After I commented on the new Muppet Show unfavorably, a friend offered to send me the DVDs she had of the original show. We watched two episodes from the first season and some pieces of another, and it was kind of a shock. To be clear, I've re-watched childhood favorites before. I have all the episodes of the "Dungeons and Dragons" TV show on DVD, and they are bad. They're not fundamentally different from what I remember: it's just that when I was a kid, I didn't notice the poor plot, dialog, and animation. But my kids enjoy them, and it's nice to be able to share them with the next generation of nerds. Anyway, seeing the old Muppet Show was a different kind of experience. Time is short, so I'll just quote from the email I sent to the friend:
By the way, the Muppets discs arrived and we watched 2.5 episodes from the first season. Oh my god. They really were just as bad as the new one, or maybe even worse. It's fascinating: we watch a lot of Disney and Pixar movies, and those generally have multiple levels of story, depending on your age/level of sophistication. But the Muppet Show is schizophrenic. I can see how I remember it so differently. For kids, it's funny and lighthearted. Miss Piggy is karate chopping someone! Candice Bergen is breaking everything in a cabin! Ha ha! For adults, it's creepy stuff: some muppet body-shaming Miss Piggy and some other muppet singing a sexist song to Candice Bergen. The truly funny bits were the "dad jokes" in between skits, like some of Fozzy's lines and the quips in the ballroom dancing. But the skits were all like, "Why would someone choose *that* as the subject?" They ranged from strange and off-putting, to unfunny and off-putting.