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Episode 503: Joan Baez

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The Muppet Show
Guest Starring Joan Baez
Production Dates March 17-20, 1980
Home Video
Baez01

Rizzo and the other rats bother Kermit for a spot on the show, so Kermit asks Beauregard to "take care of" them. Of course, Bo takes that literally, and treats them as guests. They make Beau their president, and manipulate him into giving them food. Eventually the rats become so bold that they decide to take over the show. Kermit says Beau has to kick them out, or he goes with them. Beau chooses to stick with his new rat friends, until Miss Piggy enlightens him.

Songs/Sketches


Episode

Picture Description
TMS503-01
Cold Open: Greeting Joan as a "folk singer" in reception, Pops tells her that while they've had singing rats, flowers, penguins, horses, and pigs, it's about time they had some folks. Joan is fortunate that they're unbiased around here, and Pops informs her that until she came along, they were un-Baez-ed.
TMS503-02
"The Muppet Show Theme": When Gonzo blows his trumpet, he's inundated with a group of rats.
TMS503-03
A group of woodland animals consisting of gophers (played by the prairie dogs), a raccoon, a skunk, some weasels, a fox, a deer, a bear, a rabbit, a beaver, some snakes, Rizzo and the rats sing "Man Smart, Critter Smarter" in the forest with an industrial factory in the background. The number ends when the gophers blow up the plant.
TMS503-04
Backstage, a skunk complains about the air pollution and Kermit tries getting rid of the rats. He tasks Beauregard, who has been sleeping under Kermit's desk, with "taking care of them". Beau takes him literally and asks what they would like.
TMS503-05
Joan sings "Honest Lullaby" to Gabriel in his room decorated with Superman: The Movie and Grease posters. In the song, she compares her upbringing with that of her son's, and references some things that he likes, such as teddy bears, alligators and Enterprise communicators.
TMS503-06
In Beauregard's Storing Room, the rats are trying to break into a refrigerator when Beauregard comes in and asks if they're making themselves comfortable. They tell him that he's a real friend of the rats and elect him their president. Rizzo tells him that his first job is to declare the refrigerator officially open, at which time the rats raid the fridge.
TMS503-07
In her dressing room, Kermit asks Joan if there's anything else she'd like to do on the show. Joan says she can do an imitation of Marlon Brando as The Godfather. While she prepares, Miss Piggy enters to tell Joan that she admires her as a singer and a woman. Joan turns around and delivers her Brando routine, prompting Piggy to leave thinking she has the wrong dressing room.
TMS503-08
Pigs in Space begins when Dr. Julius Strangepork informs Link Hogthrob that there's a rat on board The Swinetrek, so he's set a trap in the refrigerator. Miss Piggy sets off the trap and enters the bridge with the trap on her snout. As she removes it, Rizzo emerges wearing a Pigs in Space uniform requesting a position amongst the crew. He defends his request saying he can do anything a pig can do, including saying "oink, oink," wallowing in the mud and eating garbage. Piggy is horrified, kicks him away, and Rizzo's rat brethren attack.
TMS503-09
For the UK Spot, Floyd sings The Beatles' "Blackbird" with Janice accompanying, and a blackbird sitting on a tree in the background.
TMS503-10
Joan sings "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" in her dressing room with Beauregard (on harmonica), Gabriel, and the woodland animals. Rizzo and the rats barge in and ask Joan if she wants to be a rat. They claim it will come in handy when they take over The Muppet Show. Joan hopes they're not going to use violence, and makes a joke about Mahatma Gandhi.
TMS503-11
For his Comedy Act, Fozzie tells jokes in the forest among the woodland animals (including Rizzo and a moose). His routine includes tree jokes ("these are the oaks, folks") and the blowing of the 5 o'clock weasel to indicate quitting time. He also says that he was born a stone's throw away from here, and that his mother still lives in the area. He's suddenly almost struck by a stone having been thrown in his direction, to which he replies, "Thanks, Ma! I get the hint, but I'll quit when it's time." At which time the weasel sounds the quitting whistle blow, ending the act.
TMS503-12
Backstage, Kermit reiterates to Beauregard that he wants the rats gone. Beauregard defends them, citing his appointment as their president and exclaims "Let me people stay!" (paraphrasing Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments quoting Exodus). Kermit loses his temper, fires Beauregard and immediatley wonders to Fozzie if he was too tough on him.
TMS503-13
In Beau's storage room, Piggy is trying to raid the fridge when Beau comes in, crying. He starts to pack, while Piggy tries to console him. She explains that the rats were using him, and the two confront the rat group, explaining that The Muppet Theatre is a place for entertaining and spreading happiness. Rizzo asks if you get to eat after doing that, and rallies the rats upstairs to the backstage area.
TMS503-14
At Kermit's desk, Rizzo and the rats petition Kermit to join the cast, apologetic for not having pulled their weight by entertaining and spreading happiness. Joan comes out of her dressing room and convinces Kermit to let them join the family. She begins singing...
TMS503-15
...while the scene shifts to the closing number in a performance of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" with the Muppets joining arms in circles around Joan in a celestial setting.
TMS503-16
Kermit thanks Joan for being on the show, and she informs him that they were previously bent on taking over. Kermit is skeptical until they rush him off stage and Rizzo enters, wearing a collar like Kermit's, and signs off the show. The credits roll as they are joined by Beauregard, Piggy, a rat dressed as Piggy, and Annie Sue.

Notes

  • This episode is the first time Rizzo the Rat had a major speaking role. He first appeared in episode 418, and had occasional background parts since then. Even in this episode, he doesn't stand out much from the rest of the rats, mostly appearing in a crowd. His only solo scene is the "Pigs in Space" sketch, but he isn't referred to by name.

Cast

Muppets:

Kermit the Frog, Beauregard, Rizzo the Rat, Rats, Fozzie Bear, Whatnot, Miss Piggy, Dr. Strangepork, Link Hogthrob, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Baby, Prairie Dogs, Billy the Bear, Deer, Skunk, Raccoons, Weasels, Muskrat, Fox, Beaver, Pops, Statler and Waldorf

Background Muppets:

Scooter, Brown Bear, Gonzo, Robin the Frog, Lew Zealand, Chickens, Pig, Annie Sue Pig, Mickey Moose, Flower, George Rabbit, Old Skyball Paint, Penguins, James Badger, Gaffer

Performers

Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Waldorf, Link Hogthrob, Rat and Beaver
Frank Oz as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Rat
Jerry Nelson as Pops, Floyd Pepper, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Gopher, Rat, Snake, Muskrat and the Announcer
Richard Hunt as Statler, Janice, Scooter, Rat, Skunk, Raccoons and Billy the Bear
Dave Goelz as Beauregard and Gonzo
Steve Whitmire as Rizzo the Rat, Snake, Fox and Deer
Louise Gold as Baby
Kathy Mullen as others
Betsy Baytos as others


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