PIGS... IN... SPAAAAACE!
April 9, 2010 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Pigs in Space appeared in over 30 Muppet Show episodes and spoofed contemporary science fiction television series. Most of them are now on YouTube or other video streaming sites. Links inside.

The Headlight on a Motorcycle (from Episode 203: Milton Berle)
Mid-Course Correction (from Episode 205: Judy Collins)
Miss Piggy's Important Job (from Episode 207: Edgar Bergen)
The Captain's Controls (from Episode 209: Madeline Kahn)
Boredom (from Episode 214: Elton John)
Inspection (from Episode 216: Cleo Laine)
Jettison (from Episode 218: Jaye P. Morgan)
Out of Swill (from Episode 222: Teresa Brewer)
Long John Silverstein (from Episode 223: John Cleese)
Chopped Liver (from Episode 224: Cloris Leachman)
Electric Toaster (from Episode 303: Roy Clark)
Snacko Waves (from Episode 305: Pearl Bailey)
Outlines (from Episode 307: Alice Cooper)
Dissolvatron (from Episode 314: Harry Belafonte)
Dummo Rays (from Episode 315: Lesley Ann Warren)
First Pigs on Koozebane (from Episode 319: Elke Sommer)
Invisibility Pills (from Episode 324: Cheryl Ladd)
Dearth Nadir (Not the full clip (and in German -- Schweine im Weltall!) -- from Episode 402: Crystal Gayle)
M.A.M.M.A. (from Episode 407: Dudley Moore)
Best Sketch Nomination (Not online -- from Episode 412: Phyllis George)
Star Wars (from Episode 417: Star Wars)
Weight Problems (from Episode 420: Alan Arkin)
Force Field (from Episode 423: Carol Channing)
Gas Lighter (from Episode 424: Diana Ross)
The End of the Universe (from Episode 501: Gene Kelly)
First Mate Loretta (from Episode 502: Loretta Swit)
Rat Attack (Not online -- from Episode 503: Joan Baez)
Meteor Storm (from Episode 509: Debbie Harry)
The Creature from Crab Nebula (Not online -- from Episode 512: Melissa Manchester)
Quiet Day (Not online -- from Episode 513: Tony Randall)
At the Dance (from Episode 515: Carol Burnett)
Battle Robot Monster (Not online -- from Episode 523: Linda Ronstadt)
posted by cog_nate (52 comments total) 161 users marked this as a favorite

 
i need to install an insta-add-to-favorites script when fpp contains "Muppets"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:43 AM on April 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


The term "Electrifying Mid-Course Correction" has been a standard part of my vocabulary for decades.
posted by tommasz at 8:57 AM on April 9, 2010


PIIIIGGGGGGSSSSSS IIIIIIIINNNN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYCE!
posted by i_cola at 9:00 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


God I love this skit. ["Boredom" is my fave.] It continues to amaze me that it references both Star Trek (USS Swinetrek) and Dr. Strangelove (Dr. Strangepork). Strangelove came out in 1964 and the Muppet Show premiered in 1976. This is the equivalent of what now? SpongeBob referencing Eyes Wide Shut dozens of times? Dora the Explorer running into Gunnery Sergeant Hartman every week?
posted by mattbucher at 9:02 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whoah. Just seeing some of those titles brought back vivid images. No time for this today, but hello weekend!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:02 AM on April 9, 2010


i came here to make i_cola's comment
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:02 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you like Jim Henson's The Muppets, then you'll love Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles! (or ... you'll love Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio ... "The idea came from Gris, and everybody loves his book about it. The original story is far more perverse and spooky and semi-necrophilia vibe to it in certain aspects.")

Yes, I am the sort of jerk who would poison your auto-fave system with deviant posts. But until then: Surprising stories behind 20 Muppet characters, including the the disputed real Swedish chef, Lars "Kuprik" B├Ąckman.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:04 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Lets say you're the first pig ever to make alien contact...
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:08 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is great!
posted by brundlefly at 9:10 AM on April 9, 2010


You sir or madam. are a human of both taste and distinction.
When I was in the navy in the 70's, I had a PIS binder, with a glamour shot of Miss Piggy. Muppets keeping our Country Safe!
posted by djrock3k at 9:13 AM on April 9, 2010


Hello, childhood memories! Nice to see you again!

*vanishes into youtube*
posted by rtha at 9:22 AM on April 9, 2010


Are any of these the one that contains Fozzie? There was an episode in which Fozzie's mother was in the audience and he was desperate to impress her, so he was trying to horn in on all the numbers. Kermit wouldn't let Fozzie into the Pigs In Space sketch because he wasn't a pig, so Fozzie locked Miss Piggy into her dressing room and appeared on the sketch in a blond wig. At the end of the show Fozzie discovered that Ma Fozzie was fast asleep in her seat.

Guess I'll have to watch all of these and find out.
posted by orange swan at 9:25 AM on April 9, 2010


orange swan, that one is Inspection.
posted by cog_nate at 9:29 AM on April 9, 2010


This ROCKS. Thank you for a fantastic post, and walk down memory lane!
posted by zarq at 9:33 AM on April 9, 2010


Don't be silly, filthy light thief. We all know who the real Swedish Chef was.
posted by Madamina at 9:33 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Someone have the clip from 30 Rock where Jack says that he wishes he could see the world through Tracy's eyes as he's in space, and then we see the world through Kenneth's eyes and they're all muppets? Seems they missed a massive opportunity to show pigs in space.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:35 AM on April 9, 2010


I just realized: Zap Brannigan = Link Hogthrob.
posted by steef at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2010


Relevant Yip Yips.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


mattbucher: It continues to amaze me that it references both Star Trek (USS Swinetrek) and Dr. Strangelove (Dr. Strangepork). Strangelove came out in 1964 and the Muppet Show premiered in 1976. This is the equivalent of what now? SpongeBob referencing Eyes Wide Shut dozens of times? Dora the Explorer running into Gunnery Sergeant Hartman every week?
That's an interesting observation.

Of course, there are some pretty obvious reasons why kid-friendly shows don't do jokes about adults-only fare like Eyes Wide Shut.

But in general, do kid-friendly shows do less in the way of referring to / spoofing earlier programs than they used to? Or were Jim Henson productions just very big on that comedy technique, so there were jokes the grown-ups would get? (Sesame Street did a lot of it too, I seem to remember.) Or has our pop culture exploded into too many tiny shards to make that sort of humor broadly appealing now?
posted by Western Infidels at 9:39 AM on April 9, 2010


>It continues to amaze me that it references both Star Trek (USS Swinetrek) and Dr. Strangelove (Dr. Strangepork). Strangelove came out in 1964 and the Muppet Show premiered in 1976. This is the equivalent of what now? SpongeBob referencing Eyes Wide Shut dozens of times? Dora the Explorer running into Gunnery Sergeant Hartman every week?

It's the equivalent of a 1993 Saturday morning cartoon, doing a parody of Apocalypse Now.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 9:39 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


"The muppets are better actors than human beings" (behind the scenes with muppets on 30 Rock). Seeing the world through Kenneth's eys (and a series of muppets clips from the same show - including a clip of Tracy in Space - and a longer Liz Lemon muppet-walk clip).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 AM on April 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


To your point, Western Infidels, Sesame Street recently did a Mad Men parody and I'm sure most 3 year olds had no clue.
posted by mattbucher at 9:51 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even though Pigs in Space didn't show up until the second season of The Muppet Show, it had its roots in a sketch in the Sex and Violence pilot of the series. The Films in Focus sketch reviews the film "Return to Beneath the Planet of the Pigs" a sci-fi spoof of the Planet of the Apes franchise reviewed by a Gene Shalit-lookalike muppet and featuring an early prototype of Miss Piggy with smaller eyes and a different voice.
posted by pahool at 9:53 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Filthy Light Theif. You're better than Google!
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:56 AM on April 9, 2010


But in general, do kid-friendly shows do less in the way of referring to / spoofing earlier programs than they used to? Or were Jim Henson productions just very big on that comedy technique, so there were jokes the grown-ups would get? (Sesame Street did a lot of it too, I seem to remember.) Or has our pop culture exploded into too many tiny shards to make that sort of humor broadly appealing now?
posted by Western Infidels at 12:39 PM on April 9 [+] [!]


IIRC The Muppet Show was targeted to adults. It was a prime time variety show in the same vein as the Sonny and Cher or Flip Wilson or any number of them.

How I wish there was an all variety show cable station.
posted by Gungho at 10:00 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Relevant Yip Yips.

Reminds me of this which is currently one of my kids' favorite muppets songs. (From Sesame Street, not the Muppet Show.)
posted by zarq at 10:04 AM on April 9, 2010


The Muppetverse is so perfectly interweaved I think it's safe to say there is no point where Sesame Street ends and The Muppet Show begins.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:06 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


mccarty.tim, may I use that on my resume?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on April 9, 2010


If you like Jim Henson's The Muppets, then you'll love Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles!

Doesn't that sort of imply that I'll prefer Meet the Feebles to The Muppets? Sheer heresy, filthy light thief! Because, while I did enjoy the Jackson movie, my esteem for it in no way approaches my love for Jim Henson's motley band of lovable, fuzzy misfits.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2010


But in general, do kid-friendly shows do less in the way of referring to / spoofing earlier programs than they used to?

Depends on what you're watching. I'd had "Rosebud is the sled!" ruined by like five cartoons long before I saw Citizen Kane. And how much of Dexter's Laboratory is made up of loving on Japanese sci-fi cartoons of the seventies?
posted by egypturnash at 10:13 AM on April 9, 2010


ruined by like five cartoons long before I saw Citizen Kane

Yeah, Lucy Van Pelt ruined that one for me.
posted by pahool at 10:16 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Of course, there are some pretty obvious reasons why kid-friendly shows don't do jokes about adults-only fare like Eyes Wide Shut.

It was maybe not as "adults-only" as Eyes Wide Shut, but Dr. Strangelove, portraying a convincing path to assured mutual destruction, was maybe not that far off. The comedy in Strangelove was in the details - the plot itself was no joke. AND, ultimately, the last laugh in Strangelove is that everyone finally "learns to stop worrying and love the bomb" because they are going to be locked in a fallout shelter having sex with hot babes for the next fifty years.

And it's by Kubrick.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:21 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wake me up when they make Lolita jokes in Spongebob.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:34 AM on April 9, 2010


What do you mean, "*Pigs* cut the power"? How could they cut the power, man? They're animals!
posted by benzenedream at 10:41 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


In Spanish now, as it was when I watched this for the first time as a kid: Cerdiiiitossss.... en el espaaacioooo!
posted by Iosephus at 11:23 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you like Jim Henson's The Muppets, then you'll love Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles!

So, the movie starts, and there's this big production number, and you think, "Oh okay, it's a Muppet Show type movie, with a bunch of puppets doing theater. Okay."

Then the scene switches to backstage where a pervy rat is rubbing his crotch and making sexual comments to the dancers as they come off stage, and you think "Ah, I see! It's going to be a much more adult take on this whole idea."

And then you get to the scene where the walrus is fucking the cat...
posted by hippybear at 11:39 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Brian Henson on Link Heartthrob: As a kid, whenever my dad did some stereotypical fatherly chore, like carving the Thanksgiving turkey, that would be the voice he would use. I guess when the character of this pompous, not-too-bright pig came along, he figured well that voice would fit just perfectly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:56 AM on April 9, 2010


Yay!
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:15 PM on April 9, 2010


We've been going through the Muppet Show from beginning to end lately, and Pigs In Space has been the highlights, enough that I was beginning to consider making a FPP myself.

One of the most interesting things about watching the show through (including the pilots) has been to watch the evolution of the characters, especially Miss Piggy, who I'm becoming more and more convinced is a brilliant creation, far beyond the other (still wonderful) characters on the show.

Miss Piggy had a kind of role in the pilot, as mentioned above, but her true beginning is a pig choir member in the first episode who, during a break in the song, suddenly announces, regarding conductor Kermit: "I love him!" It is said quietly but with strange conviction, enough so that it is a shocking moment, and it serves to ramp up the comedic tension of the scene considerably. By the end the pig has borne Kermit to the floor, attacking the hapless frog with an overbearing mass of kisses. The whole affair has the air of something improvised, like something Frank Oz did to try to crack up the other muppeteers.

That is the odd bit here. Miss Piggy is performed by a male, the same person who does Fozzie Bear and several other characters (which is why you only rarely see the pig and the bear in the same room). Watching the shows with that fact in mind, one comes to realize how difficult the performance must have been. I get the feeling they introduced a girl pig understudy (Annie Sue) to put a girl character operated by an actual woman into the mix, but she doesn't last long.

Henson is quoted somewhere as saying that Miss Piggy is one of the few three-dimensional characters on the show, that it happened without anyone trying, and that it would be a mistake to try to make characters like that. I generally agree; the Muppets are able to be crazy mostly because we're not looking for any great depth out of them. Most of the characters have simple wants and reactions. Fozzie wants to be loved by the audience but has failings as a comedian. Waldorf and Statler just want to heckle the performances. Gonzo has his "art" and his affection for chickens. There is not an awful lot going on inside the felt-covered heads of most of them. Miss Piggy, on the other hand, has this internal tension between strength and vulnerability. She would be an overbearing, hateful character if it weren't for her love of Kermit and the little affectations that show that she's really insecure.

Not a lot of that comes out in the Pigs In Space clips. That doesn't detract at all from their hilariousness.
posted by JHarris at 12:57 PM on April 9, 2010 [25 favorites]


Next can someone do all the Veterinarian's Hospital sketches? "Tune in next week, when you'll hear Doctor Bob say..."
posted by tracicle at 1:06 PM on April 9, 2010


Wonderful post! Can I get something similar for "Bear on Patrol"? How about it, internet??
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:14 PM on April 9, 2010


30 Rocks
posted by The Whelk at 1:35 PM on April 9, 2010


Are you trying to get me fired? Are you? Because that would give me time to revel in the Muppet Shows glory. Carry on.
posted by chairface at 3:12 PM on April 9, 2010


This is awesome. Thank you.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:23 PM on April 9, 2010


filthy light thief's links made me realize this is the first time I have ever seen Muppet puppeteers (Muppeteers?)! That looks like a really tough job with all the ducking and raised arms.

Also, the power of Sesame Street remains strong. I invited my 7-year-old daughter to watch the 30 Rocks sketch with me. I said, "Look, it's Sesame Street!" She said, "Sesame Street stinks!" (She's too old for it now - a fan of iCarly.) BUT it just took a few a seconds for her to be enraptured.

Thanks for this - it is awesome!
posted by jeoc at 4:52 PM on April 9, 2010


I had Miss Piggy sneakers when I was a little girl. Man, were those some badass sneakers.
posted by padraigin at 7:10 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh! And the nascent font nerd in me is delighted to see that they are still using the same clear, elegant sans serif font for their numbers that they did in my early-80's childhood.
posted by jeoc at 8:31 PM on April 9, 2010


I had Miss Piggy sneakers when I was a little girl. Man, were those some badass sneakers.

OMG! I had Kermit ones. I'd totally forgotten about them until just now.

Man, I would love to find grown-up Kermit sneakers. Wonder if they exist . . .
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:23 AM on April 10, 2010


Depending on how big your feet are... they do exist.
posted by hippybear at 10:28 AM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


this is the first time I have ever seen Muppet puppeteers (Muppeteers?)! That looks like a really tough job with all the ducking and raised arms.

Here's a great behind the scenes look, if you want to see more: Of Muppets and Men
posted by evilcolonel at 7:33 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Luke Skywalker and C3P0 on Pigs in Space is brilliant.
posted by gen at 1:11 AM on April 12, 2010


It continues to amaze me that it references both Star Trek (USS Swinetrek) and Dr. Strangelove (Dr. Strangepork). Strangelove came out in 1964 and the Muppet Show premiered in 1976. This is the equivalent of what now?
I was watching Between the Lions with my toddlers the other day and there was a segment parodying Wayne's World.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 7:53 AM on April 21, 2010


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