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->''"If you're a human being, take a break from the race''\\
''Take a load off your feet, wipe the look off your face''\\
''We've got a lot to do, and we do it for you''\\
''Everybody take your place!"''

''Muppets Tonight'' was a TV series featuring Franchise/TheMuppets that originally ran from 1996 to 1998, initially as part of ABC's TGIF block. (A ChannelHop to Creator/DisneyChannel followed.) An update of the premise of ''Series/TheMuppetShow'', it featured the Muppets producing a television variety show with the help (or otherwise) of the episode's guest star. Kermit the Frog was replaced as host by Clifford, a catfish-esque "humanoid" first seen on ''Series/TheJimHensonHour'', but retained his role as producer. ''[[Series/LostInSpace Pigs In Space]]'', a recurring sketch from ''The Muppet Show'', returned as ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Dish Nine]]''.

The series introduced several new Muppets who went on to appear in subsequent productions such as ''Film/MuppetsFromSpace'' and [[Film/TheMuppets the 2011 film]], including lounge singer Johnny Fiama; Sal Manilla, Johnny's chimpanzee bodyguard; Bobo the Bear, the studio's security guard; voracious monster Big Mean Carl; and Pepe the King Prawn, the studio's elevator attendant who was desperate to break into showbiz, [[VerbalTic okay]].

!!This series provides examples of:

* ADayInTheLimelight: The last episode centered around Johnny Fiama moving out of his mother's house and into the studio, while Sal tried to get Johnny to go back.
* AbsenteeActor: Creator/FrankOz was absent from a handful of episodes (mostly during the second season). Kevin Clash [[TheOtherDarrin performed Animal]] in the Creator/SandraBullock episode. Clash also performed Miss Piggy in the Andie [=McDowell=] episode (though Oz [[LoopingLines looped Piggy's voice in post production]]).
* TheAce: Dennis Quaid is portrayed as such in his guest appearance, making Clifford very jealous. Ends up being an inversion, as Dennis claims all his great feats were either lucky guesses or just bluffs.
* AdamWesting: Many of the guest stars, to a greater or lesser extent.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Dr. Phil Van Neuter. However, one episode revealed he was married to his assistant's sister.
* TheBackstageSketch: Much like ''Series/TheMuppetShow'' before it, many things would happen outside of the show proper.
* BigEater: Big Mean Carl, Bobo the Bear, Rizzo the Rat and Howard Tubman.
* BreakoutCharacter: Pepe the King Prawn. Other new characters this series introduced either faded or had minor roles later on, but Pepe has had a steady major presence ever since. Bobo the Bear and Big Mean Carl have also made repeated appearances since ''Muppets Tonight'' ended, but neither to the degree of prominence that Pepe has achieved.
* BreakupBreakout: Pepe went on to appear in many later Muppet productions. Seymour.. didn't.
* CallBack: When Bobo flings Sal Monella into the traffic, Johnny Fiama comments that it's a [[Film/TheGreatMuppetCaper nutty way to get a cab.]]
* TheCameo:
** One episode was nothing ''but'' cameos.
** At the end of the John Goodman episode, he is seen relaxing on the set of ''Series/{{Roseanne}}'' (or at least a very authentic looking replica).
* CatchPhrase:
** Andy and Randy frequently exclaim "This job's too hard!!" Usually when anybody reaches step 2 of the very simple task they're putting before them.
** Clifford (when he's hosting and something inevitably sidetracks him): "anywho..."
** Bobo (as an inappropriately casual goodbye given whatever had just happened beforehand): "Have a good day sir."
** Big Mean Carl: "Hi, I'm Carl!" and "Thank you!"
* CelebrityPower: Cindy Crawford was shown to have heat vision, because she's a ''super''model.
* [[ChasteToons Chaste Puppets]]: Miss Piggy mysteriously acquires two nephews, Andy and Randy.
* TheChewToy: Clifford is frequently the subject of the show's cartoonish slapstick.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: With a few exceptions, most notably Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear and Big Mean Carl, many of the new Muppet characters that debuted on this show either got DemotedToExtra or made no further appearances in Muppet productions after the series ended. Examples include Seymour, Bill the Bubble Guy, Zippity-Zap, Nigel the Director, Mr. Poodlepants and others.
** Johnny Fiama, Sal Minella and Dr. Phil van Neuter became core characters in post-Muppets Tonight Muppet productions for a few years, but fell victim to this trope after the mid-2000s, though Johnny and Sal made one final appearance in the "Music/BohemianRhapsody" viral video in 2009. This is largely because Sal and van Neuter were performed by Brian Henson, who stopped performing on a regular basis when the Muppets were sold to Disney.
* ClarkKenting: Parodied, with a skit that featured Bobo the Bear & Clifford in a BuddyCopShow parody - Upon Clifford asking him about his sunglasses, Bobo stated he was working undercover, prompting Clifford to point that it was a PaperThinDisguise & it wouldn't work... Only for several people who knew Bobo to fail to recognise him.
* ClipShow: "The Best of ''Muppets Tonight''"
* ContinuityNod: Kermit introduces the guest star, as always.
* CupidsArrow: When the guard, a grizzly-puppet named Bobo, sees a guest star Creator/CindyCrawford, cupid appears to shoot an arrow at him...however, upon realizing that it was a ''bear'' he was supposed to shoot, he immediately exchanges his bow for a heavy crossbow, knowing that it'd take that much firepower to affect a bear. The kick from said crossbow [[LawOfInverseRecoil launches him off the screen]] while he's in the middle of explaining it to the audience. Later on in the same episode, he accidentally shoots Sal, causing him to [[HoYay fall in love with Johnny Fiama]].
* DemotedToExtra: Many older characters. Kermit not being the host is a common source of criticism.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Half of every "Bay of Pigs Watch" sketch consisted of David Hoggselhoth ignoring whatever is going on at the beach to come up with an excuse to make out with Spamela Hamderson.
* TheDitz: [[ThoseTwoGuys Andy and Randy]] may be just the two stupidest Muppets ever created.
* DontExplainTheJoke: Seymour and Pepe's attempt at telling the "Elefino" joke, which is made even funnier by [[OverlyLongGag the diagrams and placards they use to explain it]]. The audience got it the first time, they don't think it's funny. Even Gonzo had to hold Rizzo back from yelling.
* DropInCharacter: Both Polly Lobster and Clueless Morgan from ''Film/MuppetTreasureIsland'' appear on this show... for... some reason...
* DumbassHasAPoint: There instances of the slightly dim Bobo having rather perceptive knowledge of certain things. For example:
-->'''Dennis Quaid:''' Have you seen Clifford?\\
'''Bobo:''' Oh, well, he just went in the elevator and went up to the roof.\\
'''Dennis:''' How come?\\
'''Bobo:''' Well, I'm no licensed psychologist, but I would posit that he suffers from clinical depression triggered by your hyper-efficient performance of his duties.\\
'''Dennis:''' Are you saying it's my fault?\\
'''Bobo:''' Hey, what do I know? I'm a bear. I get my jollies from tipping over garbage cans.
* EarpieceConversation: In the Creator/CindyCrawford episode, mumbling security guard Bobo the Bear develops a crush on her. They hook him up an earpiece so that Rizzo the Rat can feed him the lines, but it comes to a bad end after Rizzo's nephews (coming home from the fair carrying balloons) walk in, leading Bobo to hear and repeat: [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar "That's a nice set of balloons you've got. Maybe you'll let me play with them later."]]
* EasilyForgiven: The thread of a [[Film/{{Speed}} bomb that would go off if the ratings go under 50]] turned out [[spoiler:to be a false threat made up by Sandra Bullock in an attempt to keep the ratings up, due to her being worried that they would blame her if the shows ratings were bad. The Muppets don't show any resentment for her, let her do whatever she wants (which includes a terrible act), and Clifford assures her she can come back to the show whenever she wants.]]
* ExactWords:
** When Bobo is hired as a security guard, he prevents Clifford from getting to his office because his orders (As given by Clifford) stated that if a person's name wasn't on the list, they weren't to be allowed in the building. Clifford countered by saying: If my name's not on your paycheck, you don't get paid.
** The first time Clifford and Rizzo get Garth Brooks to agree to do a country song, he sings "If I Were A Rich Man", which is a song from a musical about people living in the ''Russian'' countryside. Rizzo comments that Garth didn't mention ''which'' country.
* ExecutiveMeddling: Done in-universe when Earnst Staveros Grouper buys the station. Among the irrational changes he makes is changing Kermit the Frog into Virgil the Monkey.
* FanDisservice: Bunsen and Beaker... in bikinis in the "Cameo Show." Statler and Waldorf agree.
* FashionShopFashionShow: Johnny Fiama and Sal take Bunsen on one of these, set to "Pretty Bunsen."
* FurryConfusion: Well, Muppet Confusion, but one episode involved a ventriloquist dummy coming to life...and this freaked ''[[HypocriticalHumor the Muppets]]'' out.
* FurryReminder: Or rather Muppet Reminder. In the first episode, Clifford introduces himself as "Your homey made of foamy."
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: It's the Muppets. What do you expect?
** Particularly the aforementioned Cindy Crawford "balloons" joke and Music/GarthBrooks singing "It's Not Unusual" and inciting various Muppets ''including Bobo the Bear'' to throw their underwear onstage, including a teeny-tiny bra he seems inordinately fond of...
** In the "Seinfeld Babies" sketch, they make a very unsubtle reference to "The Contest".
** On Billy Crystal's episode, he re-enacts the ImmodestOrgasm scene from ''Film/WhenHarryMetSally'' with Miss Piggy, in which she explains how easy it is for women to fake a sneeze to get out of a date.
** During the credits of the Prince episode, Pepe kisses Seymour's butt for whatever reason.
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Seymour and Pepe pretending to be Jason Alexander's good and bad conscience in order to convince him to do an act with Gonzo.
* GotVolunteered: How Clifford got to be the host. Kermit asked for someone to host the new show and everyone ran out the door. Except Clifford, who was in the corner talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone.
* HostileShowTakeover: In one episode, the lobsters from the "Rock Lobster" sketch take over the show. The day is saved by the guest star, Pierce Brosnan, who goes undercover as... James Prawn. In a gigantic lobster costume.
* HypocriticalHumor: The shows has tons of it, particularly mixed with TemptingFate.
** On a ''Tales from the Vet'' segment, Dr. Van Neuter warns the guests not to overdo it on the eggnog at the Christmas party. HilarityEnsues when he [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsBIjhBBPx8 doesn't follow his own advice...]]
** From the Heather Locklear episode:
--->'''Clifford:''' When Heather Locklear agreed to guest star here on ''Muppets Tonight'', she said she wanted to do something cultured and sophisticated. This is what we came up with. ''(cue StylisticSuck BMovie parody)''
* IAmNotSpock: Pierce Brosnan is mistaken for 007 at the beginning of his episode.[[invoked]]
* IAmNotWeasel: "I am not a ''shrimp'', okay? I am a King Prawn!"
* IOweYouMyLife: John Goodman saves Andy and Randy's life, so they dedicate themselves to being his slaves out of gratitude. Naturally, they only succeed in annoying him. They even follow him to the set of ''Roseanne'' afterwards.
-->'''Andy and Randy:''' We were fired, we work here now.\\
'''John Goodman:''' *screams in terror*\\
'''Andy and Randy:''' *joins in*
* IncessantChorus:
** In one episode, the characters keep mentioning Istanbul and Constantinople as though they were two different places, and every time they do, a band of rats dressed up as Turks pop up from nowhere to sing the penultimate verse of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)".
** Another episode has a band of Muppets show up to sing "Whip It" every time someone says anything rhyming "whip it."
** The "Phenomena" sketch with Creator/SandraBullock.
** "Goodness gracious, my grape balls are on fire!"
* LeftTheBackgroundMusicOn: In the Tony Bennett episode, Sal has his own SadTimesMontage set to Bennett singing "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." He returns to the studio and finds Tony has been singing the song the entire time from his dressing room.
* MonkeysOnATypewriter: In one episode, we learn that the show's scripters are actual Muppet monkeys, mindlessly pounding at typewriters going "Ook-ack-ook!". Once they come up with a satisfactory script, Kermit lets them [[Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey go touch the monolith]].
-->'''Kermit:''' I'll never know what they see in that thing.
* {{Notzilla}}: An episode featured Kermit as "Frogzilla".
** Giganticus, the "World's Largest Performing Artist" was slated for an appearance but according to Rizzo was beaten up by Super-Giganticus in Tokyo. Kermit filled in, wearing Giganticus' suit and singing "Once In a Lifetime", in an homage to [[Music/TalkingHeads Byrne's giant jacket top]] from ''Film/StopMakingSense''.
* NotOnTheList: A RunningGag involving Bobo the bear as the security guard.
* OhCrap: It wouldn't be the Muppets without this.
* OnOneCondition: Parodied in an episode in which Ed Grimly will inherit a "fortune" of "eighty-five dollars" (Canadian) provided that he is married to a beautiful woman. Miss Piggy happens to walk in the door at that point... (And it turns out that she has more money than that already on her.)
* OutOfFocus:
** Pretty much every Muppet performed by Creator/FrankOz, thanks to Oz being too busy with his own project to perform them full-time. Piggy became a "special guest star" (such as in the Michelle Pfeiffer episode) while Fozzie, Sam and Animal were only used in the occasional skit or segment.
** Kermit too had a reduced role compared to his days in ''Series/TheMuppetShow'', since he was no longer the host, but as the "producer" of the show he still appeared in almost every episode and interacted a lot with the guest stars.
* OverlyLongGag: The show suffered ''a lot'' from this in the earlier episodes, especially during "Tales From The Vet."
* ParentalBonus: It's the Muppets.
* ParodyNames: Spamela Hamderson and David Hoggselhoff, the stars of ''[[Series/{{Baywatch}} Bay Of Pigs Watch]]''.
* PhoneTraceRace: Happens in one episode where Andy and Randy trace the call... by methodically ripping the phone cable out of the walls.
* PianoDrop: Clifford gets a piano dropped on him in the Gary Cahuenga episode.
* PigLatin: In the John Goodman episode:
-->'''John Goodman:''' The igpays are a little upidstay.\\
'''Pigs:''' He speaks the ancient tongue! Eway are not orthyway! Eway are not orthyway!
* PlayingAgainstType:
** InUniverse, where the monster of one sketch is played by Kermit.
--->'''Kermit''': This is fun! I never get to play the bad guy.
** The entire plot of the Garth Brooks episode was that Brooks didn't feel like performing Country/Western that night. By the time that Clifford finally convinced him to sing one of his own songs, he had already performed random bits of Creator/WilliamShakespeare, Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual", "If I Were A Rich Man" from ''Theatre/FiddlerOnTheRoof'', and had been planning to participate in one of Gonzo's acts up until the moment he learned how painful the act was likely to be (the act consisted of flying upwards on jet packs, being stopped by bungee cords, and then recoiling back to Earth to crash into the unpadded studio floor).
* PlayingCyrano: In the Creator/CindyCrawford episode, mumbling security guard Bobo the Bear develops a crush on her, and Rizzo takes the Cyrano role of supplying him with appropriate dialog.
* RetGone: A bunch of new Muppets were introduced that took up a larger amount of screen time than the original ones, and were probably intended to be a "next-generation Muppet cast" to add to the originals. The majority of them have never appeared since.
* ShaveAndAHaircut: The punchline to the "Phenomena" sketch:
-->'''Sandra Bullock:''' You should see [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5Mc55P1i9g what happens when I say "shave and a haircut"]].
* SpellingSong: In the Cindy Crawford episode, as part of a parody of ''Series/TheMickeyMouseClub'':
-->K-E-R (Are we having fun yet?) M-I-T (That's a swell university.) F-R-O-O-G
* SpinOffBabies: A sketch in which two tapes of old network shows got tangled together, resulting in the creation of "Series/{{Seinfeld}} [[WesternAnimation/MuppetBabies Babies]]".
* TakeThat:
** In one episode, a group of lobsters hold the station hostage and read their demands, mostly pertaining to the treatment of shellfish in society. However, one demand ends up being no more movies based on old TV shows.
-->'''Lobster:''' What's that got to do with shellfish?\\
'''Lead Lobster:''' Nothing. It's for the benefit of all mankind.
** In another episode, [=Andie McDowell=], after a fling with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, demands more dangerous adventures, such as sitting through a Creator/PaulyShore movie.
-->'''Bunsen:''' That's it, she's snapped.
* TemptingFate: In the episode featuring Dennis Quaid, Kermit leaves the studio in Clifford's hands, then comments, "It's not like bowling balls gonna come falling out of the sky the minute I leave." GenreSavvy Clifford expects this to happen, only other things end up going wrong. When Dennis is able to fix everything, Rizzo comments there weren't even any falling bowling balls. Cue everyone but Clifford sidestepping away as bowling balls pummel him.
* ThemeTwinNaming: Andy and Randy
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: the Music/GarthBrooks episode was an InUniverse version of this when Garth decided he didn't want to do Country music anymore and did other things like a Tom Jones impersonation, while everyone else wanted Garth to go back to the way he was, so he closed the show with "We Shall Be Free".
* ThisIsGoingToSuck: Garth Brooks' opinion of Gonzo's rocket-boosted sub-orbital inverse bungee jumping act once he learns what will be stopping them (The floor). Fortunately, he learns this in time to safely back out.
* TooDumbToLive: Again, Andy and Randy.
* TriviallyObvious: "''Muppets Tonight'': the show critics everywhere are calling... 'Muppets Tonight'."
* TwoForOneShow
* VerbalBackspace: John Goodman is fighting in a war with a bunch of rats:
-->'''John Goodman:''' Don't worry, I promise to get all of you home back in one piece.\\
''(a rat explodes and then comes back into view with his top torso separated from his bottom torso)''\\
'''John Goodman:''' Okay, maybe several pieces.
* WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong: At the start of the Creator/WhoopiGoldberg episode, Clifford is really optimistic about the show that night, and is cheerfully telling Kermit about the plans, until Bill the Bubble Guy walks past and adds, "What could possibly go wrong?" Cue [[GenreSavvy Clifford's]] immediate paranoia and a phone call from Miss Piggy saying that she's flying back from a mall opening in Antarctica and might not make the closing number.
* WhoWritesThisCrap: At the beginning of the "Hardy Pig Boys in the Mystery of the [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Zombie Queen of the Amazon Outer Space Bee Woman]] Case: Based on a novel by Jane Austen" sketch.
-->'''Announcer:''' Ugh, who wrote this?\\
'''Andy & Randy Pig:''' We did!
* YourCostumeNeedsWork: [[http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/8/8a/Little_richard.jpg Beaker does an uncanny Little Richard impression]], actually a cameo of Music/LittleRichard himself, on which the show's host, Clifford, comments "Worst Little Richard impersonation ever!"