I caught this when it first aired (I think) in the summer of 1975. Viewers today seem to look at this pilot as a misfire, with its odd set pieces and the low-key Nigel as host. (Nigel would later be the conductor on "The Muppet Show.") Me, I loved it and I still do. It used "Airplane" style humor years before "Airplane". Keep your eye on the clocks in the backstage office and see what I mean. Anticipating another gimmick popular today, it rewards viewers who sit through the credits with a surprise or two. And it was deliberately aimed at adults, with a bizarre "Seven Deadly Sins" pageant.
Henson and company would learn from this show. The really weird sketches would remain, but almost always as musical numbers, and the show would be tied together as a revue hosted by the more versatile Kermit.
But I'll always cherish the incredible 1/2 hour of joyful senselessness this show represented. Aside from some holiday and fairy tale themed TV specials, the Muppets had never had a full production like this, and this time their were no rules. So we got rubber-limbed wrestlers, birds squawking pickup lines, Mount Rushmore spouting knock-knock jokes, and so on. Heck, some of the characters, like the Swedish Chef and the complaining Stadler and Waldorf, would turn out to be pretty popular.
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