Every now and then, I have a Max Bialystock moment, and decide that I deserve a toy. This morning was one of those times. I had just gotten over a punishing case of the flu (so much for the vaccine I endured last October!), hosted Marge Champion at a very successful SRO Musical Conversation at the York Theatre, and got through a marketing meeting with my publishers to discuss a book that is now months past its original publication date. Yup, I've been working very hard, and I deserve a toy.
So I stopped in a video store, whiped out my trusty plastic, and bought the first and second season DVD sets for The Muppet Show. While I would love to tell you that my intentions were purely archival, that would be a lie. I happen to love the Muppets, and have no qualms admitting I was a total fan of this series, which turned these fuzzy-faced characters into the most unlikely variety repertory company of all time. Some were particularly charmed by the inexplicable relationship between soft-hearted Kermit the Frog and the eternally egotistical Miss Piggy, but I loved the whole insane corral.
And who could beat that ongoing parade of guest stars? At a time when variety shows were fading from the scene, the Muppets helped give the genre one final blaze of glittering, family-friendly glory. Such diverse musical theatre and film talents as Juliet Prowse, Joel Grey and Rita Moreno were among the first to make appearances on The Muppet Show, paving the way for a bona fide army of other top line celebrities in years to come. Even such divas as Julie Andrews and Beverly Sills would strut their stuff with Kermit’s crew, creating some rare moments of musical comedy fun. Who could forget one creepy-faced critter crooning “I hear singing and there’s no one there,” only to have Merman dismiss him with a curt, “You would!”
I’ll be relishing these disks for years to come, but will make a point of (you should pardon the expression) pigging out on them a bit in the next few weeks. As my relationship of 20-plus years comes to an end (not my idea, I assure you) and my beloved apartment goes up for sale, some musical comedy distraction is in order. And the nice thing with these DVD sets is that I will still get to relish them after my relationship and apartment fade into the past.
When life start’s singing a sad and blue song, go into your dance . . . and if you have two left feet as I do, you can at least let Miss Piggy hoof it for you.