Monday, 20 June 2011

Can You Tell me How to Get - How to Get Out of Sesame Street?

Everyone knows “Sesame Street”, right? I mean most people either grew up with it (like me) or were aware of it due to their offspring going “I WANNA WATCH “SESAME STREET”! NOOOOOWWWW!”. And doing some slight googling I discovered it actually premiered in 1969 – I mean, wow.

Recently, I was having a discussion about which characters I preferred and which characters I thought were lame. And before you say anything I wasn’t having this discussion by myself. For a children’s programme that features a mix of monsters, imaginary friends, numbers, letters, people and big birds it has done exceedingly well. I guess children have no problem suspending reality for the sake of an hour – I envy them.
Let’s review.


He’s everyone’s favourite red, furry monster. He is three and a half years old and has a wide range of followers and merchandise. I myself had a tickle-me-Elmo once upon a time which just vibrated whenever you squeezed it which, on reflection, is disturbingly suspect but what I am trying to convey is that I am aboard the Elmo fan wagon.

Here’s the problem. Whilst Elmo is cute and cuddly looking he is eternally burdened with a child’s mind. He is the puppet version of Peter Pan but less in an adventures-in-Neverland and more in a short-bus-riding kind of way. This is a creature that constantly refers to itself in the third person and the only other monster I know that does that is Gollum and there’s no way I’d tickle him.

This monster is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum when compared with Elmo. Grover is a senile fool that is allowed to run around and stick his enormous pink nose in the business of the other characters. Not only is he bald and toothless but he has delusions of being able to fly and an alter ego known as “Super Grover”. He needs to be locked away in a padded cell or stuffed into an already-full elderly care home where he is force fed custard and made to play bingo until he snuffs it.

This is a mammoth thing that somehow managed to battle and succeed against the ice age and all the other natural disasters that plagued the earth from then until now (including Cher). Not only this but he managed to overcome the problem of being imaginary. That’s right when he was first created he was a figment of Big Bird’s imagination and eventually everyone else could see him too. Poor Snuffleupagus can no longer spy on women undressing or the nocturnal activities of Bert of Ernie which we will get to shortly.
Big Bird

Well the name is pretty straight forward. This is an oversized canary that we can understand – without the assistance of heavy narcotics. Apparently he is the protagonist of this little programme but I always felt he was a bit of a wet blanket. Every time he is on screen I feel the only letters he needs to sing to me are “K, F, C”.

This is the grouch. Who lives in a rubbish bin. According to Wikipedia (the most reliable source of them all) Oscar admitted to originating from Canada. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Oscar endured a hasty birth where he was promptly dumped in a trash can at his mother’s prom and smuggled over the border becoming unable to leave his can due to agoraphobia.
Bert and Ernie

What is there to say about these two? I mean, really. We know what’s really going on between these two “roommates”.
That’s right. They share the same striped wardrobe.  

Count von Count

This is the puppet version of Edward Cullen and I don’t see any teenage girls with the count pouting at them from the sixty-five posters they have glued to their walls. I mostly just feel sorry for the Count... I mean he never gets to count to any decent number... how satisfied could an individual be with only fifteen or so numbers? His next sketch will go like this “One, two, three, four.  I have four! Four anti-depressants! AH AH AH”.

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