Tuesday, November 10, 2009

40 Years of Sunny Days Sweeping the Clouds Away

It's hard to believe, but today Sesame Street officially celebrates its 40th anniversary. That's right... 40 years of shows brought to you by the letter A and the number 8. My brother and I watched Sesame Street all the time as kids, had the little stuffed Bert and Ernie that came with the soft car where the wheels didn't really turn... the little Sesame Street playhouse that opened up into the apartment building with Hooper's shop in the bottom and the little plastic nest where Big Bird sat (and the chalkboard in the middle). We could sing all the songs, we probably learned how to read by watching it, and I think back on it with immense fondness. It was a show that used muppets and real people to tell its stories and teach concepts to children, and it was set on an inner-city street, not some swish middle-class neighbourhood. There were all sorts of languages and ethnicities and worlds that Sesame Street opened up to little kids, and is one of those shows that probably creates universal recognition among anyone in their 30s or younger. I mean, what kid who grew up in the 70s and 80s doesn't occasionally find THIS song in their heads:

Ah, 70s grooves and the Pointer Sisters. You can't beat it.

Today Sesame Street is still on the cutting edge of issues, music, and parodies, every celebrity seems to be clamouring to get on it, and it can still be enjoyed by the parents as much as the children. For example, as much as I like Feist, when I find myself singing her music to myself I usually sing the Sesame Street version, "Whoa-ah-oh, we're counting to four!"

Their parodies are timely and charming, and seem to get it in a way that most sketch comedy shows don't. Check out the recent Mad Men sketch:

Happy birthday, Sesame Street. Here's to 40 more wonderful years. Please don't ever change.


Anonymous said...

LOL "Good work Sycophants"!

Guy Smiley was always my favourite character growing up - I was planning on naming my son Guy Smiley (it didn't happen).

I didn't like when they made Snuffleupagus real...apparently it was to scarring for children if no adult could see him!?! Never did any of us any harm....

Best recent guest...Neil Patrick Harris as the Shoe Fairy!

Paticus said...

Loved the 12 song.
Also a big fan of "the Ladybug Picnic": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr8vUTm64h0

Nikki Stafford said...

OMG, I can't believe I'd forgotten the Ladybug's Picnic! LOVED that as a kid, and the lyrics are very funny now that I'm watching it as an adult!! Hahaha...

Jonathan said...

I can never get the song about the two cats out of my head. I don't know the words so I improvise every time I think of it, but my God it's addictive.

It goes something like:

What's that, soft pitter pat
[kids voices] One Two
Two kitty cats.
Two kitty cats,
...... (no idea after this point - I won't give you my interpretations, because they're just ridiculous ramblings of a crazy person)

JJ said...

Have you heard that Cookie Monster doesn't go crazy for cookies anymore? Now he tells kids that "Cookies are a sometimes food" and that they should eat healthy alternatives instead. Character derailment of the highest order, I say, and evidence of political correctness gone mad!;)

Nikki Stafford said...

JJ: GAH! NO! MY Cookie Monster eats his cookies AND his plate. With an "OM-gom-gom-gom" sound. ;)

Nikki Stafford said...

Jonathan: I totally know the one you mean. You can watch it here:


Michele said...

Don't forget the aliens!


Robert said...

Aw how times have passed. I remember this even when I was in China. How universal.

Susan said...

Well I was going to get on here and say that "Ladybug Picnic" was my favorite but I see I've been beaten to it ;)

I also liked the song with the alligator king and his seven sons.

Plus the Cereal Girl parody of Material Girl and the Hip to Be a Square. Plus lots lots more.

JS said...

Love it all. (and the ping pong 12 song doesn't actually make sense, but I can count to twelve!)

I read a review a while back where they said the sesame street of our youth (I would say all kids under 40, not 30) would never make it in television today (and apparently doesn't anymore) since it was so gritty and "urban", and oscar the grouch was clinically depressed, and bert and ernie were in the closet and the cookie monster was a food addict. The DVD's actually come with a parental warning - not for toddlers!!!


fb said...

awww! i LOVED sesame street! and of course now i have the "onetwothreeFOURFIVEsixseveneightnineteneleventweeeeeeeeeeeeeeelve!" stuck in my head, hahahaha.

my favourites were the count, grover and oscar the grouch. in fact, when i did the 'which sesame street character are you most like?' quiz, i got part oscar and part grover. heh.


Ashlie Hawkins said...


I dare you not to laugh at the combination of Ricky Gervais and Elmo!

E.B. said...

I have to say I don't like Sesame St. anymore. I have widely spaced children. When my 16-year-old was little I enjoyed it as much as I recall I did during my own childhood. When my 10-year-old was little, I noticed a shift toward too much political correctness, which was just frankly kind of lame at times. By the time our 6-year-old came along, I just quit watching. It's too bad because it was so much colorful fun during it's prime.

I also love ladybug picnic and the alligator king, and the pinball number song. But the following ranks among my favorites from the old days:

And the I'm a Little Airplane Song is a close runner up: