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Rita Moreno - Episode 5
Dates: Week of June 3, 1976
RITA MORENO INTRO
Brian Henson: "Hi, I'm Brian Henson. This episode of The Muppet Show stars Rita Moreno. She's one of my all time favorite guest stars. It also was the first episode that featured the long-running, long-punning sketch "Veterinarian's Hospital" which by the way, is pretty much where Miss Piggy got her start as well. Rita Moreno was the first performer to win an Oscar, a Tony, a Grammy, and an Emmy. She won her Emmy as 'Best Performance By a Guest on a Comedy-Variety Show" for her appearance in this episode. So here it is, The Muppet Show starring Rita Moreno."
Fozzie's joke: "My cousin is so dumb, he spent two weeks in London trying to find the European Common Market."
Gonzo's gong: Gonzo hits the gong as it begins to vibrate back and forth.
Kermit welcomes us to the show and expresses excitement over "two-hundred and twenty dancing elephants who unfortunately left their costumes at home because they forgot to pack their trunks."
OPENING NUMBER: RITA'S APACHE DANCE
Rita walks into a bar patronized by a bunch of pigs. A jazzy Latin rift begins and Rita notices Piggy in the corner with a gentleman friend (a full-sized Whatnot). Rita hits on him and when rejected, she picks a fight with him. They punch, bit, kick, smash chairs until Rita gets kicked through the wall. The bully collapses.
The phone rings and Fozzie rushes to answer it. He is sprayed with water from the receiver, and tells Kermit it was the Water Department.
VETERINARIAN'S HOSPITAL [debut]
In this debut of Veterinarian's Hospital, we see an operating table with the usual teal-colored doctor's blanket and clothes, while hospital equipment and cabinets are in the background. We meet Dr. Bob (Rowlf the Dog), Nurse Piggy (Miss Piggy) and Nurse Janice (of the Electric Mayhem) with Fozzie playing the role as the reluctant patient.
The phone rings yet again, and Fozzie answers it, this time encountering smoke. It was the Fire Department!
The Newsman reports that Mister Thomas Galey has been teaching his pet chicken to dance ballet for the better part of his life. Recently, the chicken was accepted to the Copenhagen Ballet. Mrs. Galley didn't wish to move to Denmark, so she "fricasseed the ballerina for lunch".
THE SWEDISH CHEF
Chef makes flapjacks, which stick to the ceiling every time he flips them. He solves this dilemma with a shotgun and he is buried in pancakes.
The phone rings (yes, again), and Fozzie answers it. Coins begin to spew forth, which Fozzie collects in his hat. It was, of course, Las Vegas calling!
AT THE DANCE
A shark trolls the ballroom, much to Piggy and Mildred's dismay.
UK SKIT: MUSIVAL NUMBER - "TO MORROW"
A trio of Muppets that bear a strong resemblance to their performers (Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Jerry Nelson) sing a funny tune. They would become known as The Country Trio.
Kermit introduces "The Amazing Marvin Suggs and His Muppaphone." The Muppaphone are little balls of fluff and fuzz which Marvin hits over the head with a mallet to play music. After tuning up, they perform "Lady Of Spain", and at the climax of the song, Marvin is hit by a huge, omnipotent mallet himself. The Muppaphones rejoice. [This song was released on The Muppet Show Album (1977) and Muppet Hits (1993)].
Kermit, in tux, welcomes us to the part in the program where they discuss topics of lasting importance. This time around, it's the burning question: "Is conversation a dying art?" Kermit's guests are Miss Piggy, a Whatnot Muppet, The Guru (Brewsters from The Muppets Valentine Show), and Tiffany Gonzalez (Rita). Tiffany speaks with a heavy Latin accent, and Piggy can't understand her.
Kermit concludes by saying that conversation is not a dying art, but it IS severely wounded. He urges us to tune in next time, when the topic will be improving US and Latin relations.
The phone rings, and an explosion comes out when Fozzie answers it. It must have been the Atomic Energy Commission!
Kermit and Rita sit around and casually chat, but Rita becomes upset because these spots always seemed so rehearsed. She asks if they can ad-lib it. Kermit agrees, but Sweetums doesn't, since he is the cue card holder.
[PUPPETEER SPOTTING: Jim's hand is visible performing Kermit after Rita yells at him for reading cue cards.]
ONSTAGE - "GOODY GOODY"
Sam the Eagle introduces Wayne and Wanda, one of the only morally uplifting things on this weird, sick program. The curtain opens and Wayne sings "Goody Goody," and smacks Wanda backwards with a grand arm gesture.
FOZZIE'S COMEDY SPOT
Kermit introduces Fozzie, who is heckled thoroughly by Statler and Waldorf.
The phone rings, but Kermit has had enough and refuses to let Fozzie answer it. Animal solves their problem by ripping the phone from the wall.
CLOSING NUMBER - "FEVER"
Rita sings "Fever," accompanied by Floyd and Animal. Animal gets excited and begins to play the drums wildly, ruining Rita's song. Rita has some harsh words with him in Spanish, but Animal continues. Rita stops her song and smashes Animal's head between two cymbals.
[If you are wondering what Rita says in Spanish, here it is: "Listen Buddy. All I wanna tell you is that you shouldn't do that. It's not nice, you understand? Look at me when I'm talking to you. This is my number, and if you bother me any more I'm gonna hit you so hard, it's gonna leave you stupid. Cool it."]
Rita shares some final moves with her dancing partner.
Statler and Waldorf are underneath their chairs. They surface and Waldorf says "I still couldn't find the chewing gum."