Ben and Pete start down the winding, uncertain path of developing a grand unified theory of whether the Muppet Show is a filmed stage show, a television show within a show, and whether the viewing audience exists in the Muppet Show universe. Oh, and they also review the sketches, guest, etc., etc., per usual.
Sources and References:
Ben erroneously attributes the Muppet compilation videocassettes to Time/Life. While not a wholly unreasonable mistake, those collections were produced by Playhouse Video. “Rag Mop” only appears on the Rowlf’s Rhapsodies collection, but George saying, “Now that’s my kind of act!” was used in the promos that appeared at the beginning of more than one of the volumes.
Peter believes that podcast that was reminiscing about The Sonny and Cher Show was The Stay F. Homekins podcast with Paul F. Tompkins and Janie Haddad Tompkins. The reason why Ben was so primed and ready to agree with him was an article he had squirreled away from the second season of The Muppet Show that puts forward the thesis that the Muppets are the modern equivalent of vaudeville.
Lena Horne’s biography is Stormy Weather by James Gavin. It’s a dense, well-researched, and complicated read. A summary of the contents can be found in this NYTimes review, which also excerpts the first chapter. Ben’s fascination with her connection to Jenny Lumet probably goes back to this profile of her after Rachel Getting Married.