The Top Ten Guest Star Moments on The Muppet Show
Michael Wermuth, Jr. – The Muppet Show has had 120 episodes and more than 120 guest stars (due to the occasional duo guests). And the majority of those guest stars had some really memorable moments. Here, in my opinion and in no particular order, are the top ten guest star moments. And it sure was hard narrowing it down to just ten moments.
1. “Fever” with Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno won an Emmy award for her guest appearance on The Muppet Show, and she sure did deserve it. When making this list it was a toss-up to me between selecting “Fever” or Rita’s talk spot. But I chose “Fever,” as that seems to be a more classic moment. “Fever” is Rita’s closing number, includes notable back-up drumming by Animal, who keeps going wild when Rita isn’t looking.
2. “Whenever I Call You Friend” with Melissa Manchester
“Whenever I Call You Friend” is the highlight of the episode. It starts out as a duet between Melissa and Floyd before many of the other Muppets join in. Lips is among them, playing a great trumpet solo. I once sang this song on karaoke because of the Muppets performance. And I feel The Muppet Show performance of the song is better than the original.
3. Gene Kelly gives Kermit a dance lesson
When Gene Kelly guest starred, he was under the impression that he was just invited to watch the show. Gene tells Kermit that he used to be a dance teacher and offers to teach Kermit how to dance in his place, so Kermit tricks Gene into giving him a dance lesson on the stage, making it his only on-stage act on the show.
4. “It’s in His Kiss” with Linda Ronstadt
Three of Linda Ronstadt’s four numbers were considered by me for this list, so it was tough deciding whether to include “Blue Bayou,” “It’s in His Kiss,” or “When I Grow Too Old to Dream,” but I went with “It’s in His Kiss.” After all, it’s pretty much the only duet between a guest star and Janice.
5. Harvey Korman’s Dangerous Animal Act
One of the highlights of Harvey Korman’s appearance (besides being put into a chicken outfit) was when he appeared as animal trainer Maurice the Magnifficient. In his act, he has a big cage, and warns the audience of a very dangerous animal inside there. But it ends up being the gentle Thog, who steals the show and acts friendly despite Harvey Korman’s yelling.
6. “Last Dance” with Leslie Ann Warren
Leslie Ann Warren was great in all three of her acts, and her episode is one of those underrated episodes. But the highlight of the episode was her closing number, where she encounters Link Hoghtrob at a bar, flirting a bit before singing “Last Dance.” She looks great in that red dress, and the wild music sounds really great.
7. “School’s Out” with Alice Cooper
This is the highlight of Alice Cooper’s episode with all those full-body monsters in the scene and the rocking music, you’ve got a great number for The Muppet Show! Not only is “School’s Out” a song that I’ve sang on karaoke because of the performance on The Muppet Show, but it’s also one of the few songs that appeared on The Muppet Show that I downloaded to my iPod.
8. “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Elton John
This is despite the fact that it’s the first episode I ever saw (outside of compilation videos). It was the first episode shown on Nickelodeon, and it’s on the first volume of Time-Life’s “The Best of the Muppet Show” video series. But it has a bit too much guest star focus, even though the guest star numbers are the highlight. I do like all of Elton’s performances in this one. I chose to list “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” Elton’s duet with Miss Piggy. It’s just a good, lively, rockin’ performance.
9. “Last Time I Saw Him” with Diana Ross
A big, impressive number. In a way it’s similar to Melissa Manchester’s “Whenever I Call You Friend,” in that it starts as a duet between a guest star and Floyd, and most of the number takes place in front of the back wall of the stage. But this number has a bigger number of characters in it. It has all five original members of The Electric Mayhem, it has Rowlf, it has Zeke from the jugband, and it has a back-up band in marching band attire. It is quite impressive.
10. John Cleese helps Gonzo
This scene is the big payoff of the episode’s main plot. After Gonzo caught a cannonball with his bare hand and his arm stretched out very long, Gonzo got teased by Fozzie and Floyd quite a bit. So eventually Gonzo asks John Cleese for help. Upon being told that Gonzo wants both his arms the same size, John stretches the other arm out. This scene is very hilarious, especially for the fact that John Cleese seems to be weirder than Gonzo here.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier