Monday, June 18, 2012

Case Study No. 0390: Zelda Rose

Muppet Show S1 E24 P2 - Mummenschanz
Season 1
Tags: Muppet Show S1 E23 P1 Mummenschanz Kermit Piggy Gonzo
Added: 4 years ago
From: DrJuliusStrangepork
Views: 33,508


Zelda Rose is a tall, pink female Muppet with gray hair and a long orange nose. She was given her name in episode 203 of The Muppet Show when she performed "Who?" with her singing owl.

In episode 124 ("Mummenschanz"), she conducted a group of noisy library patrons to the tune of "The Blue Danube"; they were making various noises (Miss Piggy sneezing and coughing, Fozzie tapping his pencil on the table, Hilda rustling her newspaper, Nigel chewing his gum) which irritated the librarian before Zelda used her ruler to "conduct" them to the tune of "Blue Danube." However, Wayne and Wanda eventually make their way into the scene, bumping into a bookshelf while waltzing and knocking all the books down to the floor.

Zelda was often seen in the audience, and in At the Dance skits with various partners.

Zelda was often performed by Louise Gold, and occasionally by Jerry Nelson. Although Abby Hadfield performed her when she sang "Who?" on The Muppet Show, Louise Gold rerecorded her part when the song was released on The Muppet Show 2 record.



In his introduction of Mummenschanz, Kermit describes the European pantomine troupe as "distant cousins to The Muppets." Considering the squishy, full-costumed creations Andres Bossard, Floriana Frassetto, and Bernie Schürch show off in the middle of the episode, the frog is right on the money. But the connections between the two groups go depper than that. Like The Muppets, the members of Mummenschanz - who taped their appearance on The Muppet Show mere months before beginning a three-year stint on Broadway - bring a wild sense of play to their spotlight segments, enlivening abstract masks and formless pieces of foam through movement alone. The Muppet performers had the advantage of giving voices to their characters, but the two longer scenes presented here by Mummenschanz still manage to elicit big laughs. And they're the rare "guests only" segments that manage to be as entertaining as a solid Muppet segment like, say, Episode 124's library sketch; in fact, the way they're presented on the show, they're not far removed from classic Muppet sketches like "Java" or "Inchworm." The troupe's absolutely bonkers Talk Spot - wherein Bossard, Frassetto, and Schürch make up for their silence with a few hidden talents - even provides a fond farewell to that segment's status as an every-episode staple of The Muppet Show.

"The most sensational, inspirational, celebrational": Of course, for all Mummenschanz manages to achieve in this episode, it would be a cheat to give this distinction to pieces which weren't conceived specifically for the show. As such, that aforementioned library sketch deserves some praise, if only for the way it echoes and tweaks Mummenschanz's silent performance style. It's a one-joke premise - after disapproving of Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Hilda, and Nigel's noisy tics, librarian Zelda Rose solves her problem by arranging those noises into a rendition of "The Blue Danube" - but it's a doozy of a joke. The show's Foley artist does the heavy lifting (no way Hilda's rustling newspaper was picked up by the mics on set), but the Muppet performers build the energy nicely - right to the appearance of Wayne and Wanda, who put a button on the scene by waltzing directly into a bookshelf, thereby breaking Zelda's cultivated chaos.

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