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TMS outline - Michael Palin!

Gorgon Heap

Well-Known Member
Apr 15, 2002
Reaction score

STYLE: MID SEASON THREE (circa Liberace, Marisa Berenson episodes)

COLD OPENING: Scooter knocks and enters.

Scooter: "Michael Palin! 30 seconds to curtain!"

Michael: "Quite right, very good. Umm... 30 seconds until the curtain does what, exactly?"

Scooter: "Until it goes up."

Michael: "Ah! Well, that makes sense, then. I thought maybe it was 30 seconds until the curtain explodes!"

Scooter (looks at watch): "No, it’s 15 seconds until the curtain goes up. It's 10 seconds until the MAKEUP TABLE explodes."

(Scooter exits.)

Michael: "Very good! The makeup table explodes in... THE MAKEUP TABLE EXPLODES?!"


CANTEEN: Gonzo rushes in.

Gonzo: "Has anybody seen my trumpet?"

(The Swedish Chef turns around at the counter, revealing Gonzo's trumpet on a platter and stuffed with food.)

Chef: "De horn of plenty!"

(Gonzo gasps.)

GONZO: blows trumpet and it's silent. He puts the conical end to his ear and it blasts a loud note at him. Gonzo shakes.

OPENING NUMBER: “Draggin’ the Line” – Muppet snails in a window box (and the lead singer’s “dog”, Sam – a ladybug)

Statler: “What does ‘dragging the line’ mean?”

Waldorf: “Don’t ask me. I thought they were singing ‘dragging the slime’.”

Statler: “Oh.”

BACKSTAGE: Gonzo wants to do his new act on the show but Kermit tells him there’s no room in the schedule.

Kermit: “Michael Palin on stage for the escape artist sketch.”

Gonzo: “Escape artist?! You mean to say you’ve booked another highbrow performance artist on the show?!”

(Fozzie walks by.)

Kermit: “Well, not exactly. He’s more of a comic.”

Fozzie: “Another comic?!”

Kermit: “No! It’s our guest star, Michael Palin, and he’s doing a sketch, not a monologue. You can rest easy.”

Fozzie: “Oh.”

Gonzo: “Well, I’M not going to rest easy! I’m going to stay right here and watch what this so-called artist has to offer.”

Kermit: “Suit yourself. Hmmph!”

(Kermit exits.)

Gonzo: “Fozzie, you don’t think there’s anyone else out there who can do what I do, do you?”

Fozzie: “Gonzo, I don’t think there’s anyone out there who can understand what you do!”

SKETCH: Michael Palin executes an escape artist trick just in time to make his entrance in a scene from Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” with Annie Sue and Scooter.

Statler: “Did that make any kind of sense to you?”

Waldorf: “Yes: nonsense!”

(S & W laugh.)

BACKSTAGE: Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo watch from Kermit’s desk.

Fozzie: “Oh Kermit, that Michael Palin is so FUNNEEEE!”

Gonzo: “What?! What’s so funny about it? The man performs high art, and all you can do is take it for laughs!”

Kermit: “Gonzo, he PLAYS it for laughs.”

Gonzo: “Yeah, well I don’t! I mean, was it funny when I did a 50-foot belly flop into a bowl of lime Jell-O?”

Kermit & Fozzie: “Uh... no.”

Gonzo: “And was it funny when I played the “Gavotte in D Major” on the accordion while suspended upside-town in a tank of water?”

Kermit & Fozzie (shaking their heads): “No.”

Gonzo: “And was it funny when I did a tap dance number while juggling electric eels and fell into the orchestra pit?”

Fozzie: “Now THAT was funny! AH!”

(Fozzie & Kermit chuckle.)

Gonzo: “QUIET!”

(They stop abruptly.)

Gonzo: “I’m going to my dressing room. Hmmph!”

(He exits in a huff.)

Fozzie: “Is it me, or is Gonzo acting weird tonight?”

Kermit: “Uh, Fozzie, how can you tell?”

(They both look at the camera.)

MUPPET NEWS: “Here is a Muppet Newsflash! Recent reports indicate a startling rise in guerilla warfare. While their base camp location remains unknown, a copy of their manifesto has recently been discovered. It states that their ultimate goal is, quote, “to turn this continent into a banana republic.”

(A gorilla in an army helmet bursts in with a small howitzer and fires several times above the Newsman’s head, blasting holes in the wall and filling the room with smoke before departing with a grin.)

DRESSING ROOM: Sam tells Michael his act should be more cultural. When Michael drops cultural references and knowledge left and right in his defense, he leaves Sam speechless.

Sam: “Uh… very good! Yes, carry on, then.”

(Sam exits.)

Michael: “That shut him up.”

CANTEEN: Bo discovers there’s no coffee. SONG: “Coffee Break” – with Annie Sue, Bo, Swedish Chef, Gladys, Hoggie Marsh & Whatnots. At the end, everyone faints, save Bo, who looks around, looks at the camera, and widens eyes.

UK SPOT; BACKSTAGE: Fozzie leads a rendition of “Limbo Rock” (with Annie Sue, Robin, Salamander, Lenny the Lizard, Bird-like Fazoob, Chopped Liver, Beautiful Day Monster, Miss Kitty, Kangaroo, Chihuahua). Kermit enters, confused, and gets shanghaied into the limbo line.

SWEDISH CHEF: Michael assists the Swedish Chef but tries to slip herring juice into every recipe, to the Chef’s chagrin.

Michael: “I never wanted to be in show business, anyway. I’d rather be: an air traffic controller!”

(Mid-rant, a plane flies overhead and drops paratroopers –- from the 32nd Airborne Catering Corps – to arrest Michael for crimes against high cookery!)

BACKSTAGE: Gonzo refuses to come out of his dressing room until he overhears Michael ask Kermit if he can do his masterpiece act on the show: to play “Meditation” from “Thais” on the harmonica while jumping a unicycle over a pit of alligators. Gonzo bursts out of his dressing room, enraged at the thought that Michael has stolen his act.

Michael: “Stolen, nothing! I came up with that act all on my own, small, blue, flightless tropical bird!”

Gonzo: “I’m not a bird! I’m an artist!”

Michael: “You look like a turkey to me.”

Gonzo: “We’ll see who’s the turkey around here! I challenge you to a duel! Performance art at ten paces!”

Michael: “You’re on! Kermit, cancel my planned closing number. I’ve got a score to settle!”

Kermit: “Wait a minute! Hold it! I am not going to cancel the closing number just so you two can continue some petty rivalry. It’s ridiculous. Now, get ahold of yourselves! Sheesh!”

(Kermit exits.)

Michael (to Gonzo): “What’s his problem?”

(Gonzo shakes his head.)

SONG: “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” – 3-Legged Screaming Thing with the Electric Mayhem (black background)

BACKSTAGE: Kermit refuses to introduce Michael & Gonzo’s performance art competition, but they tell him they’ve put aside their differences and are going to perform a musical duet for the closing number instead.

Kermit: “Oh, well, that’s all right, then! I’ll introduce you.”

(Kermit exits.)

Michael (to Gonzo): “And may the best man win.”

Gonzo (to Michael): “You’re on.”

CLOSING NUMBER: Michael and Gonzo sing “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” while competing against each other to stage ever-more elaborate stunts, climaxing in Michael & Gonzo each attempting to play “Meditation” from “Thais” on the harmonica while jumping a unicycle over a pit of alligators.

They both fail to get enough traction to jump, but fortunately, Michael grabs Gonzo before he falls in the pit, which is narrow enough for Michael to reach the other side with the wheel still on the ramp. He wheels forward, running over the alligators’ heads, and deposits Gonzo on the other side. Gonzo thanks Michael for saving him. Before Michael can reply, he falls backward. Gonzo reaches out to grab him but gets pulled into the pit along with him. We hear a gator spit Gonzo out with a “BLECH!” Gonzo goes flying, then rushes back to help Michael. A very disheveled pair changes their tune to reflect their equality, i.e. “anything you can do, I can do likewise, I can do anything largely like you”, etc.

CURTAIN: Michael & Gonzo announce that they’re teaming up.

Gonzo: “I can see it now! Gonzo the Great --”

Michael: “And Palin the Mediocre!”

(Gonzo shoots him a look.)

Michael: “Palin the Adequate? Palin the Substandard?”

(He gets down on his knees.)

Michael: “Oh, PLEASE let me have a title!”

(Michael, Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Scooter, Swedish Chef, Annie Sue and a snail gather around.)

Statler: "There's just one thing I'd change about this show."

Waldorf: "What's that?"

Statler: "Everything!"

(S & W laugh.)

Comments encouraged.

David "Gorgon Heap" Ebersole


Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2006
Reaction score
I've finally read this. Very humourous and worthy of Muppet legacy. The best parts include the Cold Opening, Muppet Newsflash and the Closing Duet/Duel with Michael and Gonzo.


Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2012
Reaction score
As a Muppet fan fic writer, I love this! I once had the idea to write a Muppet Show outline where the Muppets spoof King Arthur with Michael Palin (ala Monty Python and the Holy Grail), but I struggled a lot with it. This outline is really really nice...I like the scene with Sam and Michael, as well as the News Flash and the closing number. Great work!