Sunday, October 01, 2006

SESAME STREET EXPLAINS IT ALL

Tony recorded a Biography of Sesame Street the other day and we finally got a chance to watch it together. (Note to friends in town, I have not deleted it. Please come watch if you so desire. I could watch this thing a million times.) As many of you already know I have a thing for Muppets. Although Sesame Street is not the same it is almost the same and I have a thing for it too. Mom once got me this book called the Wisdom of Big Bird and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch written by Caroll Spinney the genius behind both characters. It is a most touching read. I learned that Bruno (the guy who used to carry Oscar around) simply fell apart and no one bothered to make another one. I always wondered what happened to that guy. It also had a very interesting discussion on how Big Bird had to step aside and let Elmo become the star of the show. I am ok with Elmo, many in my generation are not, but he is no Big Bird. Wouldn’t it be great to have a job that wonderful? I am no master puppeteer, but something that made me half as happy as putting that bird costume on makes that guy would be just amazing. Not that I don’t enjoy my job, but that is something really special.

Speaking of Big Bird, I hope everyone knows he is six. Tony didn't know he was six and thought he was a very stupid and slightly creepy man. He is not. He is just a boy. A boy that lives all by himself and apparently just had his home destroyed by a hurricane. Now, I understand that Sesame Street is trying to reach out to the youth of today and have them understand the devastation that natural disaster causes but there are not hurricanes in NYC. Maybe there could be but there aren't. They may as well have had a monsoon. Maybe I don't like the idea because it can't convey the true devastation in New Orleans, then again should all those pre-schoolers see that? It's hard.

Sesame Street has always been so good at dealing with the hard issues. On the Biography I saw some brown kid I don't remember getting a hate phone call because he was friends with a white girl. As far as personal experience goes, I will never forget the death of Mr. Hooper. I can't remember if that was my first real experience with death. I just know it made me pretty sad. Watching the scene with Big Bird and the grown-ups on Biography had me in tears once again. Bird handing out pictures to his friends and wanting to give one to Mr. Looper was just too much. I was a damn mess. It was so good though. Something about crying as an adult for something that impacted your childhood is really cathartic. Sesame Street's "Done Eat The Pictures" does it for me as well. I think my recent viewing of "Big Bird in China" got me too. I don't know why but children’s TV/Movies/Books that make me cry are forever special to me. They touch something deep and important that I think I tend to have forgotten. I think, sometimes, that the things that make you cry are the real shapers of your personality. For me, these are both happy and sad cried, but cries all the same. If I couldn't cry, I don't think I would ever really know myself.

Well that got strange. People guessed all the music last week. Hooray! That's a first and made me very happy.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The "brown kid" who got the hate call was Savion Glover, who used to be a regular cast member. He and Gina, the White girl, ran Mr. Hooper's store.

Dude, I still remember Mr. Hooper's death. It was devastating.

What you said about the things that make us cry as children and how they affect us as adults is very well put.
--Monica

janeylynne said...

Agreeance about the crying. I think that's very true. I remember Mr. Hooper's death as well. I also remember when they revealed Snuffleupagus to everyone on Sesame Street. Prior to that, he was Big Bird's friend that somehow no one else saw. The things I miss most about Sesame Street are a lot of the learning sequences on counting and such that they just don't show anymore...like the pinball machine and the little metal obstacle course thing that they sent a cherry or something down. I also really miss the Twiddlebugs. I don't think they ever show them anymore...they lived in someone's flowers. Ahhh, the memories!

Mom said...

Actually, they do have hurricanes in NYC. I remember one from when I was a kid, 8 or 9 or so, maybe -- it blew me down the street! By the time a hurricane makes it all the way up the East coast to NY, though, it's usually lost it's capability for serious devastation.

I saw Don't Eat the Pictures for sale at the Metropolitan Museum of Art store. I almost bought it.

I was always a big fan of how Sesame used to be "brought to you by the letters H and Z, and by the number 6." (I think they may have found that "teaching" on TV wasn't all that effective for little kids...) And Monsterpiece Theatre, and "I'm a dog, I'm a working dog, I'm a hard-working dog," and Manama-Nah!, and how they were able to play to little kids, medium-sized kids, and adults all at once.

I often cry now at things from my childhood that didn't make me cry when I was a child. Who knows. Maybe it's just a phase I'm going through.

Anonymous said...

Oscar the Gruch is my hero.

Natalie said...

Oh Sesame Street, what a show.

Thanks Monica for remembering who the kids on the show were.

Janeylynne- I believe the twiddlebugs lived in Ernie's flowerbox. "I know, we'll use the door" as the smash their door through their wall.

Mom- Thanks for you telling me about Hurricane's in NY. I had no clue. I have a copy of Don't Eat The Pictures I got on Ebay for 4 bucks. It's really good.

Shadow- How can yo not love a guy who has elephants and a swimming pool in his garbage can?

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I loved the Muppets show, maybe even more than I loved Sesame Street. And for sure, the Sesame Street of my youth was far more educational IMHO than the show of today, although it could also be that the Sesame Street of yesteryear was far more politically-incorrect and I just never noticed it because I was such a naive little kid. Hard to say, unless they release the old seasons on DVD and I can watch them again....