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#1
Old 03-11-2009, 09:02 PM
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The Creepy Muppet Show

For years I've told my wife about the trauma of a couple of muppet show skits. In one of them, Kermit sings The Lime in the Coconut song and starts hallucinating. In the other, a little girl sings about killing visitors to her house. I saw these when I was a kid, and I think they gave me nightmares. My wife never quite got why they were so traumatizing.

Until I thought of Youtube.

Lime in the Coconut

You're Always Welcome at Our House.

Were the Muppets often this horrorshow? How did they traumatize you as a child?

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 03-11-2009 at 09:03 PM.
#2
Old 03-11-2009, 09:27 PM
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Ha! Thanks for the links.

This gave me the heebie jeebies:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=UyUxVCR0p9g

Last edited by drastic_quench; 03-11-2009 at 09:32 PM.
#3
Old 03-11-2009, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
That last smile is going to give me nightmares. I'd better go watch Psycho or something to clear my palate.
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#4
Old 03-11-2009, 09:56 PM
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This kind of fun stuff is evidence of how the Muppets have lost their edge. They don't do this funky weird stuff anymore, they go for very tame and sad attempts at humour instead. It's quite disappointing.
#5
Old 03-11-2009, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by SCSimmons View Post
That last smile is going to give me nightmares. I'd better go watch Psycho or something to clear my palate.
According to the link, she was Tony Perkins's sister in law.
#6
Old 03-11-2009, 10:17 PM
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Another trauma victim checking in. I can't remember exact skits, I think I 've blocked them out and would need regression therapy to remember them, but I know there were a few nightmare generating sketches.

But even just the puppet design was downright scary for me. Lady! You're dancing with a monster. Seriously I've seen him eat people - get the hell out of there! There was also an archetypal villain who would tie the damsel to the railway tracks - he freaked me out. Beaker too - why the hell can't he speak? Oh I know why - because you've fracken traumatized him too with your inhuman experiments you sick doctor honeydew!!

Maybe I was too young for muppets.
#7
Old 03-11-2009, 11:07 PM
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Hmm, I seem to have had a decidedly different reaction to Marissa Berenson prancing around in those pigtails...
#8
Old 03-11-2009, 11:42 PM
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All of those are nothing compared to the horror that is the Orange that sings an aria from Carmen on Sesame Street, just something about that weird orange with it's dead eyes and rubberband mouth just creeps me out....
<shudder>

Last edited by MacTech; 03-11-2009 at 11:42 PM.
#9
Old 03-11-2009, 11:51 PM
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I missed out on the Muppet Show when I was young and so didn't get to experience real childhood trauma, but this clip just leaves me baffled: You and Me, featuring Alice Cooper singing a really nice love song to the creepiest Muppet I've ever seen. I keep expecting "her" to take a bite out of him with that beak, like a female mantis preys on her mate.
#10
Old 03-12-2009, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
I missed out on the Muppet Show when I was young and so didn't get to experience real childhood trauma, but this clip just leaves me baffled: You and Me, featuring Alice Cooper singing a really nice love song to the creepiest Muppet I've ever seen. I keep expecting "her" to take a bite out of him with that beak, like a female mantis preys on her mate.
Dear god, that...that Muppet is...the worst thing I've ever seen. I can't believe he touched it.
#11
Old 03-12-2009, 12:34 AM
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This one really freaked me out as a kid - even the muppets themselves admitted it was weird. Now, I'm mostly in awe of their ambition.

"'Twas mimsy..."
#12
Old 03-12-2009, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Mach Tuck View Post
Hmm, I seem to have had a decidedly different reaction to Marissa Berenson prancing around in those pigtails...
So did I when I first saw the episode when I was 12. When she hiked up her dress, I stopped noticing that she was singing about killing houseguests.

Anyway, from the very beginning the Muppets did a lot of dark-humored stuff. Just take a look at these ads for Wilkins Coffee they did back in the 50's.
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#13
Old 03-12-2009, 05:49 AM
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Throughout the Alice Cooper episode, he attempts to get the muppets to sign their souls over to the devil. You don't really see that kind of stuff on a kid's show nowdays.

The muppet show never creeped me out as a kid but there was one skit on Electric Company that always did. A couple of guys put up a picture of a tunnel and a train comes running through it. I knew it was fake, I knew it was just a goofy skit, but that train coming out straight at you and the two guys pressing themselves against the wall and holding on for life always got me.
#14
Old 03-12-2009, 05:56 AM
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Thanks for the links, folks--I knew you wouldn't disappoint! Especially the Alice Cooper rivet-steel-beaked monstrosity, and the awesomeness of Jabberwocky.

And I had no idea the muppets were around in the fifties!
#15
Old 03-12-2009, 06:37 AM
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The first error is to believe the Muppet Show was written for children.
#16
Old 03-12-2009, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
The first error is to believe the Muppet Show was written for children.
This is what I was coming in to say. The Muppet Show was at least as much for adults as it ever was for kids. It was, perhaps, a "family show", in the sense that people of all ages could watch together - I think at least that it did a good job of that. But it was more of an adult show that children could also watch and enjoy, than a children's show with some in-jokes and asides for the parents.
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#17
Old 03-12-2009, 07:53 AM
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There he is, Uncle Deadly

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uk6CuLjAyGE

For some reason I was freaked out by him. He seems quite comical now.
#18
Old 03-12-2009, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
I missed out on the Muppet Show when I was young and so didn't get to experience real childhood trauma, but this clip just leaves me baffled: You and Me, featuring Alice Cooper singing a really nice love song to the creepiest Muppet I've ever seen. I keep expecting "her" to take a bite out of him with that beak, like a female mantis preys on her mate.
I don't have youtube at work, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like the punchline is missing from that skit.
#19
Old 03-12-2009, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
There he is, Uncle Deadly

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uk6CuLjAyGE

For some reason I was freaked out by him. He seems quite comical now.
He and Sweetums used to give me nightmares as a small child.
#20
Old 03-12-2009, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Maus Magill View Post
I don't have youtube at work, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like the punchline is missing from that skit.
It's just the song with nothing else at the end. Or do you mean Cooper's little speech at the beginning, where he says, "And with the power vested in me, I have touched you and made you beautiful. Let no man call you ugly," etc.?
#21
Old 03-12-2009, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maus Magill View Post
I don't have youtube at work, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like the punchline is missing from that skit.
No, the whole joke's all there.

Alice is in full-on spooky mode in the episode - he has an entourage of monsters, he's trying to get the Muppets to sell their souls over to the devil, and so forth - so, of course, when he sings a nice, straight up love song*, it's going to be a creepy monster, because Alice** and the monster really are in love.

* You and Me is a track off of Lace and Whisky, which is Alice deliberately moving away from his spooky 'evil' image for an album.

** Alice the character, of course - should be clear, but I felt the need to clarify.
#22
Old 03-12-2009, 09:01 AM
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Lynda Carter did a marvelous rendition of "Orange Colored Sky" with some great explosive effects.
#23
Old 03-12-2009, 09:06 AM
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You want creepiness leading to years of nightmares? Try Bert and Ernie exploring a pyramid. That skit terrified me to the point of demanding my mother remove all pictures from the wall of my bedroom in case they came to life at night. And I was scared to look at my stuffed animals, in case I'd see them blink or something, so I'd turn them to the wall.
#24
Old 03-12-2009, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
It's just the song with nothing else at the end. Or do you mean Cooper's little speech at the beginning, where he says, "And with the power vested in me, I have touched you and made you beautiful. Let no man call you ugly," etc.?
I'll spoil it, then.

SPOILER:
After Alice is done with the song, Scooter knocks on the door to tell Miss Piggy to get ready for Pigs in Space. The monster Alice was cuddling with replys (in Miss Piggy's voice) that she'll be right there. She gets up and catches a look at herself in the mirror and sees what she look like. She gives Alice and ear full, and he turns her back. After she slams the door in a huff, Alice goes to a radio and sys something like, Boss? Yeah - we lost another contract."
#25
Old 03-12-2009, 09:49 AM
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Odd. I never found any of it particularly creepy or upsetting as a kid. Looking back on The Muppets as an adult, I've come to appreciate the subversiveness of a lot of the humor. I have the first three seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD and I watch it with my 10 year-old daughter all the time.

I don't know where we've gotten the notion that childhood is all sweetness and light. Face it, kids are morbid. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales are filled with death and torture and other horrors. Shel Silverstein's beloved books have poems about murder and cannibalism. Halloween is one of the biggest holidays of the year. Henson and company were not of the opinion that kids had to be protected from knowing that there were monsters in the world.

As GuanoLad rightly pointed out, the Muppets lost their edge for quite a while, and watching these clips really brings it home. The satire, the absurdity, and the bows to darker humor took a back seat to saccharine cuteness. I realized to my delight that they'd gotten some of it back when Kizarvexilla and I sat down to watch Muppet Wizard of Oz. Kermit as the Scarecrow, while hanging on his pole, makes a wisecrack about being reminded of The Passion of the Christ. A corn-thieving crow snaps back that he hasn't seen the movie and doesn't want the ending spoiled. Now if that's not the Muppets returning to their roots, I don't know what is.
#26
Old 03-12-2009, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antigen View Post
You want creepiness leading to years of nightmares? Try Bert and Ernie exploring a pyramid. That skit terrified me to the point of demanding my mother remove all pictures from the wall of my bedroom in case they came to life at night. And I was scared to look at my stuffed animals, in case I'd see them blink or something, so I'd turn them to the wall.
Oh dear god, yes! I knew there was a legitimately creepy skit I'd seen before, but I couldn't remember what it was.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maus Magill View Post
I'll spoil it, then.
Ha, okay. The context makes a lot more sense. I never saw the full show with Alice, just the songs on Youtube.
#27
Old 03-12-2009, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antigen View Post
You want creepiness leading to years of nightmares? Try Bert and Ernie exploring a pyramid. That skit terrified me to the point of demanding my mother remove all pictures from the wall of my bedroom in case they came to life at night. And I was scared to look at my stuffed animals, in case I'd see them blink or something, so I'd turn them to the wall.
I'll third that one. Scared the shit out of me as a kid and still does today. *shudder*
#28
Old 03-12-2009, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
The first error is to believe the Muppet Show was written for children.
I think this skit proves it.
#29
Old 03-12-2009, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Isamu View Post
There he is, Uncle Deadly

I liked it better before they named him that. He previously was just called "The Phantom of the Muppet Show."
#30
Old 03-12-2009, 12:46 PM
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Tha Phantom was one of my all-time favorites when I was a kid. I always hoped he would show up.
#31
Old 03-12-2009, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
The context makes a lot more sense. I never saw the full show with Alice, just the songs on Youtube.
So...
SPOILER:
That's supposed to be Miss Piggy...without make up, or something? And she doesn't like being reminded of inner beauty?
#32
Old 03-12-2009, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
So...
SPOILER:
That's supposed to be Miss Piggy...without make up, or something? And she doesn't like being reminded of inner beauty?
SPOILER:
Going by Maus Magill saying "he turns her back," I'm presuming Alice somehow turned Piggy into a monster without her knowing. Or something. I really ought to track that episode down, it sounds like fun, and I'm sure it makes more sense on screen (as much sense as the Muppets usually make, anyway).
#33
Old 03-12-2009, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
SPOILER:
Going by Maus Magill saying "he turns her back," I'm presuming Alice somehow turned Piggy into a monster without her knowing. Or something. I really ought to track that episode down, it sounds like fun, and I'm sure it makes more sense on screen (as much sense as the Muppets usually make, anyway).
It's season three. I loved the Alice Cooper episode as a kid, and still love it. It and the Harry Belafonte episodes are my all time favorites.
#34
Old 03-12-2009, 02:43 PM
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Tell me that Jim Henson never did acid.
#35
Old 03-12-2009, 03:10 PM
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Ahh, that makes sense, thanks.
#36
Old 03-12-2009, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Kizarvexius View Post
I don't know where we've gotten the notion that childhood is all sweetness and light.
Oh, gimme a break. On the drive home today, I was toying with a lesson plan in which I'd reinforce the idea of place value by teaching my second-graders about Genghis Khan's brutally efficient hierarchy. I regularly counsel kids on their writing about the death of pets or their parents' arrests. I'm sure I have a much better idea about the traumas of childhood than you do.

I don't know where you get the idea that recognizing the dark side of childhood necessitates pretending that it's not traumatic for kids. Yeah, childhood is dark; yeah, that darkness is traumatic.

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#37
Old 03-12-2009, 04:34 PM
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About 5:58 into this clip you'll see the kind of humor The Muppets were known for before they got their own show.
#38
Old 03-12-2009, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Oh, gimme a break.
Shit, that was way too strong. My apologies.
#39
Old 03-12-2009, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
About 5:58 into this clip you'll see the kind of humor The Muppets were known for before they got their own show.
Okay, I'm grown, and that skit is going to give me nightmares. Ugh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NDP View Post
Anyway, from the very beginning the Muppets did a lot of dark-humored stuff. Just take a look at these ads for Wilkins Coffee they did back in the 50's.
Suddenly, I have a craving for some Wilkins Coffee! Please don't kill me.
#40
Old 03-13-2009, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
This kind of fun stuff is evidence of how the Muppets have lost their edge. They don't do this funky weird stuff anymore, they go for very tame and sad attempts at humour instead. It's quite disappointing.
Except for Pepe the King Prawn, who I saw a couple of weeks ago on Craig Ferguson talking about his ex-fiancee, who is human, and how he's into the interspecies thing.
#41
Old 03-13-2009, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
About 5:58 into this clip you'll see the kind of humor The Muppets were known for before they got their own show.
I remember that skit from when I was a kid. Ed Sullivan was no stranger to muppets with Topo Gigio's regular appearance on the show.
#42
Old 03-13-2009, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Shit, that was way too strong. My apologies.
Entirely accepted. I do not have the benefit of your expertise, but I've known way too many messed up people ever to doubt the potency of childhood trauma. My point of view is simply that the scary things of the world are to the psyche like germs are to the body. Overexposure at an early age can certainly bring about illness and even death. Underexposure, however, inhibits the development of one's natural defenses and leaves one unable to cope with trauma. Like most things in life, it's all about balance.
#43
Old 03-13-2009, 10:44 AM
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Oh, I thought this was going to be about Meet the Feebles.

Eh, I don't think anything on the Muppets ever scared me as a kid. I knew it was all supposed to be weird or funny. I loved the Jabberwocky skit.
#44
Old 03-13-2009, 10:46 AM
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[Sam the American Eagle]
If you're like I am—and you certainly must be—you are appalled and shocked at the weird, unnatural things going on here tonight.
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#45
Old 03-13-2009, 12:47 PM
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I was too old when the Muppets were on for them to scare me but I just wanted to say "Thanks" for leading me to all the YouTube Muppets clips. Haven't smiled so much in years!
#46
Old 03-13-2009, 01:05 PM
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Peter Sellers is one weird guy (the whole episode is wonderful, by the way).
#47
Old 03-13-2009, 01:22 PM
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Oooh. Peter Sellers. (I'm at work so cannot access YouTube.)

I remember the exchange he had with Kermit.

Kermit: Why don't you just be yourself?
Sellers: I have a secret. There is no "me." I had one once but I had it surgically removed.

Brilliant!
#48
Old 03-13-2009, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kizarvexius View Post
Odd. I never found any of it particularly creepy or upsetting as a kid. Looking back on The Muppets as an adult, I've come to appreciate the subversiveness of a lot of the humor. I have the first three seasons of The Muppet Show on DVD and I watch it with my 10 year-old daughter all the time.
You do? Is it commercially available? We got the first season from Netflix, but it appears that they couldn't clear the rights to do the other two. We watched it as adults, and it was awesome, and the last two seasons, when they could get the better class of guest stars were even better than the first.
#49
Old 03-13-2009, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
You do? Is it commercially available? We got the first season from Netflix, but it appears that they couldn't clear the rights to do the other two. We watched it as adults, and it was awesome, and the last two seasons, when they could get the better class of guest stars were even better than the first.
The first three seasons are readily available on Amazon.com (among other places).
#50
Old 03-14-2009, 11:57 AM
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The Phantom freaked me out as a kid, I also had a recurring nightmare for years starring Kermit. A vampire Kermit. A vampire Kermit dressed up in his "reporter" outfit (fedora & trenchcoat). I was a weird kid.
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