Sesame Street is over 40

Wow that’s old. It’s interesting to watch the show now and see just how much it’s changed since I used to watch it. Even more shocking to watch the episodes from the 70’s. The show’s defining moment was probably the death of Mr. Hooper. When the actor Will Lee died, the producers chose to address the issue head-on by having the adults explain death to Big Bird and why Mr. Hooper wouldn’t be coming back.

I still have songs from the show that I think about from time to time (does anyone else remember the “Honker-Ducker-Dinger Jamboree” or “Born to Add”?). There’s Kermit singing his now-immortal song “Bein’ Green.” Monsterpiece Theater and Alistair Cookie. I remember the specials like the Christmas special where Big Bird waits on the rooftop for Santa Claus, or when Big Bird and Snuffy get lost in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the trips to China or Japan. I remember when Big Bird’s imaginary friend Mr. Snufflupagus was shown to be real and was introduced to everyone. Ernie and Hoots the Owl sining “Put Down the Duckie.” Ernie’s song about not wanting to live on the moon.

They still do great work and have sketches and guests with great parodies. Feist’s “1234” parody is brilliant. The Desperate Houseplants parody. Then of course there’s the now-classic Ricky Gervais and Elmo interview out takes (look it up on youtube – not suitable for kids!)

It was Mr. Hooper, though who changed the show. It’s easy to be jaded and cynical about television, but every now and again we’re reminded what is possible. Here’s to forty more years.

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