They Don't Make 'Em Like This Anymore
I honestly can't believe I didn't think to include one of these on the site before now. Variety Shows are kind of a dying art. "Saturday Night Live" holds the monopoly on variety entertainment in the U.S. right now, and it's nearly impossible to make a drinking game encompassing the entire series run (although, if it comes up, we'll find a way).
"The Muppet Show", however, is PERFECT for drinking to. It had a relatively short run, only five seasons long, and the content of each episode rarely changed. You had a guest star, you had some musical numbers, you had some sketches, you had some offstage hijinks...bing bang boom, you had the Muppet Show.
As children of the 90's, we all had fond memories of Jim Henson and the Muppets, although many of us had never seen the show where they all got their start. Luckily for us, and for YOU, as of writing this article the entire series can be seen for FREE on Youtube. So join us, won't you, for this most sensational, inspirational, celebrational drinking game!
"The Muppet Shot": The Rules
1. Drink for Title Drops: That's the full title, "The Muppet Show"
2. Drink when they drink.
3. Drink for Daddy Issues.
4. Drink for musical numbers.
5. Drink when someone says the guest star's full name.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Title drops: Drink whenever someone says the word "Muppet"
2. Drink for punching. Or any kind of physical violence, really.
3. Drink for explosions. Need I remind you, there is a muppet whose life is devoted to causing explosions?
4. Pick a muppet. Drink whenever he or she appears in a scene. Once per scene, please.
5. Drink for applause.
All the above rules apply. Also...
1. Title drops: Drink whenever someone says the word "show"
2. Drink when a sketch lampoons other cultures (not the U.S or the U.K)
3. Drink when a sketch repeats throughout multiple episodes.
4. Drink when the camera cuts to the audience.
5. Drink when things go wrong.
Krissy Pappau: Statler (Easy Mode)
Some Guy: Animal (Medium Mode)
Champjagne Austgin: Fozzy Bear (Medium Mode)
Big Moose: Gonzo (Medium Mode)
Pooh Daddy: Waldorf (Easy Mode)
Bride of Buggerlas: Janice (Medium Mode)
Dame Poppy Middleton: Miss Piggy (Hard Mode)
We Missed Out, Guys
Acknowledging that this is a complex show with hundreds of moving parts, with dozens of characters that all have their distinct personalities and features, with live and pre-recorded performance aspects intermingling, I feel like "The Muppet Show" achieved the impossible. It both satirizes and celebrates Vaudeville while giving us lovable characters who TO THIS DAY, forty years later, we as a culture treat like human celebrities. We love them. Like people. How impressive is that?
One of the guest stars we saw during our game was Sandy Duncan. None of us had heard of her. I knew from her Wikipedia article that she was a broadway dancer who played Peter Pan at one point, but none of us knew what to expect from her, so we were less excited by her than by the prospect of watching Steve Martin or Carol Channing (which we did later).
Then her show-stopping number happened and she blew us all away.
I don't think we have a show like this now, one that celebrates theater artists and makes sure the general public knows who they are. One that makes theater accessible for children, and gives them a good idea of what putting on a show is actually like. In a good episode, you can see someone like Pavarotti do his thing, and then five seconds later watch Kermit and Scooter freak out about some backstage accident (drink). That's amazing.
I really miss Jim Henson all of the sudden.
I hear you on the other end being all, "Duh, it's about puppets", and I'm saying that even for a really elaborate puppet show, this show is WEIRD. Have you ever gotten a good look at these muppets? What about this one?
Or have you ever really thought about the Swedish Chef? It's a character that speaks in pigin Norwegian and teaches you to cook. Using ingredients that are often alive and sentient.
Now, we know that Statler and Waldorf aren't caricatures of Siskel and Ebert because Siskel and Ebert have their own muppets based on them. So Statler and Waldorf, who were (barely) first enhanced the image of the critic, which Siskel and Ebert than fed off, which in turn strengthened the satirical elements of later incarnations of Statler and Waldorf.
And so the circle of media will continue, with The Muppets at the heart of it.
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
Kermit and Piggy are famous for their romance, but it's played up a lot more in the movies. They play opposite each other in films like "Muppet Christmas Carol" and "Muppet Treasure Island", and in those cases their devotion to each other is plain to see. In the show, however, it's a little hot and cold. Miss Piggy being the hot, Kermit being cold-blooded.
Bride of Buggerlas puts it very well.
"Kermit believes that he's a professional," she says, "so he can't show preferences to any of his performers. Miss Piggy, meanwhile, is the motherfucking star, so she doesn't see why she shouldn't get special treatment."
Kermit's got a constant struggle whenever Miss Piggy is on screen. He wants to keep her happy and make her feel cared for, but he also wants to make sure she's doing her job and not getting offended if he's suddenly called away. Miss Piggy has little patience for the technical side of the business, but it's clear that she's a devoted performer and she's actually less of a diva than I remember. That aspect of her personality must have been added in later; even though she has a slight jealous streak and truly wants attention, she works well with most other members of the cast and will more often than not do what's best for the show instead of being completely self-serving.
I have to admit that I questioned Kermit and Piggy's chemistry for a minute, but everyone else (especially Bride of Buggerlas and Champjagne Austgin) helped me see that just because they're not all over each other doesn't mean they're not in love. Their relationship is surprisingly mature. They're partners, one the king of the backstage and the other the queen of the show. As one of television's first power couples, they certainly deserve to be remembered for their love.
Drink for wild 70's clothing
We couldn't keep our eyes off some of these dresses. Linda Lavin was wearing one that had a...a scarf or something wrapped around it? Maybe it was a belt? It was purple, I can tell you that much.
Drink when someone compliments the guest star.
They're super polite at The Muppet Show.
Drink when a sketch references a pop culture phenomenon or other familiar piece of art.
For Your Inebriation is written by Krissy Pappau (Hollis Beck). All "Muppet Show" images and videos are owned by Disney.