116: “Music To Hug Frogs By” – The Muppet Show & The Muppet Movie

It’s When We Were Young’s most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational episode yet! Gonzo, Miss Piggy, Fozzy, and friends may be best known for kid-focused fare these days, but Jim Henson’s world-famous puppets originally had roots in more grownup entertainment, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, the first season of Saturday Night Live, and a “Sex & Violence” TV special that provided a test run for puppets on primetime. 

In this episode of the podcast, we look back at the very beginning of Henson’s puppeteering career on public access television more than two decades before the gang got their very own variety program in THE MUPPET SHOW, which became a worldwide phenomenon starting in 1976. Chris, Becky, and Seth rewatch some of the series’ most notable episodes with guest stars Rita Moreno, Steve Martin, Harry Belafonte, and Elton John, and discover that their mileage for puppets delivering dad jokes may vary.

Then we revisit Kermit and company’s big screen debut in 1979’s THE MUPPET MOVIE, which awed fans by taking the Muppets out of the studio and having them ride bikes, drive cars, and show off their felt feet for the very first time, all in pursuit of Hollywood stardom.

Do we still feel a rainbow connection to these early Muppets outings? Or have the lovers and dreamers aged into old fogeys sitting up in the balcony, heckling the lovable puppet performers down below? Play the music, light the lights, raise the curtains, and prepare for some controversial opinions on the When We Were Young podcast’s Muppets episode tonight!

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