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Sesame Street

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Sesame Street
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Welcome to Sesame Street.
Genre: Children's television series
Educational
Sketch comedy
Puppetry
Animation
Running Time: 60 minutes (1969-2015)
30 minutes (2016-present)
Country: United States
Release Date: November 10, 1969—present
Network(s): PBS/PBS Kids (Seasons 1–46)
HBO (Seasons 46-50)
HBO Max (Season 51-present)
TreehouseTV (Canada)
ABC (Australia)
Created by: Joan Ganz Cooney
Lloyd Morrisett
Jim Henson (Muppet characters)
Starring: Caroll Spinney (1969-2018)
Jim Henson (1969-1990)
Richard Hunt (1972-1992)
Kevin Clash (1985-2012)
Frank Oz (1969-2012)
Steve Whitmire (1993-2014)
Carmen Osbahr (1991-present)
Jerry Nelson (1970-2012)
David Rudman (1986-present)
Martin P. Robinson (1981-present)
Stephanie D'Abruzzo (1993-present)
Matt Vogel (1997-present)
Ryan Dillion (2005-present)
Matt Robinson (1969-1972)
Hal Miller (1972-1974)
Roscoe Orman (1974-2016)
Sonia Manzano (1971-2015)
Will Lee (1969-1983)
Northern J. Calloway (1971-1990)
Alaina Reed (1976-1988)
Loretta Long (1969-2016)
Desiree Casado (1993-2012)
Alan Muraoka (1998-present)
Alison Bartlett (1987-2015)
Miles Orman (1985-1995)
Linda Bove (1972-2002)
Nitya Vidysasagar (2008-2015)
Suki Lopez (2016-present)
Violet Tinnirello (2020-present)
Olamide Fasion (2003-2009)
Seasons: 52
Episodes: 4,633

Sesame Street is an American educational children's television series that combines live-action, sketch comedy, animation and puppetry. It is produced by Sesame Workshop (formerly known as the Children's Television Workshop before 2000) and was created by Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett. The program is known for its images communicated through the use of Jim Henson's Muppets, and includes short films, with humor and cultural references. The series premiered on November 10, 1969, to positive reviews, some controversy, and high viewership; it has aired on the U.S.'s national public television provider PBS since its debut, with its first run moving to premium channel HBO on January 16, 2016. Since 2020, the show is currently available on HBO Max.

Plot

A longtime favorite of children and adults, and a staple of PBS, "Sesame Street" bridges many cultural and educational gaps with a fun program. Big Bird leads a cast of characters teaching children numbers, colors, shapes and the alphabet. Bert, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Grover are just a few of the other characters involved in this show, set on a city street full of valuable learning opportunities.

Why It Can Get To Sesame Street

  1. Preschool television in its purest form. Even today, it is probably the most famous preschool TV show ever made.
  2. A concept of the preschool-oriented counterpart to The Funny Company was very appealing.
  3. Uses a variety of techniques to teach children such as sketch comedy, humor, pop-culture references and songs.
  4. Very appealing Muppet designs.
  5. Clever and hilarious humor, memes, songs, and sketches:
      • Grover annoying Mr. Johnson.
      • Cookie Monster going "OM NOM NOM!" whenever he eats cookies.
      • Jack Black showing Elmo an octagon.
      • Kermit teaching a girl about the alphabet.
      • Neil Patrick Harris and Elmo dancing.
      • Elmo dancing on the moon.
      • The "Sesame Street is brought to you by the letter(s) and by the number(s)" sponsors.
  6. The entire Sesame Street set looks great.
  7. Great acting from the human characters and the Muppets.
  8. Likable, down to earth, and memorable characters, especially the two main stars of the show, Big Bird and Elmo.
    • Each Muppet character has a very distinct personality which give them a lot of charm. Thankfully, their main traits are not exaggerated to death and most of the time, they can be very relatable to the viewer.
      • Big Bird is the lovable six-year-old yellow bird who has a tendency to question things.
      • Elmo is a cute, curious and imaginative three-year-old red monster, even though he has a childish high-pitched voice.
      • Grover is a furry blue monster who has various jobs. He also has a superhero ego called Super Grover.
      • Telly is slightly neurotic magenta monster and loves triangles.
      • Count Von Count is a friendly lavender vampire who has loved counting since the beginning of time.
      • Oscar is the green grouch with a hatred of friendly people who lives in a trash can.
      • Cookie Monster is a very gluttonous blue furry monster, who is obsessed with cookies.
      • Ernie is very goofy and Bert is his grumpy but lovable friend. They have orange and yellow skins respectively.
      • Rosita is a bilingual turquoise monster who was created to teach acceptance of different cultures to the audience. Hispanic people are the largest non-Caucasian group in the United States, and on her debut in 1991, most Hispanic characters were villains or stereotypical comic relief.
      • Zoe is an orange monster who loves ballet.
      • The Amazing Mumford is a funny purple magician whose magic tricks often fail.
      • Barkley is a humongous yet playful orange and white dog.
      • Julia is a very well written yellow creature who presents autism very well.
      • Abby Cadabby is a pink fairy in training.
      • Tango is a cute and playful brown and white dog who complements to Elmo's furry and friendly personality.
      • All the adults and children (Bob, Gordon, Susan, Mr. Hooper, David, Luis, Maria, Linda, Miles, Gina, Gabi, Mr. Handford, Ruthie, Alan, Chris, Leela, Nina, Charlie, etc.) are also very likable. They will usually give the Muppets a few useful tips and let them work things out for themselves.
  9. Can appeal to everyone (including those looking back on it) without sugarcoating reality.
  10. The special effects and puppeteering are outstanding.
  11. Great voice acting for the puppets.
  12. The theme song is very timeless.
  13. Despite going downhill, every new preschool audience can still enjoy the show, as well as its later seasons, in the recent years because of the love the show has gotten that has never gets old.
  14. Tackles some mature and challenging themes such as autism, foster care, death, disability, lead poisoning, parents being in the military, hunger, HIV/AIDS, racism, divorce, incarceration and dealing with a traumatic event.
  15. As the show goes on, despite its downhill, it has managed to teach preschoolers more mature and challenging themes such as war, autism, hunger, foster parenting, divorce, and HIV/AIDS.
  16. Although the sponsors are never used at the end of each HBO-era episode, the sponsors are still used for the PBS airings of the HBO-era episodes.
  17. The closing theme, starting in 2016, "Smarter, Stronger, Kinder," sounds very heartwarming and catchy.
  18. The '70s and '80s direct-to-video and TV specials are much better than the newer ones.
  19. The Sesame Street Old School DVD and CD collection is extremely good. It was not only aimed to preschoolers, but also aimed to grown-ups who always remembering the show, so good.
  20. Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration was the most heartwarming anniversary special, which was aired on both PBS and HBO networks.
  21. And speaking of its popularity, it even deserves lots of the international-produced shows such as Sesame Park in Canada, Plaza Sesamo in Mexico, Vila Sesamo in Brazil, Barrio Sesamo in Spain, Sesamstraße in Germany, Sesamstraat in the Netherlands, Sesame Tree in the UK, Sesam Stasjon in Norway and many others.
  22. Some of the occasional celebrity appearances and cameos are quite clever and fun, such as when Fred Newman of Doug and Between the Lions fame made an appearance in the Elmo's World segment "Mouths", and when Kermit the Frog made a cameo in "Frogs".
  23. The series served as a launchpad for talented animators such as Mo Willems (the creator of Sheep in the Big City), who created the "Suzie Kabloozie" segments, Craig Bartlett (the creator of Hey Arnold!), who created the short "Arnold Rides His Chair" (which featured an earlier version of the title character), and John R. Dilworth (the creator of Courage the Cowardly Dog), who created the "Noodles & Nedd" segments.

Bad Qualities

  1. While the Sesame Street Old School DVD collection was very well-received, it has a poorly-made disclaimer.
  2. Quantity Over Quality: While nowhere near as bad as The Simpsons and Family Guy, it ran for way too long since it began in 1969 and has been a cash cow for Sesame Workshop. While still not a bad thing, the recent seasons can tend to "jump the shark".
    • It also went a little bit downhill ever since Season 33, due to the show's format being changed.
      • The show got slightly better in Seasons 38-39 (with the original format even returning for two episodes in Season 38).
      • However, in Season 40, the show once again has some issues, such as classic (pre-1990) sketches dropped, the sketches becoming longer, later they dropped all of the pre-HD sketches, and in Season 46, they dropped most of the human cast, and the runtime being reduced to 30 minutes, however most Sesame Street fans still find Seasons 33-37, 40-present decent or great.
      • Modern seasons of the show also tend to suffer from being overly cutesy.
  3. The DTV episodes and special episodes had some surprised flaws:
    • In Kids' Guide to Life: Learning to Share, Elmo initially refuses to share his toy train set with Zoe. This makes him rather out of character because he is supposed to be a kind muppet.
    • Elmo Saves Christmas consists of a storyline of Elmo wishing that the aforementioned holiday came every day without him fully realizing the consequences of his actions.
    • CinderElmo is basically a retelling of Cinderella with the Sesame Street Muppets shoehorned into the story.
    • Elmo's Potty Time overuses toilet humor.
  4. While most of the characters are likable, the only mediocre or annoying characters in the series are:
    • Elmo was flanderized in Seasons 27-33, who gets away with his bad behavior in some episodes. He also shouted "YAY!" a lot and was given too much screen time.
    • Zoe started treating her pet rock Rocco like a friend when he was introduced in Season 30 and using him in order to get her way at Elmo's expense.
    • Murray is the cheesy host of the show from Seasons 38 to 45, and he does repetitive stuff like "What's the Scoop", "Word on the Street", "Letter of the Day", and "Number of the Day". Cookie Monster and Count von Count also had these respective roles in 2002-2007 except the execution there was much better.
    • The Monster Clubhouse Monsters (Googel, Mel, and Narf, Phoebe) are overly hyperactive.
  5. While not always, the show sometimes believes that simple things like magic can solve every issue, which isn't how things work in real life.
  6. Most of its old episodes back then were lost, such as #12 (first one), #108 (Pete Seeger), #202 (Slimey's first appearance), most of other Season 2 and 3 episodes, and #1444 (aired when Pac-Man launched), making it one of the few partially lost shows.
  7. The remixes of the iconic theme song, despite being very catchy and pretty good, basically tried too hard to be "hip" and "with it" as they are more upbeat. But luckily, starting in season 46, the remix of the theme song sounds nicer, despite being short.
  8. It sometimes gets cheesy at some points.
  9. A few of the characters are overly saccharine.
  10. Some bad episodes every now and then.
    • Episode 847, the most controversial episode. The wicked witch of the west frightened the children.
    • Even Episode 2985 was controversial, which caused the episode to be cancelled before even being aired.
  11. Even some of the characters are not exactly perfect such as:
    • While Elmo being energetic is pretty close to how any child would be energetic, sometimes it might get overdone to the point where it may get tiresome.
  12. While most of the segments are good, some are bad, mediocre, or pretty weird:
    • "Monster Clubhouse" is a good example of this due to its overall frantic pace.
    • Elmo's World was only made to boost the ratings of Sesame Street, as children started to lose attention with the show after 40 to 45 minutes in the late '90s.
    • Journey to Ernie involves Big Bird searching for Ernie in various places and is given three clues. As it shares many similarities to Dora the Explorer, Little Einsteins, and Blue's Clues, the segment is unoriginal.
    • Abby's Flying Fairy School features outdated CGI animation and has way too many episodes where Abby and her classmates are depicted as punching bags.
    • Hero Guy is pretty weird because of the titular character's odd animation and his voice being weirdly-pitched.
  13. Despite the praise of the character Julia, created with the help of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, they decided to work with Autism Speaks, an organization that dehumanized autistics (before 2016), which caused the ASAN to end their partnership. This is considered a bad move, as Autism Speaks dehumanizes people with the disability, although it is likely they didn't know this.
    • They also joined Global Tech Link, an organization that monopolizes phone calls, and exploits families dealing with incarceration. Although, much like joining the previous organization, it is likely they didn't know this.
  14. There are times when the show can get political, surprising for a preschool show, like for an example, the infamous Black Lives Matter special, especially Elmo's interview with his dad about the movement, basically shoves political correctness down everyone's throats.
  15. The early Mr. Snuffleupagus puppet from Season 3 looked creepy with yellow irised eyes with green sclera and tan eyelashes all the way around, and his voice sounded more sickly and annoying.
  16. The original Big Bird had a smaller head with a lack of feathers and a hick-like voice, making him look awkward to most people.
  17. Mediocre to bad voice acting for some characters like Big Bird (in seasons 1-2 and 49-present, later Elmo's World episodes, and Journey to Ernie), Abby Cadabby, Snuffy (before Martin P. Robinson took over), Zoe (Season 46-present), and the Count (Season 44-present).
  18. Though rare, there are a few mean-spirited moments.
  19. Sesame Beginnings is basically a "baby-ized" spin-off version of this show, considering it's based on merchandise.
    • The babies aren't even that likable for the most part, as most of them come off as inconsistent or incompetent. Most of them are also very bland, forgettable, and one-dimensional.
    • The baby spin-off is way too predictable because of the stories they go for, and why? It is a baby-ized version of the show it's spun off from.
  20. In 2005, there was a rumor that Cookie Monster will be renamed to Veggie Monster. There were skits where Cookie Monster eats healthier treats (for example, after having a nightmare on meeting The Giant Talking Monster Cookie).

Trivia

  • The Around the Corner set was criticized for the confusion to young children. After Season 29, the Around the Corner sets and most of the new characters were dropped from the show.
  • Monster Clubhouse was criticized for its frantic pace and hyperactive characters. The segment was discontinued after Season 34.
  • According to Dr. Rosemarie, Journey to Ernie was discontinued after Season 36 due to the crew feeling that it wasn't "Sesame enough" and didn't fit in with the rest of the show.
  • The segment Elmo's World has multiple subjects like the main show, such as things that people do, what people have on the human body, and sometimes animals.
  • Elmo: The Musical is based on musical shows like Glee, as it revolves around Elmo imagining himself in different musical situations with a talking curtain named Velvet.
  • Elmo and Tango's Mysterious Mysteries is inspired by some mystery shows like Busytown Mysteries and Archie's Weird Mysteries.
  • The show was reduced from a full hour to 45 minutes in Season 30, with Elmo's World filling the remaining 15 minutes.
  • Due to PBS having trouble paying the show's licensing fee, HBO began airing Sesame Street in 2016 with a half-hour runtime, in order to get enough money for PBS. In fact, PBS decided to air the show as its second-run program, nine months after they premiered on the former network. The show moved again to HBO Max in 2020, but PBS still airs the second-run of the show.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the reduction to 30 minutes was not HBO's fault, as that was the way to have more money for the PBS show.
  • The show spawned several DTV episodes (most of which were distributed by Sony Wonder and Warner Home Video), compilation videos, and TV specials. Examples include Elmo Saves Christmas, Being Green, Kids' Guide to Life: Learning to Share, CinderElmo, Kids' Favorite Songs, Kids' Favorite Songs, Kids' Favorite Songs 2, Elmo's Alphabet Challenge, Abby in Wonderland, and Kids' Favorite Country Songs.
  • The theme song has been remixed multiple times since the show's 24th season.
    • Seasons 24-29 and 33-37 use upbeat reggae and rock versions of the iconic theme song, while in Seasons 38-45 it's done in an R&B style.
    • Seasons 24-37 also uses a hip hop version of the theme song for their end credits, which was modified in Seasons 32-33 and shortened in Season 34.
    • From Season 46 onwards, the theme song is done in a folk style.
  • Will Lee, the actor who played Mr. Hooper, died in 1982. His character was subsequently killed off.
  • Like with Mr. Hooper, David disappeared from the show once his actor Northern Calloway died in 1990.
  • The predecessor to the show was The Funny Company, which is aired during the 1960s.
  • The Children’s Television Workshop, the non-profit organization behind this show, was renamed Sesame Workshop in June 2000.
  • The show spawned two spin-offs called Play with Me Sesame and the well-received HBO Max original series The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo.
  • Due to its massive popularity, the show has quickly spawned toys, books, merchandise, educational video games, clothing, and two theatrical feature films called Follow That Bird and The Adventures of Elmo In Grouchland.
  • Caroll Spinney, best known as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, was diagnosed with dystonia in 2015; the disease would kill him four years later.
  • Due to Jerry Nelson's failing health, many of his characters on Sesame Street (save for Count von Count) were gradually phased out by the mid-2000s; Nelson eventually died on August 23, 2012 from emphysema.
  • Northern Calloway (who played David) died in January 1990; his character David moved to his grandmother's farm and was subsequently dropped from the series.
  • Since the sketches tended to act like commercials, at least one was repeated twice in the same episode. By the mid-1970s, this practice stopped.
  • Earlier seasons of the show were much slower-paced.
  • Grover’s age is vague; Nogginoid (an interstitial series that aired on Noggin from 1999 to 2002) confirmed that he is supposed to represent the psychological age of a 4-year-old, yet he is seen working various jobs.
  • Much of the cast starred in a policy trailer for Lowes movie theaters back in 1996.
  • It is unknown if Bert and Ernie are brothers, despite them acting as such.
  • There have been rumors about Bert and Ernie being gay, which Sesame Workshop has cleared out several times.
  • Kevin Clash was fired from the show in November 2012 due to sexual allegations; Elmo has been puppeteered by Ryan Dillon since then.
  • Elmo's World was revived in 2017, lasting for only five minutes, but then stopped production by 2021 to be replaced with "Elmo and Tango's Mysterious Mysteries."
  • Along with Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Sesame Street is one of the most-watched preschool shows.
  • By the time the show moved to HBO in 2016, most of the human cast (Bob, Gordon, Susan, Maria, Luis, Gina, Miles, Gabi, Leela, etc.) were dropped from the show, except Alan, Chris, and Nina.
    • The actor who played Luis, Emilio Delgado, also died in 2022.

Reception

Sesame Street has been very positively received and remains a staple of children's television to this day. It currently has an 8.1/10 on IMDb.

PhantomStrider placed it #1 on his Top 6 best kids shows.

Video

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