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Music: Muppet Makeover

John Denver appeared on "The Muppet Show" once, but it's the reruns of his TV specials--they originally aired in 1979 and '83--that made him the show's defining act. There were other performers--Tom Jones, Liberace--who, combined, do not exactly give the show the retro-hip image its fans say it deserves. But a makeover is underway. Rapper Snoop Dogg will make a cameo in "A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie," an NBC holiday-season flick (which will, one can hope, feature Snoop-ified characters like Kermizit and Miss Piziggy). Alt-rock band Weezer--masters of make-you-chuckle turns on MTV--have already gotten in the act with their video for "Keep Fishin'," which is styled as an actual gig on "The Muppet Show." "Even my most hard-core friends can barely pretend to not like [the Muppets], and they usually 'fess up anyway," e-mails Weezer bassist Scott Shriner. (Says video director Marcos Siega, "I pitched the idea to Ozzy--and he wasn't into it. He wanted something dark.") These confessions are good to hear: for too long, the show hasn't gotten the kudos that "The Simpsons" gets for appealing to kids and adults, fans say. It's getting its due now because the people who were fans as children have grown up and can see the show's brilliance. They'll be able to hear it, too. Next month Rhino Records releases the CD "The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem and More," a 25th-anniversary collection of the show's greatest songs and dialogue.

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