Any list of racy moments in children's television is probably going to include something from The Muppet Show. Like other children's TV shows that use adult humor (see Hey Arnold for a great example), children most likely never noticed all the age-inappropriate stuff in the Muppets, but some disturbing aspects of The Muppet Show include scantily clad stars, violent situations, and a few really heavy themes.
After the massive success of Sesame Street, Jim Henson wanted to create something for adults and escape the kiddie pigeonholing of his characters. The Muppets were brought on board the brand new Saturday Night Live, but their style didn't meld with the SNL writers. As a result, The Muppet Show was created, featuring many characters beloved by children, but there were also plenty of adult moments and instances of risque humor on The Muppet Show.
So, what is some of the adult humor you never noticed in the Muppets? Prepare for some disturbing realizations that might just taint your childhood memories.
Lucky viewers of the Raquel Welch Muppet Show episode (Season 3, Episode 11) will get an eyeful of the sultry actress. After escaping a horde of male Muppets panting outside her dressing room, she performs "Baby It's Me" – all the while scantily clad and with a prehistoric spider. Later, she serenades Fozzie to boost his self esteem – among other things – and invites him to her dressing room for tea. Fozzie innocently asks if he can bring some friends, proving Jim Henson was a master of both puppetry and double entendre.
Guest star Marisa Berenson (Season 3, Episode 10) got the honor of leading this delightful song by Shel Silvertein, full of advice on how to deal with unwanted visitors like salesmen and teachers. "You're Always Welcome At Our House" features the unfortunate victims clobbered with a hammer, poisoned with lemonade, and stuffed in the oven – and then joining along with the chorus of the song. At least children might be able to identify with the poor kid locked in the basement for trying to get his ball back.
Liza Minnelli is the guest star in this murder mystery special (Season 4, Episode 14), and half the cast dies. There are shootings, stabbings, hatchets, arrows through the head, choking, and the obligatory body falling out of the closet. Sure mystery is fun and all, but this is some dark stuff. And throw in some jokes about women's legs and Liza being a "sax symbol" and you've got a winner.
Guest star Sandy Duncan performs "Nice Girl Like Me" (Season 1, Episode 14) with the help of Sweetums and some of his full-sized monster friends. Sandy pounds back shots of liquor while hiccuping and singing at the same time, apparently like a nice girl. Eventually, her monster companions literally pick her up, pass her around, and rip her skirt off while she keeps right on dancing. Good thing we learned such a positive message about date rape at a young age.