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  • Paul Davidson

Words For <i>Your</i> Enjoyment: Sesame Street

It is my official pleasure to invite you all here today for yet another edition of “Words For Your Enjoyment”! A day where you, the reader, provide the idea and I, the writer, write it. (Ed note: I know it gets tiring but I will continue to explain this feature every week for the rest of my existence for those just joining the party.)

The double-threat is back. Chase, who is Daniel to my Mr. Miyagi (his words, not mine), has provided us a second great idea, just a mere two weeks in a row. Chase asks, “Is Sesame Street still on TV? Does it need a reinvigoration of some kind?”

Why yes, Chase, I believe it does. (And yes, there is a Santa Claus.)

The Children’s Television Network, which brought us Sesame Street (now in its 35th year) and my personal favorite, The Electric Company has tried over the years to bring their shining glory back into the forefront. But other than their introduction of Elmo, whose high-pitched antics seemed to excite the public for a little while there (ask me about my real interaction with Elmo while working at The Jim Henson Company at another time), the show itself has seemed to get stale over the years – reverting to their old-school 70’s animated “teach me the numbers” interstitials instead of trying to spice things up.

And so, I would like to use today’s entry to give the people at PBS and the Children’s Television Workshop a list of ten things I believe they could do in order to bring Sesame Street into the naughts, and educate a whole new group of children in a whole new exciting way while updating its themes with current trends.

10. Sesame Street in all CGI. And in 3-D. With smell-o-vision.

9. A whole season of episodes should be created, dedicated to finding out, “Who Shot Elmo?”

8. Teach kids about the things that they face in the world, instead of numbers and letters. Such lessons include, “How to Program Your Cell Phone” and “How To Get The Most Out Of Your Electronically, GPS-Controlled Teddy Bear”.

7. In an attempt to make Sesame Street even more accessible to the entire public (no matter what sexual orientation), rename the show Open Sesame Street.

6. In a dramatic twist, a group of muppets are given the opportunity to win big money, but only if they complete a variety of challenges, including bungee jumping down into Oscar the Grouch’s endless garbage can chasm and eating (oh my god) human flesh.

5. Traditional animated interstitial, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12” upgraded for the population of smarter children (at a younger age) with “13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22”.

4. Ernie’s “Rubber Ducky” and one-person tub replaced with 500 square foot bath house, with ten shower-heads and fully-functionable electronically-controlled battleship.

3. In an attempt to not toss fear into the hearts of children faced with the current Orange Terrorism Levels, Cookie Monster’s name changed to “Atkins-Friendly Vegan Bar Guy”.

2. PBS standards overturned — sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll.

1. Grover IS The Bachelor.

In other news, while I worked at The Jim Henson Company, I had the unique experience of working with the actual guy who IS Elmo. Well, whenever Elmo came to Los Angeles, Elmo wanted his convertible-BMW, his four-star hotel and all his wonderfully expensive perks. I never quite understood why such a friendly, high-pitched red-ball of fur on TV could become such a red-devil off screen, but when Elmo screams you give him what he wants. At least, that’s what I was told.

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