The Muppet Show won 11 Emmys during its initial run from 1976 to 1981. The 120 episodes then aired in syndication for years, and now they are only available on Disney+. But you can see clips anytime, lots of them in a list at Vulture detailing the 25 best episodes of The Muppet Show in chronological order. The show let the Muppets run wild, drew top guest hosts, and gave us memorable characters and skits like Pigs in Space, the Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf, and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker. Many of the guest hosts share their remembrances of the show, and one thing they have in common is how they came to see the Muppets as real characters instead of puppets. John Cleese was one such host.
“One of the happiest experiences I’ve ever had in this silly business. It’s about as much fun acting as I’ve had because those Muppets were so real. I have worked with actors who were less responsive. I’ll tell you how believable they are. I had to do a song at one point and I was dreading it, but once I more or less got it right on the third or fourth take, I was so delighted that when the director said cut, I patted Kermit on the head. I thought the sketch with Gonzo was one of the funniest things I ever did. I have to say this, though I shouldn’t, it’s very well performed. The atmosphere on set was very relaxed, everyone was happy. I think that helps the comedy. People are at their best when they’re relaxed and having fun.”