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Inner Tube (transcript)

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The following is a transcript for Inner Tube, a 10 minute pilot for The Jim Henson Hour, written in 1987 by David Misch. Directed by Jim Henson, the show includes original music and lyrics by Phil Ramone, Bob Halligan and Phil Galdston.


Open on closeup of Crasher looking into the camera, or perhaps out at the viewer. Rock music begins to play. Camera pulls out to show a block of 4 television monitors, which show different shots of the same band playing the opening number -- a short rock song about everyone being able to broadcast themselves.
Sample of the Opening Number Lyrics

See see what you can do on the TV
Well it's me me watchin' you you lookin' at me
Everybody watchin' everywhere
Everybody, you're on the air!

Music and singing continues as the camera pans right, revealing a continuous line of TV screens. Then there is a closeup of one screen showing the whole band singing in group closeup. The camera then goes to a shot of the four screens again, and pans left where it finally comes to rest at the block of nine screens which are the main set for the show.

Glitch hops out of the upper left screen and, bobbing to the music, touches each screen to change each channel to a dancing image of himself. He dances with his images a moment, then the picture spins on it's vertical axis to show the Inner Tube title card on the "other side." The graphic segways into an interior scene of a room lined floor to ceiling with TV screens. Henry is bopping along with the music as he approaches the viewer, and stops at the block of nine screens to watch Kermit talk about Inner Tube.

Kermit the Frog: ...Easily the most sophisticated television system in the world, with fifteen hundred channels to choose from, you can always find a program to match your mood, your IQ, your income bracket and your clothes. We have the Aerobics Channel,...
clip of Miss Piggy reclining gracefully in front of several women doing aerobics
Miss Piggy: Let's face it, exercise can be very boring. But, if you do your daily dozen with someone you love, the time seems to just fly by...
Kermit: ...the Millionaire's Home Shopping Network,...
clip of a man in front of a map with Denmark indicated
Salesman: Denmark! One of the finest countries in the world! Textiles! Dairy Products! ...and it's shaped like a turtle! This can be yours for just two billion one hundred million....
Kermit: ... and my personal favorite, the All-Kitchen-Utensil Network, which I believe is currently showing "Gone with the Wind".
clip of sepia-toned kitchen scene, with a knife talking to an old-fashioned eggbeater
Knife: Frankly my dear, I don't give a spoon.
Kermit: Yes, Inner Tube is the ultimate television system of the future, here today to be part of your past. it gives you, the Inner Tube viewer, the freedom of choice to see anything that we let you see. That's why we say that Inner Tube is more than a way of life, it's television.
Henry: (talking along with Kermit on the TV) That's why we say that Inner Tube is more than a way of life, it's television.
Jake: Henry, it ain't necessary for you to be memorizing every word.
Henry: Oh, I ain't memorizin' Jake, I'm just makin' sure I know it by heart.
There is an explosion from one of the TV screens.
Jake: Oh! Crasher! Cut it out Crasher, come on now, go on. Get back in there.
A little Crasher climbs out of his TV screen and into the next TV screen below.
ITControlRoom
Henry: Is Crasher upset about something?
Jake: Well, you know Crasher. He wants to be the star of every show, and he can't so he gets a little frustrated. I try to calm him down, but he does have the tendency to crush people into little pieces.
Glitch begins crawling across the TV screens, and is seen by Henry.
Henry: Hey!
Jake: (turns to look) A Glitch! Oh, no. He ain't supposed to be doin' that. Henry, go check the transponders.
Henry: Okay. (runs back behind the panel of TVs, then runs back) Okay, I checked 'em!
Jake: Yeah, and what was the reading?
Henry: Oooh! (he runs back behind the TVs again) Oh, it looks bad! (runs back up to Jake) This could destabilize the signal!
Jake: Henry don't jump to conclusions! Now, what is the normal reading for the reality mode break-ins?
Henry: The normal reading?
Jake: Yeah.
Henry: Uh...
Jake: Twelve?
Henry: Twelve! Yeah... roughly.
Jake: And what was the reading you just saw?
Henry: Uhm, ah, uh... eighteen thousand? ...A little high.
Jake: Henry, you don't realize what this means, do you?
Henry: We're gonna have to go in?
Jake: No, we're gonna have to go in! Glitch could destabilize the signal!
Jake picks up a remote control and zaps the two of them up into a TV screen. They land in the middle of a rock band playing in a studio.
Duke: Jake! Henry! We're trying to rehearse!
Maya: Something wrong, guys?
Jake: Nuttin', no problem, a possible little misalignment in the transponder matrix.
Digit: Transponder problems? (takes a hit from a crackling electric cable) I hate when that happens.
Henry: Anyone seen Glitch?
Duke: Come on guys, let's rehearse.
Maya: What's this, suddenly you're in charge?
Duke: Maya, when there's a leadership gap someone must fill it.
Maya: But Duke, you've got a brain gap and no-one fills that.
The nameless Inner Tube Drummer does a badoom-ch and laughs.
Digit: Don't follow leaders, watch your parking meters.
Maya: You got it, Digit! Now, can we help, Jake?
Jake: No no no, just a glitch in the system. Come on Henry. (they roll offscreen)
Drummer: Big deal.
Digit: Live it or live with it.
Duke: Well, yeah, I mean look at us. We do just fine and we're surrounded by technology. Smash cuts, chroma keys, slow-mo, rotoscoping...
Maya: Eight bar hooks, low-funk retro rock...
Digit: Digital modulation wash...
Drummer: Paradiddle flamadiddle.
Duke: Flamadiddle?
Crasher smashes through the wall behind Duke into their studio.
Crasher: Exploooooo-sions! Ha ha ha ha ha! (runs off screen)
Duke: Explosions have nothing to do with technology!
The screen surprises the band by tearing in half, revealing man's (live actor) head, wearing a pirate's headscarf and eyepatch, floating on a blue-sky background -- obviously a green-screen effect.
ITZaloomEntrance
Zaloom: Technology? I'll show you technology! Ah, look! A beautiful lake! (He glides over to a tabletop decorated to look like a lake shore scene, makes blowing wind sounds and his disembodied hands place a toy tree and toy frog in the scene.) Flora and fauna! Meanwhile... (He glides over to a "factory" built from cardboard boxes and tubes, and pulls plastic wrap "smoke" out of a smokestack. Making appropriate smoke and wind sounds with his mouth, he carries it back to the "lake" scene and makes it rain pollution. He then hacks and coughs as he makes the tree fall over, and ribbits a death scene for the frog, which he flips on it's back.) And that's technology!
Sirens and bells sound.
Zaloom: Oh, they found me! Well, don't worry I'll be back. Zaloooooooooooom!
His head spins away into the distance as Jake and Henry push the torn TV screen back together. They are in front of the block of nine TV screens again, each of which shows Zaloom's face.
Jake: Whew! It's that video pirate, Zaloom. (He picks up a remote and starts changing the channels to non-Zaloom things.)
Henry: Why can't he stay in his own channel?
Jake: He doesn't have one.
As Jake changes channels, a closeup of Digit appears on one of the screens.
Digit: (aghast) A man without a channel?
The screen flickers to an image of Glitch.
Jake: Watch out! Somebody punched up Glitch! Glitch, cut that out!
Glitch reaches out of his TV to the TV on his left and changes the channel to an older married couple in bed, then morphs into Kermit the Frog.
Kermit: ...despite the unsubstantiated rumors that there is a glitch in the system...
The screen flickers to show Crasher running down a city sidewalk toward the camera.
Henry: Oh no, it's Crasher!
Jake: Henry, it's Crasher!
Henry: It looks like he's trying to break out!
Jake: Wait a minute, it looks like he's trying to break out!
Crasher leaps out of the TV screen, and lands on the floor of the couple's bedroom.
Crasher: Morning!
The couple, who are snacking while watching TV in bed, pause and look at Crasher, then at each other, then back to Crasher and resume snacking.
Chet: Well, whaddya think Babs?
Babs: Nice effect, Chet.
Crasher: I'm not an effect!
Chet: Good resolution.
Babs: Yep, very realistic.
Jake: (from the TV behind Crasher) Nope, not here.
Henry: There he is!
Jake: There he is! Crasher! Come back!
Crasher: Why should I? (hops in bed between Babs and Chet and makes himself comfortable) Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Chet: It almost seems like he's in bed with us!
Babs: I was just going to say the same thing!
Henry: Crasher! It's not safe out there!
Jake: Everything's fine, but you could blow up.
Crasher: (after that sinks in for a moment) Goodbye! (He climbs out of bed and back into the TV)
Chet: Nice fella.
Babs: Eh, for a hologram.
Scene changes back to the panel of nine TV screens. Jake stands in front of it talking to Glitch, who is standing beside him in "real space."
Jake: Okay, we know you didn't mean to mess things up, but --woooooah! (Glich grabs him by the arm and pulls him off screen)
Henry and Jake chase Glitch around as the rock band, again on the TV screens, plays the closing number: a longer, but still short song about joyously immersing one's self in technology.
Closing Number Lyrics Sample

Bits and streams and holograms
Will capture me just as I am
I'm trapped!
But i like it

Eventually Jake and Glitch appear on one of the TV screens.
Jake: Right, now, this is your home, and your'e just gonna stay here from now on, right?
Glitch waves toodleoo at Jake and skedaddles off screen.
Jake: Oh, Gliiiiitch!
Kermit appears on the middle TV screen.
Kermit: If you have any questions about the Inner Tube system, our staff or personnel, please feel free to wonder what the answers are. And remember, with Inner Tube, if you're not plugged in, you can't get turned on.
Glitch smashes into the viewer's TV screen, and the credits roll.

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