Muppets Tonight Season Two (TV 1996)

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This Season Two was originally just the rest of Season One that was cancelled part way through.

Here’s the episode list:

  • Prince
  • Rick Moranis
  • Heather Locklear
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Coolio & Don Rickles
  • Paula Abdul
  • Dennis Quaid
  • Cameo Show
  • Best of Muppets Tonight
  • Gary Cahuenga
  • Andie MacDowell
  • Johnny Fiama Leaves Home

This was going really well until the last couple of episodes. then it all fell apart. I suspect that was because the higher ups knew the axe was coming.

Objectively speaking, I don’t know why this failed. I laughed quite a bit and was amused. I think part of the failure was that there wasn’t that same family bonbomie from the Muppet Show. I think audience expectations had changed as had studio expectations.

But while I laughed and enjoyed the skits, each time an episode was done I wasn’t ready for the next episode to play like I was with the Muppet Show. Something that I can’t describe was missing from this tv show. Whatever that missing ingredient was, that’s what doomed this show. Personally, I think it had something to do with Jim Henson not being involved, as he was dead by this time.

Still, this was a fun little show to watch. I do wish I had watched this BEFORE Muppets from Space, as that movie used this set of muppets. It also introduces muppets that we see in Treasure Island, most notably Clueless the goat and Pepe the prawn. Knowing they’re not just random characters made up for the movies makes their characters even better.

I think for my next choice I’ll be watching Muppet Treasure Island which was done in 1996 as well.

Muppets Tonight Season One (TV 1996)

This new Muppet Show was re-tooled for the 90’s and the talkshow circuit that was the backbone of late night tv.

Here’s the guestlist for this short season.

  • Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Garth Brooks
  • Billy Crystal
  • John Goodman
  • Cindy Crawford
  • Tony Bennett
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Jason Alexander
  • Whoopi Goldberg

So, the quick run down is this. Kermit decides to do a tv show but doesn’t want to host it himself. So he suckers in a new Muppet, named Clifford, into being the host. With a whole new set of muppets mixed in with the old crew. The stars were pretty big, as you can see. They also had a lot more involvement in the show than in the previous Muppet Show.

I enjoyed this. The skits were funny and the jokes made me laugh. Even the new muppets had their charm.

Which leads into the issues and the shows eventual quick cancellation. 22 episodes were made and it was turned into 2 seasons. First, while things ARE funny, at times they are just trying too hard and it shows. Second, many of the guests get a bit more angry than I’m comfortable with. Other people getting angry, even in fun, gets me angry too. It’s not a good feedback loop. Finally, while some of the old Muppets were around, they weren’t around enough and I didn’t gel with some of the new ones. Clifford the new host didn’t work for me like Kermit had. They had a new bear! And Fozzy only made an appearance twice. The new bear was a security guard and was interesting but he just wasn’t Fozzie.

I guess I’m conflicted. I enjoyed this but saw some serious flaws that didn’t occur with the original Muppet Show. If I could find these on dvd, I would probably buy them, just like Seasons 4 and 5 of the Muppet Show. Sadly, no such thing exists, as far as I know.

I am looking forward to Season Two but really am hoping Clifford stops annoying me so much.