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: While in Bakersfield I obtained a videotape of The Muppet Show. When I got back I watched it with Sumana. The tape features an incredibly bizarre and very funny musical number featuring two pink tubelike remora Muppets and a mangy humanoid Muppet.

The premise of the song is that the humanoid muppet sings "Manahmanah." and the remora Muppets respond with "Do boo be doo boo." Occasionally the humanoid Muppet will go wild and do some scat which bears only a passing resemblance to "Manahmanah.". The remora Muppets don't like this very much, and silently give each other disapproving looks while the humanoid Muppet goes off on his scat rampage. But he always comes back to "Manahmanah." and the remora Muppets immediately resume singing "Do boo be doo boo."

We were fascinated by this skit, easily the most bizarre I've ever seen on The Muppet Show. Sumana hypothesized that the remoralike creatures were alien overlords who had enthralled or enslaved the humanoid to do their "Manahmanah." bidding. But the humanoid Muppet could do whatever he wanted--he could move freely and jump around, he could sing louder or softer, he even left the set and phoned in his final "Manahmanah." with no objection from the remoras. They just didn't like it when he said anything but "Manahmanah."

It seems to me more likely that the remoras had entered into a "Manahmanah." contract with the humanoid for a specified number of "Manahmanah."s and they'd just rather he stick to the terms of the contract. Or possibly, as befits their Bauplan, the creatures are symbiotic on the humanoid and derive sustenance from his "Manahmanah."s. Something odd is going on, at any rate--there's no direct coercion in either direction, but there's a lot unstated in that skit (in fact, everything is unstated in that skit, except for the part at the end where Kermit answers the phone).

The song is quite famous, and I knew of it before, though not where it came from. The creatures are apparently called Snowths, and if you go here you can see screen captures and (a link to) a video of the skit! Huzzah! Or should I say, Manahmanahzah! No, actually, I should say, Huzzah!

There's even an ACM-contest-style programming problem involving the Snowths.


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