‘The Muppet Show’ on Disney Plus Is Missing Several Episodes
Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show is available for viewing on Disney+. It's the first time in history that the show has been released on a streaming platform. However, despite promises that all five seasons of the show would be available, there are several episodes missing. Other episodes are noticeably shorter, with scenes and musical numbers missing. In addition, numerous episodes feature a content disclaimer from Disney urging viewers to acknowledge the harmful cultural stereotypes featured in a select few episodes.
Out of The Muppet Show’s 5 seasons — which originally aired from 1976 to 1981 — 18 episodes are now prefaced with a 12-second text stating that “these stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.” According to Variety, the disclaimer was added to these episodes for different reasons. For example, it was included before an episode where Johnny Cash sings in front of a Confederate flag.
The advisory continues: “Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.” In the past, Disney has taken similar actions with popular titles including Peter Pan, The Aristocats, and Dumbo, warning that the movies include “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”
A few episodes of The Muppet Show are missing altogether, but this isn’t due to sensitive content. Rather, it’s due to music rights issues. The episodes from Season 5 of The Muppet Show starring guests Brooke Shields and Chris Langham are not currently available on Disney+. You might also notice that a few musical numbers and sketches have been removed throughout, for the same reason. (A lengthy, fan-compiled list of the missing material can be found here.)
“As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are in the process of reviewing our library and adding advisories to content that includes negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures,” reads a statement on Disney’s website. “We can’t change the past, but we can acknowledge it, learn form it and move forward together to create a tomorrow that today can only dream of.”
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