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When I was a child, there were two main educational programs shown to
children. Play School, being the other one, basically got me shouting
at the television that I was not retarded, not stupid, and not a
diminished human being, just a child. From what I've seen from
observing some of my cousins' children, it hasn't changed a lot except
parents have revised their opinion of its suitability for five year
olds. Unfortunately, Sesame Street is going much in the same direction.
In the 1990s, Sesame Street had a rather nasty competitor in the shape of Barney, a purple dinosaur with a support cast that showed no difference in emotional response. Even when that support cast consisted of four year olds and fourteen year olds. As if that wasn't harmful enough, Barney would openly tell children they weren't good if they didn't have good feelings, or alter the rules of a game to make someone else the winner. That such "lessons" were allowed to be broadcast shows how useful the regulators of television really are. By contrast, the Sesame Street I remember even dealt with such issues as the death of a loved one. Goodbye, Mr. Hooper was one of the most amazing episodes of children's television ever broadcast because it made an effort to try and teach children about something so difficult that even live adults are often no help with it.
Other brilliant aspects of the show included using monsters to portray certain feelings or behaviours that the audience might be conflicted about. They had a cookie monster to show what a negative (but highly funny, the way they presented it) appearance gluttony can bring. They had a grouchy monster to show the effects of an anti-social mentality. More "cute" monsters such as Grover were used to show things like fear or sadness. There was a good reason for all of this. Negative feelings are difficult enough for a child to understand, so having puppets to thoroughly explain them was very educational.
Kudos are also due the adult cast of the show. During every episode I saw, even Goodbye, Mr. Hooper, the adults were never condescending or smug. They never acted as if they had every answer. Instead, they told the monster, other puppet, or child characters a few useful tidbits and let these characters work things out for themselves. Even today, if you see the sequences with such annoying characters as Elmo, it is the children or the child-like characters who deliver all the answer lines. Those consultations with child psychologists done by the Children's Television Workshop really paid off.
Unfortunately, and there always seems to be an unfortunately these days when it comes to children's television, a certain adherence to marketing over education crept in over recent years. The greatness of such characters as Oscar or Grover was that they could appeal to children without needing to be cutesy. Oscar was a grump who appeared to have worked too many night shifts, while Grover seemed to be just a fearful but friendly guy trying to make his way in the world. Perfectly normal, ordinary people wrapped up in some very bizarre-looking trimmings, in other words. Nowadays, characters like Elmo seem so awfully sugarcoated that it makes me wonder if his audience is going to encounter problems in later life when they learn they cannot get by simply on acting cute.
I don't know who pulls the strings on this show these days, but I would like to implore them for the sake of future generations. The old way of educating the children about the fundamentals of life, and letting the cute factor take care of itself, was a much better one. Please go back to it. I might not be part of the audience anymore, but I do have second cousins, and maybe one day a niece or nephew, who are.
This is a children's television classic. It's educational and entertaining,
and not painful for parents to watch with their kids. At least it never
used to be. It used to be quite edgy, high-brow, very adult-accessible.
It's been dumbed down considerably over the years. This is a result of
playing to lower age-groups, shorter attention spans, and competing with the
run-of-the-mill trash in the kid's TV arena.
The adults have virtually vanished, the muppets have gotten annoying (I'm sure we're all familiar with Elmo by now), the show has shrunk to 40 minutes, the last 20 being a new show-within-a-show known as "Elmo's World". As if the 20 minutes of Elmo aren't enough, even more grating is that there are only about 10-20 episodes of Elmo's World, yet it runs every day! And rather than dealing with reading, writing, counting, nature, social skills, Elmo's World revolves around things like balls, puppies, hair, etc. Yes, this is not your parent's Sesame Street, or probably even the Sesame Street you grew up with. It's a more modern, simple, conformist Street that has considerably less charm but at least more educational value than the other, more commercial stuff out there.
The only reason to turn your kids on to television is rapidly shrinking into another Barney.
Sesame Street was my favorite show when I was a kid. I remember a scene
from the episode where Mr. Hooper died. Gordon told Big Bird that he
Big Bird thought he would come back, but Gordon told Big Bird that he
wouldn't. This episode dealt with death in a way young children would
understand, which makes it a classic.
I'll admit it. Sometimes when I'm flipping through the channels, I'll stop and watch SS for awhile. It brings back so many childhood memories.
Can this really be the same show that dealt with the death of Mr. Hooper?
can't see them doing anything like that now. They used to count up to
twenty. Now they sometimes go past ten. I even remember one cartoon
where they went up to 40! I miss Mumford the Magician(ala peanut butter
sandwiches!) and the honkers. I had a honker doll when I was little. Drove
my folks nuts.
Please get rid of Elmo World! He doesn't even TEACH anything.('cept for that one PC Holiday Speacial) and as many others pointed out he's annoying and talks down to kids.
For people who tell me not to get upset over a kids show, I remind them that Sesame Street was a show parents could watch with their kids without being bored silly. The show had jokes that parents could get. and some awesome guest stars.
I have a feeling this show may be coming to an end. It will be replaced by Elmo's World in hour long form.
Farwell Sesmae we had great times together.
I think that Sesame Street, although it is a really good children's show, isn't really the same as it used to be. It hasn't been the same since Jim Henson died and it hasn't been the same since a lot of the characters have died or moved on. The people that have come and gone from this show are the ones that have been the best I've seen in a very long time. Now instead of recording new shows and going on without some of the major players in the show they just pasted together clips from old shows. I remember the days before Jim Henson died when Sesame Street was more than just a clip show. It meant a lot to the kids of my generation.
This was once one of the best shows for children to learn things from
at an early age but now it's taken the turn of a ridiculous show to
keep kids quiet while their parents don't pay attention. Then they
complain about one of the characters and the show gets worse. Things
that need to be changed:
1. Elmo- Get rid of Elmo, he teaches nothing and is very annoying. The only reason they added him was so they could make a doll that makes an irritating noise when you squeeze it then vibrates across the carpet.
2. Cookie Monster- Veggie Monster! what is that! Why can't Cookie Monster eat cookies anymore? Cookie Monster did not make kids fat, stupid video games made kids fat. Now stand back, ignore Sesame Street and look at the problem. Kids are not fat because they idolize a puppet, kids are fat because they don't have the common sense to put down the I-Pod and the Gameboy and go play outside. After all they don't need to go outside to play baseball anymore, not when they can sit on their duffs and do it on a Playstation.
3. Oscar the Grouch- I was really, really mad when I saw what they did to my favorite Sesame Street character. I need to keep this one short, for everyone's sake, make the Grouch, grouchy again, please he didn't do anything to us, he just didn't like to be around people and singing, what's so wrong with that?
Though I am 33 years old, I have still found myself drawn to watch a minute or two of Sesame Street now and then. My daughter is 10 years old so her days of Elmo are long over but I find it a little sad that they have changed so much on the show. I remember watching the show every time it came on. My daughter loved it too. It seems too commercialized now and the characters have changed so much that you don't feel a connection to them the way that I did as a child. There was a feeling of being a part of "the family" even if you weren't actually there with them. I don't think that kids have changed so much that they wouldn't like it just the way that it use to be. I think what has changed is the junk that is on T.V. now days. Unfortunately, I suppose, poor old Sesame Street just couldn't compete with all that, and ended up having to make a few minor sacrifices here and there to draw the attention of the kids. I wish that for my Grand children's sake, though, they could find a way to go back to the Sesame Street that I remember and also be able to incorporate some of the new things.
I title the review as "Rest in Peace" only because if you, like me, are
a child born of the early 1980's (or earlier) that grew up with Sesame
Street, then you know now, as you watch it with your children, either
on Netflix or PBS in the morning, that the Sesame Street we grew up
with is long gone.
In 1998, a muppet monster that had, for the majority of its lifespan on Sesame Street, been nothing but a background character with virtually no lines or significant appearances in the show's then 29 year history, became the undisputed center of the show. Over the course of the following decade, that character would continue to dominate the show, becoming its very face and voice. That character was Elmo.
Within a few years, the entire format of Sesame Street would change. Elmo's world started as a small segment of Sesame Street that aired every other episode. By 2004, Elmo's World became a full 1/4 of the show, airing every single episode. Appearance by favorites, familiar faces and mainstays of Sesame Street began to slowly phase out. Big Bird, formerly the face and "host" of Sesame Street was replaced in time by "Murray" who, like Elmo, was also a background muppet that had virtually no presence on the show in the 35 years leading up to his first appearance as host. Murray, like Elmo, dominates roughly 1/4 of the show with various segments. Joining Elmo early in the 2000's was Abby Cadabby, a feisty and rather irritating purple fairy that's a huge hit with girls. She has her own segment, comprising the 3rd 1/4 of the show, Abby's Magical Sky School. Murray, from the very opening moment of a Sesame Street show, immediately begins reassuring kids that Elmo's World will be coming up, "but we have a few other things to get through first". Ultimately, "Sesame Street" itself is now reduced to a mere 10 minute segment. The problem that is posed in the beginning of the show, once taking the full hour of the show to investigate, understand and solve, is now resolved in only 10 minutes (sometimes 15, but rarely). Occasionally, one of the familiar adults may show up, like Gordon, but its otherwise Elmo, Abby Cadabby and the dreaded "Beybah Baw" (Baby Bear), a talking teddy bear with an insufferable speech impediment. Likable, new adult characters such as Gordon's nephew Chris, and Alan, who both run Hooper's store appear often enough to break up the monotony of Elmo, Abby and Baby Bear's childish antics. On the rare occasion that a classic character will show up, such as Bert, Ernie, Big Bird or Snuffy, Elmo will make his appearance within minutes to take over the show. I recall watching an episode recently with my daughter in which Bert lost his pet bird. 3 minutes after this situation is announced, Elmo and Abby show up and take over the segment. Bert is not seen again, his bird is never found...the entire segment consists of Abby and Elmo picking up random objects and asking "Is this a bird? Is that a bird? Why isn't this a bird?".
Sesame Street, I fear, is simply TOO childish to be of any value to children at this point. When I was a toddler in the early 80's, Sesame Street helped me learn how to read, count, differentiate colors and shapes and objects...all things my parents helped me with, Sesame Street did too. It was truly a valuable educational tool. Now? We have Elmo running around his house like a lunatic, screaming at inanimate objects, displaying narcissistic tendencies by referring to himself in the third person and imagining himself as different animals and objects. His own house seems to hate him, as he is constantly yelling at his window shade to cooperate with him, and other objects, such as his desk drawer, repeatedly bash him over the head when he starts yelling at them. Where's the educational value in Elmo running around in circles yelling at everything?
Parents are strongly advised not to utilize "classic" Sesame Street (pre-1990) as educational tools, as they "no longer have any educational value and should not be utilized by your child." Very sad that this warning comes on the DVD box sets of pre-Elmo Sesame Street. Frankly, I'd rather have Gordon sing "Who are the people in your neighborhood" to my daughter, rather than having Elmo cannibalize the melody to Jingle Bells and repeat "Trucks trucks trucks, trucks trucks trucks" over and over again.
A silent uproar occurred sometime around 2010, when it was suggested by the show's producers (internally) that the show be renamed. It would have become something along the lines of Elmo's World (Featuring Sesame Street)) Thankfully, this never occurred, though it appears to have piggybacked off the movement to cancel Sesame Street entirely, which was proposed in 2003, in favor of making Elmo's World a standalone show. The dominance of Elmo over Sesame Street into the 2000's and 2010's only continued to grow, as more and more of the classic faces of Sesame Street faded away into nothingness. Cookie Monster and Big Bird seldom make appearances on the show anymore...sometimes going over a dozen episodes without seeing them. On the other hand, if you were to watch Abby's Sky School and Elmo's World each day for the 24 episode season, you'll have seen at least 18 reruns of each show, since there are barely a dozen segments filmed for both.
Sesame Street was great for our generation but for our children? I wouldn't recommend it. It hurts me to say it. My daughter loves it...she's 15 months, and she loves the characters. I'm not going to take that from her...but as she gets older I will due my duty as her father to make sure she is educated properly. Sadly, Sesame Street, in its current state, cannot be a part of that experience.
Sesame Street really got a makeover for its 33rd season, mainly because
the competitive environment of Pre-School TV, and how they learn things
this day in age. The show is now blocked into these segments in
Greeting of the day: Big Bird and the Sesame Street neighbors' great the viewers and either tell jokes play a game and/or sing a song.
Monster Time: In this segment either shorts with the classic Sesame Street monsters are shown (Grover, Elmo, Rosita etc.) or a new feature called "Monster Clubhouse" in which four new monsters give preschoolers a crash course in what goes on in a typical preschool day.
Number of the Day: The Count hosts this segment (who else could do it better on Sesame Street) in which he uses a special counting organ to find what the number of the day is. The segment is followed up with live-action and animated sketches which help the viewers give a better understanding of the numbers.
Street Story: The story of the day is now done in one complete segment rather than scatted throughout the whole show as it was done in the past. It seems that preschoolers don't like things interrupted but other things and messages (commercials or not). The stories teach everything from cooperation, friendship, feelings, problem solving etc.
Journey to Ernie: Big Bird and the viewers play a virural reality game in trying to find Ernie who hides in a box that resembles his red, yellow, and blue striped shirt with his rubber duckie in front of it. The catch is it may not be the first or second boxes that contain Ernie. The game begins a park and when BB is transported to other virtual environments and perform certain skills in order to find the box (memory recall, singing a song, doing a certain skill etc.). If a box is found and does not have Ernie inside then a clip or segment is featured ranging from a special song or a kid that does something special, after which the game continues. When Ernie is finally found then a sketch and/or song with Ernie is featured (sometimes with partner Bert).
Hero Guy: If Monster Clubhouse was not done in the Monstertime segment, then we see a sketch with Baby Bear and his imagery creation Hero Guy, in which they both learn about art, imagination, and problem solving. Don't expect this to turn into a 'Big Bird's imaginary friend' running gag. For those who complain about outing Snuffy this segement gives a fantasy friend to Baby Bear, and he is not going to try to prove that Hero Guy is real.
Letter of the Day: Cookie Monster is given the honor of hosting this segment by showing cookies that have a letter on them. The problem is Cookie eventually gives in to his instincts and eats the cookie. The clips after Cookie Monster's attempt to teach letters will help viewers learn the sounds and recognition of the letters themselves.
Spanish Word of the Day: Rosita along with Grover, Big Bird, and others on the street teach a Spanish word in a way that can be understood.
Elmo's World: This guy should get his very own show and I am not joking. In the meantime Elmo encourages to learn about all kinds of things like Mail, Music, computers etc. Elmo focuses on one subject to help kids understand what Elmo is inquisitive about on the day's segment.
Some complain that Sesame Street is not what it used to be, but keep in mind its own show anymore. It's now for OUR kids, and Sesame Street is forever programming to 2 to 5 year olds. With some many shows for preschooler out their Sesame Street is one of the few survivors today and don't be surprised if it's still on for another 33 years teaching the basics of numbers, letters etc.
I agree with the majority of the comments I have seen written. I grew up watching Seseme Street before a lot of the people who have written comments were even born. I was born in 1964, so I was 5-yrs-old when Seseme Street was introduced to television. The show taught me my numbers (The Count), spelling (the Muppet), and about life. I liked all the old characters (Big Bird, Oscar, Grover, and Cookie Monster) and don't quite understand why they had to change. I understand that everything has to change in some way, but to make Cookie Monster into a "veggie monster" to promote healthy eating. The show has introduced new characters and monsters since it's inception, why not make a separate "veggie monster" that talks/discusses the benefits of eating a varied diet with Cookie Monster. But, back to my point. I grew up watching the very beginning of Seseme Street, my now 20 yr-old daughter grew up watching SS with me along side her, and we discussed Mr. Hooper dying, although he had died prior to her being born, as well as other topics on the show. I saw the episode as a older child, and still remember how well they portrayed the event, much like real life. And I'm sure it hit the cast extremely hard as all deaths and losses effect families. You saw this on the show and it allowed parents and children to discuss very difficult events. The show has talked about traditional families, adoptive families and combined families. It's one of the few shows that actually discusses these scenarios. I now have a 5 yr-old daughter who really doesn't watch SS. I've tried to watch the show a couple of times, but, it really is not what it used to be. The Elmo 1/2 hr with Mr. Noodle is absolutely ridiculous. Like many people have said, it doesn't teach anything. It's geared for the less than 18 month old (maybe), and isn't even funny. I always prided myself on watching SS as a child, teen, and adult with my own child. Now on my second go-round, I really have a hard time watching SS. The topics that were discussed: death, marriage, non-traditional families, new to neighborhoods, moving away were related to children and adults in a manner easy for 2-99 year old to understand and relate to. Now, there are NO concepts taught, minimal counting, only the occasional mention of the alphabet. It is NOT the same SS, from an original watcher of the show. PLEASE if any producers from the show read these comments, return the show to its foundation. New concepts have never been a problem with SS, they just used to have a better way to incorporate them into the show.
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