Sesame Street memories

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, June 8, 2010, 7:32 PM | comments: 0

Having a child now, Sesame Street is likely to come back into our lives. We both watched it avidly as a child, and I honestly credit it with giving me a jump on reading and math. First grade seemed like a waste of time in retrospect, because basic reading and math was all pretty obvious for me at that point.

Watching the new episodes, it has changed a lot, but it seems to have a lot of the same basic approaches to learning while entertaining. A little too much Elmo for my taste, but that's OK. Most hilarious was a recent episode where Anderson Cooper from CNN tried to interview a couple of grouches about the letter G. It was pretty hilarious, with stuff obviously intended for adults as well.

Diana got a DVD from Netflix with a kind of "best of" from the first 20 seasons or something, and it's pretty remarkable to watch. I remember most of it. But as an adult, the context of it all is interesting too. I grew up in the inner city, so it wouldn't have mattered to me anyway, but 30 years ago they were incredibly diverse in the kids and cast they included. Gordon actually had hair, and not just hair, but a robust afro. They use sign language and Spanish. There are kids in wheelchairs. This is decades before "political correctness" became something to complain about.

One of the things I remember most was the episode where they explained that Mr. Hooper died. Big Bird's reaction was pretty intense the way they wrote it. Because my mom typically had the TV on during dinner, I remember the evening news covered the controversy around this, as a lot of parents thought it was in appropriate to talk about it in the show.

We definitely don't want to let the TV be a babysitter, and try to limit what he watches, but Sesame Street is definitely OK.

"A loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of buttah!" Oh, and "Nooney nooney noo..." :)


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