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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Muppet Show is a vibrant mix of live action and puppetry that was created to entertain both parents and kids, which means the content is generally very family-friendly. A show-within-a-show concept, the series finds Kermit and his Muppet friends trying to put on a weekly variety show featuring celebrity guests of the time (Steve Martin, Mark Hamill, Rita Moreno, etc.). The series does serve to promote the Muppet brand, but that's not really the point. There's also some cartoonish violence in the form of explosions, falls, and other shenanigans, but no one gets seriously injured. There are also some culturally insensitive and stereotypical depictions of human and puppet characters, including Native Americans, people from the Middle East, and others.
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What's the story?
Taking their cues from harried host Kermit the Frog (voiced by Jim Henson), Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and the rest of the Muppet gang put on a star-studded variety show in THE MUPPET SHOW, a family-friendly series that mixes puppetry with celebrity appearances and clever pop-culture parodies. The show premiered in 1976 and lasted for five seasons, winning four Emmy Awards and a slew of other honors.
Is it any good?
Most kids would be entertained just by looking at the Muppets, even if they never spoke, so it goes without saying that this skit-driven-show Show still succeeds at serving up laughs for all ages. Though, some of the celebrity guest stars -- and their era-specific hairstyles -- are a little dated. (Singer Anne Murray and illusionist Doug Henning come to mind.)
There's just something about Muppet humor that's inherently timeless, whether it's the Swedish Chef's spirited "bort-bort-bort!" or Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's accident-prone experiments with Beaker in the Muppet Labs. But the series' real genius lies in its tip-of-the-hat to parents at home with clever parodies of pop-culture touchstones, including the Lost in Space-inspired sci-fi spoof "Pigs in Space." It kind of makes you wish The Muppet Show was still on the air ... can you imagine the fun they'd have now?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the cartoonish violence in The Muppet Show and the role it plays in creating comedy. Why do we laugh when a science experiment blows up in Beaker's face, for example? Does the fact that puppets are getting hurt -- rather than people -- make a difference?
Do you think The Muppet Show and Sesame Street -- both of which feature Muppets -- were designed for different audiences? How can you tell?
How does The Muppet Show compare with other family shows that are on television today? Kids: Do you like it, and do the Muppets make you laugh? Parents: Is the show as good as you remember?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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