It’s hard to believe RIP V is half over already, but October 1st marked the exact half-way point: thirty days behind us and thirty days ahead. We’re also right in the middle of Saturdays with Vincent, and the milestone inspired me to do something different this week: rather than a movie, I chose to watch Price’s guest-starring turn on The Muppet Show (season 1, episode 19.)
I have to admit up front that The Muppet Show is one of my all-time childhood favorites, so I can only watch the episodes now through the rosy-glassed goggles of nostalgia. I think, though, even an objective viewer would say the show holds up well–the jokes may be corny, but the talent is first-rate, everyone involved is clearly putting their hearts into it, and the scripts often aim a fair bit higher than one might expect of a “kids’ show.”
With Vincent Price as a guest star, the show naturally tries to take a darker tone; in his opening monologue, Kermit solemnly promises us there will be “no craziness, no slapstick, and no silliness”, only to be immediately pied in the face by Fozzie. Dangle all the bats on wires and double-exposed ghosties you like, this is still The Muppet Show! Vincent is a good sport and then some — he looks like he’s having a grand time sending up his image as the “Crown Prince of Terror.”
Musical numbers include a duet between a cannibal Muppet and his dinner (“I’ve Got You Under My Skin”) and Price performing a bullfrog-throated version of “You’ve Got a Friend” with a monster chorus; there’s the requisite visit to a dark Transylvanian castle, with Price in full Dracula drag; and a sober little artist-to-artist talk ends with a be-fanged Kermit turning the tables on Price. All together, a sweet, fun half-hour; Statler and Waldorf aside, who could complain?
This review is for the Peril on the Screen challenge of RIP V.