Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Nytimes.com published "Sweeping the Clouds Away" by Virginia Heffernan this month. Msn.com had it rotating through it's top featured stories/articles.
Curious I was.
I never dreamt that anyone could attack the American child education icon we all know and love as Sesame Street. This article targetted the early Sesame Street shows. I was apauled. Really, how bored or desparate is a reporter when they have to stoop to this level? What has Cookie Monster, Ernie, Big Bird, and the gang ever done to anyone to deserve this outcasted treatment?!?
Here are a few excerpts from the article:
"The concept of the “inner city” — or “slums,” as The Times bluntly put it in its first review of “Sesame Street” — was therefore transformed into a kind of Xanadu on the show: a bright, no-clouds, clear-air place where people bopped around with monsters and didn’t worry too much about money, cleanliness or projecting false cheer. The Upper West Side, hardly a burned-out ghetto, was said to be the model." Hmmm... What's so wrong with having a show where every child can escape to - where everything is bright and cheery? I didn't realize pre-K children needed to be worried about money and the image of the Upper West Side.

"on the very first episode, which aired on PBS Nov. 10, 1969 — a pretty, lonely girl like Sally might find herself befriended by an older male stranger who held her hand and took her home. Granted, Gordon just wanted Sally to meet his wife and have some milk and cookies, but . . . well, he could have wanted anything. As it was, he fed her milk and cookies. The milk looks dangerously whole." ?!? Really... Gordon??? C'mon... Gordon is a figure many adults can remember from our Sesame Street years. My son watches him almost daily as Flash Gordon on Sesame Street. Why oh why would anyone imply that he may or may not have wanted more than to share milk and cookies with Sally???

"Alistair Cookie and the parody “Monsterpiece Theater.” Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, used to appear with a pipe, which he later gobbled. According to Parente, “That modeled the wrong behavior” — smoking, eating pipes" It's Cookie Monster!!! We all love him. To children, he's not an overweight cookie grubbing monster... he's a furry, loving, hilarious monster that just so happens to love cookies... don't we all???


If you get a chance, read the full article. It is interesting - and although unfair to the Sesame Street cast, it is well written and would be funny if it didn't appear that the author was being serious. Today, there are dozens of cartoons on the air that deserve much more criticism than Sesame Street - if you don't believe me, turn on Saturday morning cartoons. I don't believe that any show can be 100% perfect, but for decades Sesame Street has been an educational starting point for toddlers nationwide. And, let's face it - the first Sesame Street show aired in 1969... things were different back then - but that doesn't mean that those shows are unfit for today's children. I hardly doubt that my son or your children are going to start smoking and eating pipes just because Cookie Monster did.


Rebekah said...

They practically put the "Chester the Molester" peg on Gordon. That is just crap.

tina said...

Well said... people/writers need to find better things to write about then Sesame Street. I agree with Rebekah on this one. Our children need something innocent to watch and only an adult, who is searching for something more can take those things out of context.