It’s a shame that in The Muppet Show‘s five-year run, they never did anything remotely similar to a Christmas episode. Especially considering that Jim Henson loved his holiday specials, running from Santa Claus Switch to Muppet Family Christmas and so many in between. But he went for 120 episodes with barely a reference to the holiday season.

To compensate for this glaring error, we’re proud to present eight Muppet Show episodes to watch this holiday season! Y’know, to go with all the other Muppet specials that are actually about Christmas.

Bruce Forsyth

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this article with my pal Anthony Strand’s review of the Bruce Forsyth episode from our 40 Years Later series, in which he makes the argument that it’s secretly a Christmas special. It’s got trees and lights and British charm, which is all they needed for a holiday special back in 1976, apparently. Eh, just read the article – Anthony explained it better.

Hal Linden

The next-closest The Muppet Show ever came to a holiday episode is the one with Hal Linden, in which Statler and Waldorf take over the show and accidentally double-theme their salutes to Independence Day and Christmas. So while it’s only one half of one number, it counts. Plus, you can’t go wrong with chickens wearing reindeer antlers.

Arlo Guthrie

In this episode, the Muppet find themselves in a rustic home, preparing for a family dinner. Aside from the obvious parallels to the plot of Muppet Family Christmas (including the Swedish Chef failing to kill and cook a turkey), this episode embodies the chaos surrounding a gathering with loved ones over a complex meal. Watch it with your family this Christmas and subtly nod toward certain scenes so you can passive-aggressively let them know what frustrates you about them!

Loretta Lynn

When we gather with our families for the holidays, chances are that at least a few people will be traveling. Personally speaking, my traditions involve travels just about every single year. And while I’ve never taken a train to see my family, the Muppets’ misadventures in a train station isn’t that far off from my time at LaGuardia Airport, and Kermit and Gonzo’s race on the handcar is almost identical to road trips with my wife. This is the episode to watch while you’re stuck at the airport, preparing for your inevitable jetlag.

Liberace

It’s no secret that the Liberace episode of The Muppet Show is one of my least favorites. It’s also no secret that “The 12 Days of Christmas” is one of my least favorite Christmas carols. But what do they both have in common? They both feel like they go on for an eternity, and they both feature an abundance of birds. The next time you hear someone start with that partridge in a pear tree, make a suggestion to screen this episode instead.

Bob Hope

A big part of the holiday season is found in the spirit of charity. The Bob Hope episode features the special guest star mostly missing, as he’s too busy with his charity work to appear on this rinky-dink variety show. But like Hope, most charity work is unseen, so it’s important to give when you can, not worry about the attention, and then end the season with a duet with a singing horse.

Rudolf Nureyev

That’s the episode where Nureyev sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Miss Piggy! It’s great because the gender roles are reversed. It’s terrible because the song is super problematic. But hey, it’s sort of a Christmas song!

Harry Belafonte

As if there’s a time when the Harry Belafonte episode wouldn’t make for perfect viewing. The finale of this perfect half-hour of television features Belafonte’s incredible song “Turn the World Around”, which preaches unity and peace on earth. For many of us, the holidays aren’t about gifts or decorations or religion. They’re about coming together, families big and small, and reaching across the aisle to embrace your neighbor. Nothing in the entirety of The Muppet Show embraces the theme of the holidays quite like this moment.

Of course, these aren’t the only Muppet Show episodes you could watch this holiday season! There are plenty of great pairings: Watch White Christmas alongside the Danny Kaye episode! Check out Santa Claus: the Movie, followed by the Dudley Moore episode! See Julie Andrews sing “My Favorite Things”, and then watch her sing some other songs that aren’t technically about Christmas in her TMS episode! Get that duo of The Star Wars Holiday Special and the Stars of Star Wars on The Muppet Show!

And then there are all the musicians who’ve recorded memorable holiday songs: Elton John’s “Step into Christmas”, Paul Simon’s “Silent Night”, and anything off of the “Merry Christmas” album by Diana Ross and the Supremes.

Oh, and of course, Muppet Show guest stars Paul Williams and John Denver have several Muppet-related holiday specials and movies to pair with their episodes.

Y’know what? You can watch any episode of The Muppet Show during the holidays. They’re all perfect. And what a great gift for all of us.

Special thanks to Anthony “Mr. Christmas” Strand for his help on this article! Click here to sing about a bunch of birds on the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com

Pin It on Pinterest