Muppet Babies
MB710-00
Air Date September 29, 1990
Written by Hank Saroyan
J.R. Young
MB710-07
MB710-12
MB710-23
MB710-35
MB710-38

There's a problem with the water pipes, so the Muppet Babies imagine themselves as opera-singing superheroes and figure out what is wrong.

Plot

The Babies are imagining themselves sailing on the ocean, sparring between two ships: one under the command of Captain Kermit, and the other under the control of pirate captain Baby Gonzo. Outside of their fantasy, Baby Fozzie, who has been standing watch in the boat's lookout, spots a UPS truck making a delivery outside the Nursery.

Nanny accepts the package at the door, rejecting the babies' theories as to what it might. It's a videotape she'd sent for, "The Greatest Moments in the History of Opera". The babies immediately lose their enthusiasm and Skeeter sighs, "bo-ring." Nanny disagrees: "opera heroes were the great superheroes of their day!" Another letter informs them that the water in the neighborhood has been turned off, so Nanny resigns to watching her new video in the TV room. The babies decline the invitation, "We've got a lot of playing to do in the nursery," Kermit says. Nanny exits humming "La donna è mobile".

Pondering over the implications of no running water, Baby Scooter (underscored by "The Marriage of Figaro") reports on a variety of water sports, starting with coverage of Skeeter going over a waterfall in a metal barrel. The siblings spar through song, with antagonist lyrics set to Amilcare Ponchielli's Dance of the Hours. Halfway down the falls (underscored by the beginning on "The Toreador Song"), Skeeter's descent is halted because the water has been turned off.

Back in their pirate fantasy, the babies sing their own version of "Habanera" from Bizet's Carmen. The song comes to a halt when a squeaky valve is turned, shutting off the water to the ocean, and freezing their pirate ship at the crest of a wave. Fozzie speculates that the ocean may have forgotten to pay its water bill.

In Venice, Baby Gonzo sings another rendition of "La donna è mobile" as a gondolier with Baby Piggy as his passenger. Finding themselves thirsty, they row over to a faucet only to have a cloud of dust emerge. The water drains from Venice as well as the babies' other fantasies, and — underscored by The Marriage of Figaro — they surmise that all the water is gone.

Suffering the fate of a dry world, the babies find themselves in a barren desert, singing their own lyrics to Verdi's "Anvil Chorus". Gonzo resolves to go find the water, suggesting they all split up to search. As they continue through the desert, the song shifts to the "Ranz des vaches" movement from the "William Tell Overture" with new lyrics. After Skeeter dives into a swimming pool that turns out to be a mirage, Gonzo arrives at Batman (or, rather, Batboy) in the Batmobile singing his own lyrics to the "March of the Swiss Soldiers" movement, again from William Tell.

Batboy transports the Babies to Gotham City to track down the missing water. He opens a door to uncover the thief, but reveals a clip from The Three Stooges instead, so heads back to the Batmobile where Piggy has been left behind. Kermit suggests they're going to need more than one superhero, so he, Fozzie, Baby Animal, Baby Bean Bunny, and Baby Rowlf emerge from the sewer as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and sing their own version of "Largo al factotum" from The Barber of Seville.

On the rooftops, Skeeter and Scooter appear as the Wonder Twins, touch their rings together, and take on the form of a Scootercopter and pilot (after transforming into a pair of red high-heeled shoes). Meanwhile, Gonzo and Piggy have tracked the water thief down as the Phantom of the Opera. Underscored by the "Prelude to Act III" from Richard Wagner's Lohengrin, all the babies — in their superhero personae — infiltrate the opera house to apprehend the culprit. On the run from the Phantom, Piggy has freed herself from the Batmobile and arrives on horseback singing her own version of "Ride of the Valkyries".

Their chase after the villain turns to the real world where the water man speaks to them through the front door of Nanny's house to tell them that the water has been turned back on. In victory, the babies sing "The Toreador Song" with their own lyrics. Nanny catches the end of their performance and notes that they must like opera after all. Fozzie says maybe next week they'll shut their air off and they can learn to like brussel sprouts.

After the credits, back in the desert, Fozzie and Kermit spot Animal in a flying car, bidding the audience, "Go bye-bye!"

Notes

  • In an interview with Hank Saroyan, this episode was intended to pique young viewers' interest in opera from The Barber of Seville, Carmen, Rigoletto, William Tell Overture, and Dance of the Hours. This episode required a great deal of extra recording studio work for nine minutes of music compared to the usual one minute of music per episode. Saroyan and Jim Henson had discussed producing this episode, but had not because of cost. However, Saroyan was determined to produce this episode as an unofficial tribute to Henson.[1]

Gallery

Sources

  1. The Prescott Courier: "Muppet Babies venture into fascinating world of opera"


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