Jim Henson’s Adult-Oriented Puppet Comedy Was Called?
Answer: The Land of Gorch
When most people think of Jim Henson and his eponymous production company, they most likely think of his highest profile projects like The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, but also his iconic puppet work in movies like The Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth.
Practically lost to the sands of time, however, was The Land of Gorch, a recurring comedy sketch featured in the inaugural season of Saturday Night Live. The skits featured a small cast of muppets who were royalty in a far away land. They were crass, talked frequently about sex, drugs, and alcohol, and wrestled with adult topics.
The project was intended to branch Henson and his puppets out into more adult-oriented comedy but was, for a variety of reasons, a dismal failure. One of the biggest reasons was the continual friction between Henson and the SNL writers; per Writers Guild of America regulations, only SNL writers could write SNL sketches.
The writers preferred to write out the skits for the puppets as episodic in nature whereas Henson wanted to serialize the story and keep a single story arc going. Not only was there conflict on how to deliver the story, but the writers simply didn’t like writing for muppets, preferring to focus their talents on creating content for human performers. Eventually, after eighteen episodes of The Land of Gorch, the series was retired from the SNL lineup.
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