Sesame Street: Old School Volume 2- TV review
Being locked down with suspected swine flu certainly sucks the balls. Whatever happens I have Cool Shite to thank for it, because it came from either Dion or Bruce. (I’m never letting either of you slip me the tongue again!) I hate being sick and to top it off , I’m busting my cherry on my first Cool Shite review. The funny thing about being sick is that I can’t sleep in, so bored at 7 am I’m watching some more children’s programming than normal. I swear this is for research purposes only. As a teacher however I am interested in what the average kid watches and how it contributes to their academic development. I’m not one these wackos who thinks we should be reading space shuttle schematics at age 8. You may scoff but Q-Dog will back me up on this- we met a guy who did just that. On the other hand I see kids in grade 8 that can’t add 19 to 7 without thinking about it for a long while, whose handwriting looks like it belongs to an epileptic gorilla.
So after viewing some children’s television over my morning coffee, I’ve come to following the conclusion – children’s morning TV today is crap. I saw this one piece of work today called in the night garden. It was so mind numbingly terrible. There was nothing to it. Again it doesn’t have to focus on nuclear physics but this was just televised babysitting to keep kids drooling at the TV with bright colours. Nothing like when I was growing up. Sesame Street. 60 minutes of entertainment that also managed to educate me as well,. It never tried to replace school but they supported it. It’s because of this I think I adapted so well to school so quickly because I got the basics taught to me by a bunch of Muppets. It was fun to watch too! It consisted of one perfect hour of programming containing skits ranging from 10 seconds to, at most 3 minutes.
Roscoe Orman or as we know him "Gordon"
It was also a good education in broadening my horizons. Gordon was the closest thing to a black person I had ever seen at that age. I suspect the shows setting was very purposely thought out. Set in the streets of New York it was set for the lower social economic population. It was bleak, industrial and littered with junk. This was balanced by the bright Muppets and supportive, protective and positive outlook of all its inhabitants. It was something that the lower classes could empathise with. The great thing it’s still managed to engage a middle class Australian kid as well. The nature of the show geared towards an Afro American audience is further highlighted by the pilot episode. This had a lot more content geared towards a black viewing audience. By the time the show went into formal production, they had broadened the targeted audience demographic via a more multi-ethnic inner-city neighborhood and subsequently broadened the content.
What a trip down memory lane this viewing turned out to be. Remember the red typewriter on wheels? Remember that game show where Grover had to find 5 things in 60 seconds that have milk in them- ice-cream, cheese, butter and two cows! Remember the Twiddlebugs and the George Washington stamp that they have as a painting? Remember these? Maybe not, but the moment you watch them, those memories that were locked back in the small recesses your child will be unlocked, and you will smile with the number of times you say Oh yeah I remember that! One of the Easter eggs is the psychedelic now I know I’m lost skit with kid on he bike riding past a bunch of psychedelic landmarks. Now that was some weird shit. I laughed out loud when Ernie, Harry, Cookie Monster and Bert did a play about a sunflower growing to Prairie Dawn playing the piano. The whole disk is filed with these momentsÂ¦ Bert: Hey there lamp that’s a nice shade!
Lilly Tomlin and Herry monster on "The Chair"
How frigging creepy was Humpty Dumpty when Kermit interviewed him? He creeped the absolute shit out of me when I was a kid. Still did with today’s viewing. At least there wasn’t that skit with the letter far in the back ground and it would slowly walk towards the foreground with a loud drum beat. I still remember having to turn the sound down for that one. Remember Lilly Tomlin playing Eith Anne on that really big chair talking weird while constantly sticking her tongue out? I don’t know if I had a crush on her, she was too creepy for that, but being six years old she was so very different to the girls in my class. I found her veryÂ¦ compelling.
This show was awesome. The sophistication of the show’s goals and characters deserve their place in both television and educational history. All the muppets in Sesame Street act as an archetype of resilience to set an example for the child viewer. Big Bird I’ll address in the second part of my review. Grover was all about refining that experience and learning through trial and error. He demonstrated that it’s ok to make mistakes. Harry showed us that even if you are strong you still need help. Bert and Ernie demonstrate that friendship can be found in opposites. Oscar shows that it’s ok to have different outlook on life. (I could go on and on but I’m probably butchering my word limit already). Even later characters like Telly and Elmo (god help me I’m justifying Elmo). Telly shows us it’s ok to be overwhelmed. Even Elmo addresses an issue on the logical deconstruction of ideas.
Kermit and The Count, Sesame Streets' vampire accountant.
Every character in the show is there for a purpose. They did all this subtly and from the relationships and interacted they demonstrated. I was able to make the connections myself. Lets hear it for not dumbing down kids today!
All over all this is a great investment if you have kids and are from that generation as the concepts and ideas are constant despite the flared jeans and New York accents. While I loved the trip down memory lane and how I adored how it sparked so many thoughts and concepts regarding children’s television it’s not an investment I’d get into until I had kids. Then I’d have a good excuse to watch it with them.
Warning: the next part involves a very personal story of how Sesame Street helped me as a kid. It takes a much darker and personal narrative than the previous review and has nothing to do with volume 2 and more about stuff that happened later on.
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