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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Muppet Show: Diana Ross/Brooke Shields/Rudolph Nureyev (1976)

"I tell ya, this is the weirdest thing we've ever done on this show."
- Scooter, on Muppet Jabberwocky

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: April 07, 2004

Director: Philip Casson, Peter Harris

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:19m:21s
Release Date: April 06, 2004
UPC: 043396017825
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+C+C C-

DVD Review

It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights, with three more episodes of The Muppet Show, which first aired in the mid 1970s. It's for kids who know that Sesame Street is so five minutes ago, but still can't shake that fondness for Jim Henson's wonderful creations. If you've seen any of the other Muppet Show DVD releases, or are just a fan of the show, the word is: it's more of the same. And that's just fine.

Each episode features a single celebrity guest, the only human interacting with the Muppets. First up is Diana Ross, and you can tell it's the seventies just from wardrobe: Miss Ross wears a gold lamé jumpsuit with matching stilettos as she mystifies the little people with a rendition of Love Hangover. This episode seems to be designed for that growing audience, the grammar school Peter Allen fan base, as the Muppets offer a rousing rendition of one of the late Australian singer's signature tunes—when my baby smiles at me, I go to Rio. The premise of this episode is that the studio audience wants only Diana, and not the Muppets—even with a rousing episode of Pigs in Space, not even Miss Piggy can out-diva Diana Ross. Special bonus: Beaker gives us a heartfelt rendition of Feelings.

Next, Brooke Shields demonstrates the range of acting skills she displayed on all those wretched Bob Hope specials. The notion here is that Brooke will take the title role in a Muppet production of Alice in Wonderland; and Miss Piggy makes a handsome Queen of Hearts. Fozzie is a bit confused, though, and shows up dressed as the Tin Man. Go ask Brooke, when she's ten feet tall.

Finally, the Muppets go all high culture on us with Rudolf Nureyev, dancing the inevitable pas de deux, Swine Lake. The PBS roots are showing here, as we get not only the dance, but opera and Shakespeare, in a pun-laden installment of Veterinarians' Hospital. Nureyev is a good sport, but he's not much of an actor—cf., Valentino—and he and Miss Piggy go toe to toe on a rendition of Baby, It's Cold Outside, which leaves Ella and Louis with nothing to worry about. Still, this may be the most notable instance of a ballet dancer on television since Edward Villella visited with Oscar and Felix.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: There are some horrible matte shots here, in the Ross episode especially, and the colors generally are faded and dull. It could be brighter, but it certainly gets the job done.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Generally a clean audio track, with a couple of glitches here and there; more pops and hissing than you'd like, that's for certain.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Baby Geniuses 2, Annie: Special Edition, Matilda, Daddy Day Care
2 TV Spots/Teasers
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. episode intros from Brian Henson
  2. production sketch
Extras Review: Brian Henson, son of Muppet founder Jim, introduces each episode, and speaks about them as if they were part of a Shakespearean tetralogy. Also here are two brief TV promo spots for the Muppets, and a sketch from the archives of the costume design for Nureyev's ballerina in Swine Lake.

Extras Grade: C-


Final Comments

Good, clean Muppet fun, even if Ross seems like a pain, Shields can't act, and Nureyev can't sing.


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