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Episode 515: Carol Burnett

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The Muppet Show
Guest Starring Carol Burnett
Production Dates June 23-27, 1980
Home Video Best of the Muppet Show
TMSburnett

Kermit makes the mistake of letting Gonzo run a dance marathon during the show. Carol's songs are interrupted, and she objects to the marathon -- especially when Gonzo fixes her up with Animal as her dance partner. Carol threatens to leave in the middle of the show, but Kermit persuades her to stay by promising that she can perform her famous Lonely Asparagus sketch. But Gonzo says the marathon won't be over until all the contestants collapse, so she tires the dancers out by singing "I Was Made for Dancin'". Burnett plays both herself and the dance's janitor (a character from her own namesake show).

Songs/Sketches

Notes

  • Statler and Waldorf do not perform their traditional last joke in this episode. Instead, Carol sneaks on stage and desperately attempts to perform her "Lonely Asparagus" act, only to be interrupted by the orchestra's finale, ending the show with her going, "Oh rats."
  • In Of Muppets and Men, Carol said: "When Kermit is up there, staring you in the face, you believe in him completely. I feel that Kermit has a soul. As for Animal, I had to dance with Animal and I had no difficulty in believing in him either because I was terrified of Animal!"
  • This episode won an Emmy in 1981 for Outstanding Writing in a Musical, Variety or Comedy program.

Episode

Picture Description
515 cold open
Cold Open: Carol Burnett arrives to host The Muppet Show. Pops informs her that the show is hosting a dance marathon tonight, during the show. Burnett seems concerned.

Pops: "Don't worry! You won't bother us."

Gonzo arrives, excited for another contestant. "What number would you like?"

Carol: "My agent's. I don't believe this."

515 trumpet
"The Muppet Show Theme": Gonzo's trumpet sounds like an air raid siren.
515 gonzo introduction

515 statler and waldorf
At the opening it is revealed that the dance marathon was Gonzo's idea. Gonzo introduces the show with: "Round and round the couples go until they drop and that's the show!"

The dance marathon starts with an instrumental version of "I'm Just Wild About Harry" and a few nautical jokes.

Kermit the Frog realizes that this is just like their regular "At the Dance" spot. Gonzo replies, "Yes, but it goes on FOREVER!"

Statler and Waldorf realize that the prize for winning the marathon is three weeks away from The Muppet Show - they partner up.

515 no partner

515 animal

515 kermit dances
The dancing continues backstage where Gonzo confronts Carol Burnett about not dancing. Her excuse is the same as Kermit's - she has no partner. Gonzo dashes off to find her one.

Carol: "Kermit, I really don't want to hurt your feelings, but this is one of the three worst shows I've ever seen."

Kermit: "What were the other two?"

Carol: "There are no other two. I was just being kind."

Gonzo returns with a partner for Carol - Animal!

That takes care of everyone... except Kermit. He's still without a partner. Gonzo is quick to find Kermit a partner - himself!

Gonzo: "Relax! I'll lead!"

515 carol interrupted
After a siren calls for a rest period, Kermit is able to introduce Carol Burnett's number: "Watch What Happens". Unfortunately, the dancing is called back and she is interrupted by various dance rhythms. She finally blows up at the dancers, and with them silenced, tries to finish her song uninterrupted. Not possible - Gonzo calls for a can-can.
515 two partners

515 carol cries
From the can-can to the twist! Miss Piggy tries to get Kermit to dance, but he won't. It's not until he is reminded that Gonzo is his dance partner that Piggy becomes an appealing alternative.

Kermit's dance with Piggy doesn't last long before he is dragged back offstage by Carol. She's breaking down. She goes from yelling at Kermit and shaking him to crying and holding the frog.

Kermit tries to promise Carol that the rest of the show will be great as she is brought back onstage by her dance partner.

515 at the dance

515 link
At the Dance: A fox-trot. What could go wrong? Midst the dancing jokes, Animal returns to his old, favorite dance move: "One, two, three, DIP!" and drops Carol to the floor.

Link Hogthrob, dancing with Annie Sue, spills wine all over the floor while checking his watch. Calling for someone to mop it up, Carol's janitor character responds.

515 first dropout
Feeling the events are lacking in entertainment, Gonzo calls for a faster tempo.

Gonzo: "We're six grueling minutes into this marathon and still these contestants can really tear things up. But! How long can it last? The bone-deadening fatigue will soon start to take it's toll. Soon every step will bring terrible agony. The muscles rebel! The mind goes numb! The hideous torture of never-ending pain and torment will--"

The first contestants out collapse on Gonzo.

515 backstage link
Backstage, Kermit calls for scenery - he's promised some variety for this show. Gonzo protests, but the cast has agreed to compromise...
515 pigs in space

515 pigs in space 2
"Pigs in Space": Under a disco ball, the crew of the Swinetrek continue to dance to the tune of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" as their story unfolds.

They've captured a mysterious alien creature (Big Mama), and First Mate Piggy is trying to figure out how to communicate with it. Dr. Julius Strangepork suggests she try the universal language of dance. It only works until Piggy is eaten by the creature.

Gonzo arrives to warn Miss Piggy that she'll be disqualified if she isn't dancing. "There are no exceptions to the rules." Miss Piggy complies, dancing inside Big Mama.

Gonzo: "Fred and Ginger were never better!"

515 polka
UK Spot: "Poke Me Polka" - the dancers beat each other up.
515 kermit piggy
The dance continues. Carol Burnett's janitor reveals that she and her mop are both enrolled in the dance.

Kermit: "I don't think I can dance another step."

Miss Piggy: "Well, during the next rest period, why not come up to my dressing room then and I'll loosen your collar and put you on the couch..."

Kermit: "Did we come here to dance or to talk?"

A siren goes off - not another rest period but an ambulance arriving.

515 dressing room

515 scooter cross-eyed
Guest Star's Dressing Room: Kermit finds Carol crying in her room, packing her things. She's leaving the show. She complains that this sort of thing probably never happened when Julie Andrews was a guest star. Kermit convinces her to stay by asking her to do her Lonely Asparagus.

Scooter pops in to tell Kermit he's needed downstairs as Carol changes.

Scooter: "Hey, Mister, you're in the wrong place. They're doing the vegetable soup commercial next door!"

Carol: "Mister? I'll have you know I am a lady!"

She hits Scooter, sending him hurdling out of the dressing room and over the backstage railing.

515 janitor
Burnett's janitor character from The Carol Burnett Show sings "But Not for Me."
515 rest period
Backstage, Carol is excited for her asparagus number, which Kermit promises she can do as soon as the dance marathon is over. "When will that be?"

Gonzo: "As soon as everybody collapses on the floor and can't move."

Carol: "How do you expect that to happen if you keep giving them rest periods?"

Madefordancin
Carol takes over the dance marathon, singing "I Was Made for Dancin'" faster and faster until every contestant (including Animal) drops.
515 robot dancers
Carol is set to do her "Lonely Asparagus", but Gonzo interrupts to award the contest winners. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew announces that the dancers were, in fact, robots he invented. Since robots are against the rules, no award is given.
515 asparagus 2
After the credits, Carol tries one last time to do her "Lonely Asparagus". It doesn't happen, because the orchestra interrupts her by finishing the theme.

Cast

Muppets:

Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Animal, Scooter, Statler and Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Link Hogthrob, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Annie Sue, Zelda Rose, Frackles, Annie Sue Pig, Mrs. Appleby, Whatnots

Background Muppets:

Beauregard, Beaker, Droop, Gaffer, Raccoons, Snowths, Penguins, Parrots, Pigs

Performers

Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Waldorf, and Link Hogthrob
Frank Oz as Miss Piggy, Animal, Purple Frackle, and Snake Frackle
Jerry Nelson as Pops, Dr. Strangepork, and Pirate
Richard Hunt as Statler, Scooter, Mean Mama, and Beaker
Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Beauregard and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew
Louise Gold as Annie Sue Pig and Zelda Rose
Steve Whitmire as Zelda Rose's dance partner
Kathy Mullen as Ms. Appleby
Brian Muehl


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