Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not a Hard Choice Between Old School or Sanitized Sesame Street

The NY Times heralds the release of the "Sesame Street: Old School" DVD, but laments the loss of its grit:
People on “Sesame Street” had limited possibilities and fixed identities, and (the best part) you weren’t expected to change much. The harshness of existence was a given, and no one was proposing that numbers and letters would lead you “out” of your inner city to Elysian suburbs. Instead, “Sesame Street” suggested that learning might merely make our days more bearable, more interesting, funnier. It encouraged us, above all, to be nice to our neighbors and to cultivate the safer pleasures that take the edge off — taking baths, eating cookies, reading. Don’t tell the kids.
To expose my kid to mind-numbing "Tickle Me Elmo" or to Stevie Wonder's "Superstition"? I would be Superstitious every time:

And I wouldn't mind her watching Oscar the Grouch say "Right on!" and "Far out!" to Johnny Cash Trash singing "Nasty Dan." But then again, I am of the generation warped by the earlier versions of Sesame Street.

1 comment:

  1. Your experience is exactly why Sesame Street used to have more flavor to it... it was originally designed to be attractive to parents, with the hope that if parents would sit down with their children to watch, the educational benefit of the program would be wider. It wasn't the most developmentally appropriate way to do it, but it got parents interested in watching with their kids.

    The newer format is disappointing to me anyway. Blues Clues, for many of the same reasons that make it unbearable for adults to watch, is a developmentally appropriate program for the kids it targets. I'm not sure what Sesame Street is going for-- it's neither what it was or what it could be anymore.

    (Granted, all this is from a person with children who are far too old for the program anymore. You should take it with a grain of salt that I still watch it myself. ;) )