Michael Wermuth Jnr – Episode 8 of The Jim Henson Hour features the MuppeTelevision episode “Videotape” with guest star Buster Poindexter, and The StoryTeller episode “The True Bride”.
In “Videotape”, Gonzo is supposed to work on the music video but instead leaves town to host a poultry contest, but still has a presence at the station when he pre-records himself. By that, it appears that he’s there, but he’s really just a recording, one who is very good at predicting what Kermit and others will say so he can respond properly, and proves it by having Digit rewind him (and later he gets fast forwarded to the end). Another plotline has Flash, the saxophone player from Solid Foam, hiding from his groupies, until they decide to become Bean Bunny’s groupies instead.
“Videotape” is one of the few episodes to not revolve around a theme, though it does heavily find the characters using and remarking on video technology, such as when the members of Solid Foam admit that their entire music is synthesized (even the synthesizing) or when Kermit is able to talk to Buster Poindexter on a monitor that was supposedly pre-recorded (“it’s a trick Gonzo taught me”), but practically all of the video technology gags are featured in the control room scenes.
There are some solid acts in this episode as well. Solid Foam performs their awesome music video “The Music Just Keeps Us Rolling Along”, Fozzie does a ghost story sketch (with a very creepy scene before where the monitors go out and a hand comes out of the screen to grab Kermit, which kind of doesn’t make sense since Kermit’s not in the ghost story), and there’s the awesome closing number “All Night Party”, at a big club setting with all the main characters, plus Statler and Waldorf. In fact, this is the only MuppeTelevision to have performances by both Frank Oz and Richard Hunt, who both had limited schedules for this series.
The second half is “A True Bride”, which is what the Lion from The Jim Henson Hour introductions was built for. Although he behaves like a normal lion in the intros, here he has dialogue, which Jim Henson points out when scenes are shown at the beginning. There’s some funny stuff in the intro and ending regarding the fact that he talked there but otherwise doesn’t. The story itself is decent, featuring a girl who has to work for a troll, who puts her through impossible challenges (and, according to The StoryTeller, trolls like to contradict themselves), which the Lion helps her accomplish.
It’s a mostly solid hour of fun, though the second half is not as entertaining as the first half. If I had to recommend an episode of The Jim Henson Hour, this would be it.