Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sesame Street Ruined Our Lives


Did you watch Sesame Street as a kid? Me too. If you did, and you have the worst f**king life imaginable you can blame it all on Big Bird and all the other images we were forced to watch.

According to the warning on Volumes 1 and 2, Sesame Street: Old School is adults-only: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

How have the needs of the pre-school child changed since I was in pre-school? Are today's children more needy? Less able to handle the horrifying images of Bert and Ernie living together in a basement? I guess it is better for today's toddlers to see Bert and Ernie living in that Upper West Side loft and not wonder how the hell two puppets could afford a place that cost $20,000 a month to buy. That way when mom and dad can't make their mortgage payments, kids are sure to understand.

I like the old episodes. For one reason. Elmo didn't exist. That high, squeaky, makes you want to beat the ever loving crap out of him puppet didn't exist. We had Grover and Oscar and a Cookie Monster who actually ate cookies. He doesn't eat them anymore, or eats them only in moderation after a well balanced meal with napkin and silverware. If you as a kid can't discern the fact that some crazy eyed, blue haired monster may have different rules than a kid, then it is not only Sesame Street you should be skipping. Grover and Oscar were like the puppets no one else wanted. Oscar was a real pain the ass in the old days. Now, he is so hopped up on valium, he only becomes grouchy when he doesn't take his medication. Grover? Grover was and is the bomb. I can't believe I just used the word bomb in a sentence in that context, but he has always been my favorite. Self absorbed for the most part. Insensitive definitely, but in the end, it always works out.

From 1973, here is Grover with Stevie Wonder

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

The first time my husband and I saw Sesame Street together after our child was born, we were appalled - a full half hour to that rag Elmo? ugh! We hate Elmo too, but our child loves him. Stupid Elmo.

We also noted how the scenes are all shorter, some of our favorite skits are gone and the characters all seem a little less real.

Of course we let our child watch the current sesame street, but it really is not the same. :(

syd said...

I loved Sesame Street, oh it has really changed it's all about 2 minute sketches and 30 minutes of Elmo. They took out all the songs that I have loved forever, so I just bought the DVD of the early years. They made it like the new kids toys round and soft and not really fun. I miss the fun Monty Python type show I watched as a kid.

jax said...

"NEARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR"

(footsteps)

"Farrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" (echo)

I love Sesame Street forever.
I guess needs of todays child has changed..they no longer need to count to 12 or know their ABC's..well unless they plan to text.

jax said...

for anyone missing SS old school..check out Youtube...sadly i spent a good portion of a rainy saturday watchin old SS....oh the memories...i totally forgot about half the stuff..you can even watch the pinball machine 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10..eleven twelvvvvvvve!

El thanks for posting this!

MnGddess said...

OMG Jax!! You just brought back a FLOOD of Sesame Street memories.

Remember the "Uh Num a Num - de dee de de de" song? The first time I saw it I laughed so hard I cried.

Remeber the cartoon witch who, when she ran, scattered hairpins all over the place?

One, two three, four - four hungry lions are knocking at my door....

And, one of my favorites, the time Oscar had a party in his TRASH CAN. They had a ladder so the adults could climb down. It was surprisingly roomy. Apparently, they fit an ELEPHANT down there. As a young child, I was very impressed.

And, of course, Grover. I STILL love Grover. Remeber Grover the waiter? How about Super Grover?

My daughter was born in 1993, and her favorite was Cookie Monster. Not that idiot Elmo. I friggin' HATE Elmo.

This is the link to the story. I am amazed how Sesame Street is described. For me it will forever be the most womderful neighborhood I never actually visited.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/magazine/18wwln-medium-t.html

Tracee said...

I swore that when I grew up I was going to marry Grover...I did...except my husband isn't blue, but when he has a cape he instantly turns into Super Grover flying into walls and such.

MnGddess said...

Who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood...
In your neighborhood, oh...
They're the people that you meet when you're walking down the street..

They're the people that you meet eeeeach daaaay.....

(sigh)

MnGddess said...

Oh! Found it on You Tube....

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SAZtsCDN0Pk

Mah Na Mah Na

lisap515 said...

i gotta ask..who still has Grover's book "The Monster At the End of this Book"? OMG the best book ever (as a child). I gotta say though...I love Elmo too. Paperclip/bottlecap collection anyone? Pigeon dance? "What's that? I can't hear you BURT...I've gotta banana in my ear." Snuffy was kinda a downer though. Oscar was great!

Anonymous said...

As a kid who grew up on Sesame Street in the early 80s, it was one of the few things my over-educated parents would let my brother and I watch. It's clear that Grover was "our" Elmo. At least my parents appreciated my love for Alistair Cookie. MWAH MUA MWAH MWAH MWAH

Miss X said...

Ugh, I have no kids so no need to watch the new SS but it does not sound like it's good tv.

My sis and I had a tape of SS and I remember the "C is for Cookie" song. Count Dracula scared us.

I was a little dissappointed when they made Big Bird's 'imaginary' friend real.

How could you not love Grover?

~crazy peanut~ said...

OMG!!! hilarious post. thank-you EL. ;)

...and to all who posted memories, thanks for that too. What a great way to spend the afternoon.

*special thanks to Tracee for the Super Grover mention. He was sooo my fave...and Snuffalupagus. (sp)

Hey EL....maybe a BI on Mr. Hooper?

Moosefan said...

One thing as someone who grew up with "the Street"- WTF is it about making Cookie healthy? Like the endless promotion of the sugary cereals and the latest and greatest Happy Meal toy (that my ass will be stepping on in the dark of night) have nothing to do with kids and their healthy eating habits? I loved that Oscar was grouchy, I loved that Sesame had a cool grocer like in my town-that everyone knew and were not afraid of. I loved that you never knew who was gonna show up and sing and I loved that Bird had an imaginary friend-hello this moose had one and I am as normal as they come!
The dumbasses who said something about the way that the building looked-PEOPLE IT WAS PUBLIC TELEVISION! They had like a 1000 a year budget and that went to Masterpiece theater!
I get so pissed that they take something innocent from children and turn it into some PC psycho garble. Its like the time I read about someone analyzed Pooh and the friends from the 100 Acre Woods. Stop F-ing with childhood and worry about why all these hollywood twits get away with drunk driving and drug possession!
I need a hug and a nap now
>..<

Majik said...

Oi, Enty...if you watched SS as a child, you must be less than 40 years old...I believe it's first year of production was 1969. Even if you watched when you were 10 (unlikely), you would still be under 50.

BUSTED "OLD MAN".

Manamanah...do doo do do do...Manamanah?...do do do doo....Manamanah!...do doo do do do do do do do do do do do do do do do doo do do dooooooo....Manamanahmahnamanananamanah....

MnGddess said...

Majik - I watched Sesame Street when it started - in 1969 - and I was 7. Although I would LOVE to be lass than 40, I am not...

Cyn - one of these things is not like the other......

jax said...

"Doin...the pidgeon-wackwack"
-Burt

Anyone have the Sesame Street Feaver Album? It was a blatant rip off of the beegees and was AWESOME.
Still have it.

jax said...

Our childhoods would never be the same had it not been for one great man who started it all...

Jim Henson.
RIP.

lisap515 said...

i've got two eyes, one - two
they're both the same size, one - two

not sure the point of that one but i loved it.

C is for cookie cuz cookie starts with C...cookie cookie cookie starts with C (munching noises...)

ENT is 38? RIGHT? Maybe? Hell who knows.

Anonymous said...

lisap515 - we totally have the "Monster at the end of this book"! Our child LOVES that book.

Some good news for those w/out kids who haven't had to watch the new SS. The cookie song still shows up. I heard it playing one day and booked my ass to the TV to sing it with my child.

Totally miss the pinball twelve song.

Haven't seen snuffy in years.

Does anyone remember how they used to paint the letters/numbers on the street?

:(

I have to admit that we were those over-edumacated parents who refused to let our kid watch any tv in the beginning. While everyone was playing those stupid baby einstein videos for thier kids (those things annoy the hell out of me), we made a decision to get rid of our tv altogether. The first time we saw the new SS was when we were on vacation and were watching it on the tv in our hotel room.

As our child got older we started renting the old sesame street skits from netflix and playing them on the computer. Our child loved them and as time went on we relinquished on the no tv thing somewhat. PBS is mostly fair game, (hate caillou - whiney little shit), but we are still very careful about what is watched in our house.

And now that little bastard Elmo is our child's favorite. But his favorite SS episode is one we have on tape that we found at a yard sale one day - Big Bird in China, he can watch that one over and over...and so can his parents. Gotta love that!

kj said...

I had the SS album, anyone else? It boasted favorites such as Oscar's "I Love Trash" and Ernie's "Rubber Ducky" song. I recorded this on tape before turntables went the way of the dinosaur and it was one of my children's favorites for many years. Just this evening my husband caught me randomly singing "Can you guess which thing is not like the other" while finishing up some chore. Hmmm. Guess that stuff sticks with you.

MEP said...

I personally LOVED the Kermit THE Frog newsflashes!!!! And someone played Danger Zone from Top Gun the other day and the first thing I thought of was:

Danger, it's no stranger!!



Anyone else remember Square One too?

"I . . . am the neighborhood super spy"

"super spy"

God, public television was a lot of fun back then.

lisap515 said...

klown...do you do Grover's voice while reading it to your child? My mom did and I did when mine were young enough to appreciate SS. LOL!

Karen said...

I was actually afraid of the two aliens who said Yip Yip, brrriiinnggg phone yip yip yip yip uh huuh uh huuuh. Funny thing, I watched it on a Black & White TV as a kid.

bionic bunny! said...

i'm 48 and remember being "too old" for sesame street when it started, but we watched anyway. and i watched often with kids i baby-sat, and then, of course, my own kids. i have no idea what they've done to it, and i don't want to know.
god, it was wonderful. best thing on tv, EVER.

ladorabelle said...

Oh, I loved "The Monster at the End of this Book" so much. I would read it to my little sister all the time. I insisted I keep it when my mother went through all the old things, and now my kids love it. They don't watch SS, but they love that blue monster.

"Hello, everybodeee!"

C. Lewis said...

Something is wrong with America and it isn't a blue puppet eating cookies and a toy pipe. I have a baby (my first) and was looking forward to sharing SS with her. I learned to count to twelve from that show! Even though it would venture into goofyness it was always entertaining and never annoying like most of today's child fare. So I turn on PBS hoping to see my favorite characters and there's a show on called Sesame Street but there's no street! Also, there's really no one there but Elmo and he's in some animated room. I'm thinking 'OK, this is just a segment. Surely they'll move on," but they don't. He rambles on and on and eventually ends up playing basketball- with two other elmo's! I'd heard SS was taken over and rehauled but I didn't realize it was now the Elmo show under the SS banner. Does anyone at PBS really find the show entertaining? And why is PBS all cartoony (Dragon Tales, Clifford, Son of Clifford, etc.)? I grew up watching Sesame Street (born 1971) and naturally I wanted SS toys/stuff, but it seemed back then toys were the afterthought, not the purpose of the show (see: Star Wars franchise). I have this troubling feeling that the new SS is just the opposite. Instead of teaching kids about numbers and letters they've watered it down to the point where all they teach kids is to want Elmo products. Yes, he is cute but, again, it's really not the same show. My baby's diapers all have SS babies on them and I have to wonder who their market really is- the kids or the parents who once loved a silly show with substance.

To make things worse my wife told me they took off the Electric Company years ago. I looked it up and found out this is true (1985). EC was the show you went on to after 'graduating' from SS. These days the show running after SS is Dragon Tales (a sorry cartoon). So that's the progression? No more plays with words and numbers, just stories of some bizarre dragon family flying around getting into watered down mishaps?

I've heard the reason for the changes were due to adult themes in the cartoons and Public Television wanting to shield kids from those themes. True, a puppet eating a plastic pipe is harmless and rediculous in a child's eyes but I guess some worried parent might worry their kid will start eating pipes. What's troubling is that kids DO eventually come into an adult world. Wouldn't it be better to show the lighter side of it than to eliminate it entirely? I never took up smoking because of monsterpiece theater though I was aware that some adults smoked. It didn't ruin me to know about the adult world in that context, especially when the character eats an obviously plastic pipe. I have to wonder what today's kids will take and remember from Sesame Street: light humorous hints and cues about the real world around them or a red puppet who was on all the fabrics in their room and all their toys for no good reason? This reminds me of the Looney Tunes. Once Daffy Duck was hyper but lovable. After Mel Blanc died he became pissed off annoying duck. It's sad to see the life of a show die with it's creator (Blanc, Henson) and sadder to see people who watch their work for years but simply don't understand what they were aiming at.


To the people who changed Sesame Street, please change the name already and thank you for being yet another corporation that ruined something I loved from my childhood.

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