Saturday, February 11, 2012
The Muppets Valentine Show
(Note:most of the images in this review are borrowed from the excellent Muppet Wiki site)
First aired January 30 1974
Directed by Jim Henson
A TV writer named Wally (Jim Henson) is working on a script for a Muppet Valentine special. As he types out his ideas, we get to watch them happen on screen.
Kermit the Frog (Henson again) tells the story of his courtship of Miss Mousey (Jerry Nelson) and sings "Froggy Went A Courtin'."
Wally says the show needs a special guest, he types the words "Mia Farrow appears at the door"...and Mia Farrow appears!
Wally gives Farrow a Valentine card from Thog (Jerry Nelson again) that reads "Be My Valluntune". This leads to a duet between Farrow and Thog of the song "Real Live Girl."
Wally says the show needs a conversation between Rufus the dog (Frank Oz) and Farrow. She's thinking of getting a dog, but doesn't know what kind she should get, she wants Rufus's advice. Farrow then says on second thought, she doesn't want a dog...unless the dog was just like Rufus. She gives Rufus a big hug and sings "Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms."
Wally imagines what love is like on other planets. We are taken to the planet Koozebane, where Kermit reports on the Koozebanean mating ritual.
We Got Love."
J.A Morris says:
This special is the first of several pilots that ultimately led to the creation of The Muppet Show. I'm a huge fan of the Muppets, but I'd never heard of it until I saw it on a dvd last year. It's not exactly a lost classic, but it's a generally fun Valentine show. It's obvious that Henson and company are still figuring out how to fill 30 minutes of programming time.
But the Koozbanean mating ritual segment makes this special worth watching all by itself. It's also an example of the subversive side of the Muppets. I don't want to spoil it by going into too much detail here, check it out for yourself.
Mia Farrow does not have a very good singing voice, but she has natural chemistry with the Muppets in this special. She was also very pregnant when this was taped but she does a fine job dancing with Thog. And the giant Thog looks very cute and funny in his "Valentine" sweater.
And dog lovers will also appreciate her song to Rufus, it's a very sweet scene. Farrow and Muppet-eer Frank Oz make you believe Rufus is real as any dog.
The Muppets Valentine Show can be found on dvd as a bonus feature on The Muppet Show-Season Two.
Three Valentine Hearts
I am a big Muppets fan, and this episode is interesting in terms of seeing how Jim Henson & company were still figuring out how they were going to make a Muppet variety show work in the run-up to making The Muppet Show. They hadn't quite gotten it down pat, so there are some things, especially transitions, that seem a bit ... creaky to me. I liked a lot of the same scenes that JA Morris liked for similar reasons. Mia Farrow's singing voice (or lack thereof) gets on my nerves, but she was certainly a good sport and did well interacting with the Muppets. This special strikes me as being more of a curiosity for the hard-core Muppets fan than a "classic" holiday episode.
Two and a half Valentine Hearts