The “Muppet Show” thirty years after it’s original airing on network television is either an acquired taste for younger viewers watching the complete second season series for the first time… or a box of chocolates for those fans who remember first-hand.

And like a box of chocolates, some of them are rather strangely flavored. As my daughter pointed out, many of the guest stars during the second season have now departed for that great vaudeville stage in the hereafter. She also asked after the first three episodes (Don Knotts, Zero Mostel, Milton Berle) “Mom, are any of these people still alive?!” She also asked, “And they were funny… when?” It’s a fair question, as Edgar Bergen, Bob Hope and George Burns were in the ‘elder statesmen of comedy” category in the 1970s anyway, and their appearance in this Muppet show collection constitutes a sort of historical document, suitable for veneration. In the age of Carlos Mencia, though, they all must seem positively antediluvian. (Imagining Carlos Mencia as a Muppet Show guest; that is a heck of a mental image). In the merciless eye of the TV camera, you can clearly see Edger Bergen’s lips moving, when Charley McCarthy talks. You wouldn’t have seen it on stage, but it’s painfully obvious in television close-up. And the extra feature, the Valentine’s Day special with a very pregnant Mia Farrow as a guest is just too creepy for words, in the light of subsequent events. Mercifully from my daughters’ point of view, other guests included Steve Martin, Julie Andrews and John Cleese.

The Muppets themselves have worn much better than the guest stars: the Swedish Chef with his rebellious lobsters, Doctor Strangepork and the Swinetrek, Kermit and the possessive diva Miss Piggy, and any number of timeless gags were funny thirty years ago, and are funny now. For a fan of puppetry, and of the Muppets, this is an absolutely essential collection. Besides the Valentine special, extras include a very funny set of celebrity interviews with some of the Muppet characters, and a music video of the Muppets and Weezer.

The Muppets Season Two will be available after August 7th, through Amazon.com

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer, who lives in San Antonio, and blogs at The Daily Brief. More about her own books is at www.celiahayes.com

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