaks out over what the segment really means. The song is repeatedly broken up by the hunters aimlessly shooting their guns, and it’s not until the end that we realize they’re not hunting animals, but automobiles.