That Time Rita Moreno Brought Sexy Back to ‘The Muppet Show’

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Most of us are too young to have lived The Muppet Show in all its glory, so in our inaugural Throwback Thursday post we’ve decided to bring you what was perhaps the most sublime moment in Kermit and company’s groundbreaking variety show.

In this clip we find a stunning Rita Moreno, flirting with 50, but looking every bit like the teenage Anita del Carmen that brought her to the world’s attention in West Side Story. What starts off as a classic tango number quickly devolves into Rita manhandling a life-sized muppet before turning into an out-and-out human vs puppet brawl. While the giant muppet-man holds his own, he’s no match for the fiery Boricua who finishes him off by dishing out a couple of clean blows to face before throwing him through a wall.

In another sketch, Moreno plays a loud-mouthed, heavily-accented Latina that goes in on a snobby Miss Piggy, inspiring Statler and Waldorf (the old guys who hang out on the balcony) to proclaim, “She’s easy on the eyes, but hard on the ears!” The episode then closes out with an unforgettable interpretation of Little Willie John’s Fever (if you haven’t heard La Lupe’s version, find it here), in which Moreno threatens Animal with physical harm, then smashes some cymbals over his head.

Is it possible not to fall in love with this woman?

The episode is available to stream in its entirety on Youtube. Do yourself a favor and watch it.