Ryan Dosier – The Muppets have a long, compelling history with the Star Wars franchise. In celebration of today, May the 4th (as in, May the 4th Be With You), I’m going to attempt to delve into some of these epic meet ups between the Muppets and a galaxy far, far away.
The Muppet Show Guest Starring the Stars of Star Wars
This is definitely my favorite Muppet/Star Wars meet up. It’s got everything: Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill (Luke’s cousin), C-3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Dearth Nadir, and Angus McGonagle the Gargling Argyle Gargoyle. Really though, this episode highlights everything that’s great about The Muppet Show and everything great about Star Wars in one convenient 25 minute sitting. The plot loosely centers on Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and R2-D2 attempting to find the kidnapped Chewbacca after landing on “some sort of strange variety show planet.”
This leads to Scooter, Kermit, and Fozzie trying to sway the gang to guest star on the show, which eventually, of course, the inadvertently do. We also get great Muppet Show songs and sketches like Scooter’s “Six String Orchestra,” “Ram-a-Lam-a-Ding-Dong,” Angus McGonagle gargling Gershwin with Mark Hamill, and Mark Hamill’s terrible Muppet impressions. It all culminates in a double-length “Pigs in Space” sketch which takes the Star Wars gang to Koozebane to face off with Dearth Nadir and sing a mash up of “You Are My Lucky Star” and “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Obviously this had to include C-3PO showing off his tap-dancing skills and Mark Hamill’s dulcet, operatic tones.
Yes, it’s as weird and wonderful as it sounds and this episode alone should be reason enough for Disney to finally release The Muppet Show Season 4 on DVD.
C-3PO and R2-D2 Visit Sesame Street
In 1980, Sesame Street had two Droid visitors: R2-D2 and C-3PO. The duo got to hang around with Big Bird, Bob, Linda, Luis, Maria, David, Oscar the Grouch, and the kids in two episodes on the Street and in various inserts after that. Just some of the wonderful things that happen in these episodes include R2-D2 falls in love with a fire hydrant, R2 delivering a message to Oscar from his alien-grouch relation “Lothar the Grouch,” R2 and 3PO singing a song about counting with Big Bird and an alphabet song with Bob, and the Droids learning about feelings from Big Bird. It’s nice to see that George Lucas was so cool with the Droids being goofy and innocent on Sesame Street, because their appearance makes for some of the best the show had to offer in the ’80s.
Muppet Babies Episode “Muppet Babies: The Next Generation”
My absolute favorite episode of Muppet Babies is this marvelous spoof of Star Wars, Star Trek, and The Jetsons. I wore out my videotape of this episode as a kid. I was (and still am) so enamored by Baby Animal as both “Yodie” and Animal Vader, Baby Gonzo as “Gon Zolo,” Baby Fozzie as “Fozz-Wacca,” and poor Baby Scooter being one-upped by Baby Bean Bunny when he tries to play R2-D2. The episode gets more and more ridiculous as the Muppet Babies start to mix up their imaginary worlds. At one point there are four different versions of Baby Kermit, as Luke Skyhopper, Captain Kirkmit, Indiana Frog, and Kermit Spaceton all try to save Baby Piggy. This episode is truly Muppet Babies at its finest and one of the best Star Wars parodies on this or any cartoon show.