Apparently the DVD of the first season of the Muppet Show is out now. I still haven't decided which season I'll pick up first, but I'm leaning towards getting a later one first, although hopefully I'll get them all eventually. There's a good overview of the set on Muppet Central, which also details the songs they had to cut for the sake of music rights.
For now, going over the stuff I already have on tape, I'll start with a favourite from the second season:
Episode 31 - Edgar Bergen
(fortunately people over at Muppet Central have already done the hard work of doing a complete episode run-down with screen captures, so I'll just go over my own impressions quickly)
Of course this was going to be a special episode, Bergen and his act being a big part of defining puppetry for the previous generation. It doesn't disappoint, with all of the Bergen related sections of the show being very funny (including, although he doesn't appear in it, Fozzie Bear's attempt at ventriloquism, a perfect example of Fozzie's "not quite getting the point" charm. "He won't talk to me!"). Bergen and his characters played off the regular cast nicely, I thought, with just the right combination of snide (from Charlie McCarthy) and affection.
Of the non-guest scenes, I thought the rendition of "Time In a Bottle" (with an old scientist gradually getting younger) was really good, both with the visuals and how the voice kept changing and getting clearer. It's easy to forget how good the Muppet people (I think it was Henson in this case) are at acting, managing subtle inflections like that while singing in a made-up voice. Pigs in Space was pretty good, too, although like most of the regular skits I like it in small doses at best. Not quite sure I understand chickens singing "Baby Face"