Sesame Street Nostalgia

The Munchkin loves Sesame Street. It is the one hour of TV that she is allowed in the day. The TV is on at other times, but this show is just for her. Lilo and Stitch: The Series – that’s for me, and she just happens to watch it with me.

Right now, Sesame Street is still in repeats from last season, but now they are repeating the repeats. Today, though, I don’t mind, because they are showing the 35th Anniversary episode. It contains lots of classic clips and songs, a retrospective at the very end of the show showing one clip from each year, and FAR TOO MUCH Elmo.

To put this in perspective, Sesame Street began in 1969. I wasn’t born yet. However, I am old enough to remember when Mr. Hooper died in 1983. Even though I have a much younger sister, I can safely say that until the Munchkin started watching earlier this year, I hadn’t seen Sesame Street in probably 10 to 15 years. I’d kept up on some of the characters, but I don’t think I watched much of anything after 1990, when Jim Henson died.

The classic favorite characters are still there – the Munchkin’s personal favorites are Grover and Cookie Monster. Bert and Ernie still have a place, Oscar is still grouchy, and Big Bird still has his group of “Bird-keteers.” However, many of the plotlines are dominated by the newer Muppets – one in particular.

Elmo is pretty adorable – and sweet enough to give you cavities. It wouldn’t be so bad in smaller doses, but basically an entire third of the show is devoted to “Elmo’s World,” a crayon rendition of his home that allows him to talk about a particular subject each day with kids. I have seen him go over the weather, how to use computers, read books, talk about bugs, birds, dinosaurs… the list is endless. Elmo also has a Bob Dole complex that only lets him refer to himself in the third person – and you thought it was annoying in politicians. But obivously, Elmo is a marketing gold mine to the Sesame Workshop people, and he is merchandised and advertised all over the place. There is no escaping him.

Other newer, mildly obnoxious Muppets include Baby Bear (who has a minor lisp and a baby sister named Curly, which confuses me on why he is still called “Baby”), Zoe (a girl Muppet created to satisfy PC people who complained that all the major Muppets were male; she wears plastic jewelry, pink tutus, and has a laugh that sounds like she’s trying to hack up a hairball), and Rosita (another girl Muppet who is an immigrant from Mexico, and I’m still waiting to see a copy of her greencard – or at least a permission slip that allows her to teach Spanish to kids).

I miss my memories of Sesame Street. In my effort to recapture them, I found a VHS copy of “Don’t Eat the Pictures” from 1983 on eBay and bought it – the Muppets visit the Metropolitian Museum of Art in NYC. It’s an hour long and got most of the classic characters in it. This is even from the era when everyone thought Snuffy was Big Bird’s imaginary friend. I love it. A note to Sesame Workshop people – if you want to make tons of cash, start releasing classic specials and classic moments from shows on DVD. People my age with kids would buy them. We like sharing parts of our own childhood with them. Grandparents would buy them. Baby-sitters would love them. Hold off on “Cinderelmo” or other goofy shows – bring us what we truly love. Especially if it includes Cookie Monster trying to eat a Cezanne painting.

Comments are closed.