Episode 2 feels a little tigher than the first, and apparently is the last time we will get the muppet likeness! Tragedy indeed, because I really enjoyed it. Sometimes, research hurts. The acts in this one are a little longer, and a lot more focus is put on the backstage antics. Call me crazy, but it actually reminds me a bit of Robert Altman’s final film A Prairie Home Companion… although, not being familiar with variety shows I can’t say much on the subject. New characters are introduced, the Newsman and the Swedish chef. The latter being one of my favourites, his linguistic gymnastics never fail to send me into a fit of giggles. I’m still waiting on beaker though! He may be my favourite muppet… aside from Animal! The shows opening act is Kermit singing Lydia the tatooed lady. I only know the song from one of those Marx Brothers films, because I know Groucho performs it at least once.
I can’t say I really like Connie Stevens, especially compared to Juliet Prowse who exudes such a positive energy. I don’t think it’s entirely her fault, as the first song she sings just happens to be incredibly obnoxious and grating. A throwback to a 1950s style, she sins “Teenager in Love” the type of song that works for acts like the Shangri-La, or on the radio… but just seems disturbingly unfunny sung by a woman who looks far too old for the song, and without any real sense of irony. The sequence is only worth it for the fun quips by everyone’s favourite critics Statler and Waldorf:
STATLER: How poignant, I remember being a teenager in love.
WALDORF: Yeah, but Queen Victoria wouldn’t have you!
She fairs better when she sings to Kermit later in the episode.
Guest start Pt II: Bert and Ernie
Muppet guest stars on the muppet show, pretty cute! Bert and Ernie from Seseame Street make an appearance in this episode, riffing in their typical way. However, soon Bert takes centre stage as he performs “Some Enchanted Evening”, in a very out of character number with Connie White. His classing up is short lived however, as he soon is brought back to his own boring reality.
Best act: Sax and Violence
Again, I’m guilty of falling for a musical sequence… featuring Mahna. The song is catchy, and ironically humoursly much in the same way Mahna Mahna is in the first episode. This time, legitimate jazz musician Zoot, is made to play a simple note on his sax every once in a while”, until Mahna arrives with a bell to wreck havoc and steal the show. He turns his small part into, what is essentially a “bell” solo, and begins attacking Zoot. Mahna eventually gets his comupence for his violent behavior.