The Muppet Show Season 2 DVD
The Muppet Show Season 2 is a Muppet fan’s dream come true. By the second season, head writer Jerry Juhl made the focus of the main characters be upon their relationships with each other. This subtle change made the show more fun and entertaining to watch. Success of the first season also led to bigger name guest stars including Elton John, Julie Andrews, Bob Hope, Peter Sellers and many more. The Muppet Show features the Henson troupe at their best and they were entering their prime when Season 2 was taped in 1977.
The main menu on each disc features the traditional Muppet Show red curtain and new footage with Kermit and Fozzie (on discs 1 & 3) and Animal and Rizzo (on discs 2 & 4). The choice of Rizzo seems a little out of place since he did not debut on The Muppet Show until Season 4. Fans will notice the nice backdrops taken from the show itself. Each episode menu features a character shot with the same music as heard on the menus of Season 1. If you have a widescreen setup, you'll notice the menus can be seen at 16:9 even though the program itself was recorded in its natural 4:3 aspect ratio.
All 24 episodes are included with original openings, UK Skits and closings. A “Muppet Studios” logo is shown at the beginning of each episode as was done with Season 1. A 1980's shot of Zoot is once again shown at the end of each episode over the Muppets Holding Company copyright. While Season 1 had no chapter selections for each episode, Season 2 now includes a chapter at each commercial break during the program. Fans would probably still prefer to have a chapter for each song or skit, but it’s an improvement over the first DVD set.
When Season 1 was released, fans were naturally disappointed that eight songs and scenes were cut mostly due to music rights issues. We are happy to report that after careful scrutiny, it appears that every Season 2 episode is indeed complete and uncut.
Something that will surprise dedicated fans of the show is that the Elton John episode included here actually has two UK skits, "English Country Garden" with Fozzie and Rowlf followed immediately by the Muppets singing "Any Old Iron". The uncut broadcast episode originally only included "Any Old Iron" as each episode only has one UK skit. It was not until four shows later that "English Country Garden" was originally on the Jaye P. Morgan episode of The Muppet Show. Our guess as to why this happened is that Disney had several master tapes of this episode and went with the one with the longest run time. So if you notice that "English Country Garden" is on the DVD set twice, you know what happened.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The video quality varies somewhat from episode to episode. Some are better than others, but for a show from the 1970’s the quality is overall as good as can be expected. Regardless of these critiques, you’ve never seen the Season 2 episodes look so good. English subtitles are included for the hearing impaired and for all of you wordsmiths out there. Considering the original broadcast soundtrack was recorded in mono, the sound is crisp and clear.
THE MUPPETS VALENTINE SHOW: This is the original pilot of The Muppet Show produced as a Valentines special with Mia Farrow in 1974. While not as polished as The Muppet Show Sex and Violence from the first season set, the 26-minute pilot has some good moments as it stars rarely seen characters such as Wally, George, Mildred, Drop and Thog. The few times this special has aired on television, the song “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms” with Mia and Roofus has been cut, but it is included here. Find out more about The Muppets Valetine Show in our episode guide.
THE MUPPETS ON MUPPETS: This 13-minute bonus has Muppet characters in an “interview style” Q&A where the Muppets answer questions while on camera. One or two characters are sitting on a couch and they answer various questions. Some examples are: "Where is your favorite place to visit?", "Where do you find happiness?" and "What was Jim Henson like?". Characters interviewed include: Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo, Pepe, Animal, Johnny, Sal and Bobo. It’s slightly out-of-place seeing the newer characters here especially when this a Muppet Show themed set. Some of the jokes work, but some others fall flat. These interviews were originally shot for the Odyssey Channel but never aired.
WEEZER AND THE MUPPETS, KEEP FISHIN’: There was some speculation that this segment would include both the video and the “behind-the-scenes” special. However, this is only the 5-minute video. Even though it’s a much more modern part of the Muppet canon, Keep Fishin’ is one of the best things the Muppets have done in the past ten years. Highlights include the Muppets singing with Weezer and a return to the 1970's Muppet theater.
There are several bonus features established with Season 1 that are not present in Season 2. Most notably there are no “Muppet Morsels” (on-screen trivia facts). The “Gag Reel” from Season 1 included a few of the promos that local stations used to tease next week’s show. Unfortunately, this rare footage is not included on the Season 2 DVD set.
Two versions of the Miss Piggy cover will be released. One of them is a collector’s edition with felt-like pigskin, embossed features, and sparkly eyes. The alternate cover will include the same picture just with a glossy print finish without the additional Muppety texture.
The inside of the DVD case folds out like a book to reveal four discs layered on top of each other. Unlike Season 1, a booklet was not included with our Season 2 set. Instead of a booklet, the disc rundown is included on the back of the case which is designed to look like Miss Piggy's dressing room door.
One of the areas I wasn’t happy with concerning Season 1 was the 1990’s character pictures on the back of the cover. The pictures on Season 2’s back cover are more from The Muppet Show era with Kermit and Animal tangled up in film (originally from a Great Muppet Caper book) and a publicity shot of Fozzie holding a banana in his ear.
Disney gets high marks for releasing the 24 episodes uncut. Given Season 1, we were anticipating that at least a few songs might get the ax.
For the next three box sets, we would like to see some of the hour-long Muppet specials included as bonus features. The most likely candidates would be The Muppets Go to the Movies (1981) and Of Muppets and Men (1981). The Muppets at Walt Disney World (1990) would even be a fine choice. We would also like to see at least a few audio commentaries with the Muppet performers on specific episodes. Hopefully, the Jim Henson Retrospective recorded in 2004 with the Muppet performers will see the light of day at some point as well.
The Muppet Show 2 can be ordered on-line for 30% off the regular price. It should be your number one Muppet purchase of the year. The set will also make a fantastic gift for friends and family.
If you are not familiar with the episode-by-episode details of The Muppet Show Season 2, check out Muppet Central’s Season 2 Episode Guide. You can also listen to all the great music from the five seasons of The Muppet Show on Muppet Central Radio. Read our review of The Muppet Show Season 1 DVD box set.
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