The Muppet Show is finally streaming on Disney+, and everyone needs to understand what a massive deal this is. The show’s absence from the streaming service back when it launched in late 2019 was more or less expected. After all, licensing issues and music rights had kept Seasons 4 and 5 from ever being released on DVD. The show was never available to stream anywhere before the launch of Disney+, so its exclusion was an expected—but still massive—bummer.
That’s no longer the case! In truly one of the only good things to happen in 2021, all five seasons of The Muppet Show—including the two previously unreleased final seasons—are now streaming on Disney+. When this sensational news broke last month, though, Muppet Show fans immediately wondered what the show would look like on streaming. After all, music rights and licensing issues have greatly hindered the release of an unedited, complete series run of another classic variety show, Saturday Night Live. Just look at Peacock’s SNL library. While it has a staggering amount of content, you’ll note that very very few episodes before 2019 last the full, unedited hour. Some of them are only 20 minutes long! Knowing this, Muppet fans were bracing for the show to arrive on Disney+ looking like Swiss cheese.
Shockingly, that’s not the case! Of The Muppet Show’s 120 episodes, Disney+ has 118 of them. And of those 118, a whopping 106 of them are presented in complete, unedited fashion. Sure, a few episodes have disclaimers regarding some sketches involving really bad stereotypes, but the episodes themselves weren’t edited. So, which episodes are missing what, and which episodes are missing entirely? Here’s the rundown, via a meticulous list compiled on Reddit.
It’s clear that music rights are the cause of all of these edits, which means that they could be restored should any of those knots untangle. Then there are the two episodes that are missing entirely. The Brooke Shields episode is interesting, as it’s an episode-length parody of Alice in Wonderland. Maybe there’s a holdup with Lewis Carroll’s estate (even though Disney has tons of Alice adaptations already)? Or maybe the holdup is with Brooke Shields, although it’s hard to imagine her having a problem with the world seeing her Muppet Show episode. And, uh, she literally just broke her femur so maybe don’t ask her about her Muppet Show episode right now! Let her heal!
The other missing episode, Chris Langham’s, is probably not going to see the light of day any time soon. Langham, a writer on The Muppet Show, only stepped in as host when the scheduled host—Richard Pryor—couldn’t make it (possibly because he set himself on fire… it’s a long story). The episode’s probably never going to be seen again because Langham was found guilty in 2007 on 15 charges of downloading and possessing child pornography. So… yeah. No thanks!
But anyway—considering how hard it is to find unedited runs of variety shows and classic television in general, The Muppet Show’s streaming debut on Disney+ is kind of a miracle. There are 118 Muppet Show episodes with only a dozen missing numbers is pretty Muppetational. Now, get streaming!
Originally published at https://decider.com/2021/02/23/the-muppet-show-whats-missing-from-disney-plus/ on .