The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem and More! The 25th Anniversary Collection is a problematic release. The music and mayhem created by Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, and the Muppet gang on the 27-track disc is mostly hilarious, always entertaining, and also strangely moving at times. The first 14 songs are from the soundtrack of The Muppet Show, beginning with the inimitable "Muppet Show Theme" and collecting some favorites like "Mahna Mahna," Kermit's existential showcase "Bein' Green," and "There's a New Sound," interspersed with comedy bits like the charmingly silly "Monologue by Fozzie Bear" and the always-tart commentary of Statler and Waldorf. One hundred percent wonderful stuff. The rest of the disc is devoted to the Muppets' cinematic adventures: four songs from The Muppet Movie; three from The Great Muppet Caper; three from The Muppets Take Manhattan; and one each from The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, and Muppets From Space. The tracks from The Muppet Movie are solid gold: "Rainbow Connection" is practically a standard and "Movin' Right Along" is worthy of the Marx Brothers if they had ever made an MGM musical. Sadly, the quality slowly begins to slip with each Muppet project, especially after creator Jim Henson's death before The Muppet Christmas Carol was made. Even with a reduction in quality, the Muppets' music stands head and shoulders above most music made for kids.
The problematic aspect of this disc is the producer's decision to lump the material from the TV series in with the film music. Many listeners may find that the paltry amount of material from The Muppet Show merely whets their appetite for more. The soundtracks (apart from The Muppet Movie) don't pack the same combination of energy, laughs, and pathos that the TV show did; they try too hard to be statements or big emotional moments and lack the effortless grace of The Muppet Show. It is too late now, but it seems that the perfect solution for this collection would have been a two-disc set: one disc for The Muppet Show and one for the Muppet movies. Still, with RCA's superior collections Muppet Hits volumes one and two being out of print, The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem and More! The 25th Anniversary Collection is the only place to experience the audio brilliance of The Muppet Show. Buy it and send Rhino an e-mail (or a letter) requesting more Muppet Show music and mayhem.