Series: The Jim Henson Hour
The Jim Henson Hour
was Jim Henson
's last television series, and aired from April to July of 1989 on NBC. The first half of most of the hours was 'Muppetelevision'
, with the second half a half-hour special showcasing what else Henson could do with puppetry (and one Muppet special, Miss Piggy's Hollywood
). Several episodes of The Storyteller
that hadn't yet aired in North America were originally aired here, as was the one-off special Dog City
, which inspired a TV series of the same name
. One character named Clifford would go on to appear in other Muppet productions, such as hosting Muppets Tonight
and appearing in Muppets from Space
Unfortunately, it didn't catch on. Executive Meddling
resulted in a far less structured show than Henson had in mind, leaving audiences confused, and the new Muppets were largely a disappointment. A common refrain from critics was that people should skip the first half of each episode, and only tune in for the Storyteller
segments. As a result, the show was a ratings disaster. Twelve episodes were produced, but the ratings were so bad that NBC cancelled it after only five
of them aired. Four of the remaining episodes were burned off in July of 1989. Two more episodes premiered as stand-alone specials on Nickelodeon in 1992 and 1993. The last episode never aired in the United States, while it did air in the United Kingdom in December of 1990.
Tropes featured include:
- Behind the Black: In the "Secrets" episode, Gonzo and others are horrified and creeped out by their performers, who are visible in a long shot. When the camera moves in so only the upper halves of the puppets can be seen, he looks down and sees the floor again.
- Bunnies for Cuteness: Bean Bunny's role as the Ridiculously Cute Critter is repeatedly lampshaded.
- Compliment Backfire: Kermit gets the compliment-that-makes-you-feel-old from Vicki, who's been a huge fan of The Muppet Show since kindergarten.
- Dance Party Ending:
- At the end of "The Ratings Game", Kermit laments that the show's fallen to pieces and needs something to save it — so Bean Bunny launches into "La Bamba" and the rest of the cast (including characters from the preceding sketches) joins in.
- The closing number for "Videotape", when Buster Poindexter hosts an "All Night Party".
- Demoted to Extra/Commuting on a Bus: Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear don't appear very often, as Frank Oz was busy with movie projects (particularly What About Bob?) during the show's production.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: One episode that never aired on NBC, Living With Dinosaurs. It subsequently premiered in 1993 on Nickelodeon as a stand-alone special.
- Green Aesop: In one story narrated by Clifford, and in others.
- Hostile Show Take Over: Gonzo and Leon try this, but it's less hostile than usual as Kermit relishes the opportunity for a break. Consequently, things fall to pieces as no one can decide who should have Kermit's job.
- Laugh Track: In Miss Piggy's Hollywood, Fozzie Bear's set at The Comedy Store (a Real Life stand-up comedy club) is heckled by Statler and Waldorf. He then reveals he brought a laugh track with him just in case, and when he uses it for the same routine, it works so well that they wind up surrendering, complete with little white flags.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: In Secrets of the Muppets, Rowlf oversees a meeting of various Muppet/Creature Shop dogs such as Ambrosius, Sprocket, the Dog City characters, and The Storyteller's dog.
- Ominous Multiple Screens: Well, maybe not so ominous. The Muppet control room on consists of hundreds and hundreds of TV screens. This made sense, as the idea was that Kermit the Frog assembled the show by tuning into every television feed in the universe and picking the best stuff. This being the Muppets, characters could also get flung out of screens and into the control room itself.
- Revival: Of The Muppet Show.
- The Scottish Trope: In the cheeky behind-the-scenes special Secrets Of The Muppets, another program that wouldn't air during the NBC run but later appeared on Nickelodeon, it's revealed that most of the Muppets are very sensitive about "the 'P' word".
- Serendipitous Symphony: In The Song of the Cloud Forest.
- Similar Squad: An episode featured the characters receiving footage of an alien TV show starring the Teppums, including Timrek the Gorf and Oznog.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Gonzo leaves to do a poultry show across town, but has Digit 'pre-record' himself to make an appearence on MuppeTelevision, and is just that good at predicting what will happen.
See the Dog City
page for tropes from that special.