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Monday, November 19, 2007

"Sesame Street" : Viewer Discretion Advised

Virginia Heffernan's latest piece for The New York Times is sure to cause quite a stir:
    According to an earnest warning on Volumes 1 and 2, "Sesame Street: Old School" is adults-only: "These early 'Sesame Street' episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child."
Huh? "Intended for grown-ups"? It must be the mature subject matter:
    Nothing in the children's entertainment of today, candy-colored animation hopped up on computer tricks, can prepare young or old for this frightening glimpse of simpler times. Back then — as on the very first episode, which aired on PBS Nov. 10, 1969 — a pretty, lonely girl like Sally might find herself befriended by an older male stranger who held her hand and took her home. Granted, Gordon just wanted Sally to meet his wife and have some milk and cookies, but...well, he could have wanted anything. As it was, he fed her milk and cookies. The milk looks dangerously whole.
Maybe it's the dismal setting:
    The old "Sesame Street" is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for softies born since 1998, when the chipper "Elmo's World" started. Anyone who considers bull markets normal, extracurricular activities sacrosanct and New York a tidy, governable place — well, the original "Sesame Street" might hurt your feelings.
Or perhaps it's the politically incorrect behavior:
    I asked Carol-Lynn Parente, the executive producer of "Sesame Street," how exactly the first episodes were unsuitable for toddlers in 2007. She told me about Alistair Cookie and the parody "Monsterpiece Theater." Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, used to appear with a pipe, which he later gobbled. According to Parente, "That modeled the wrong behavior" — smoking, eating pipes — "so we reshot those scenes without the pipe, and then we dropped the parody altogether."
Yeah, OK. I realize that "Sesame Street" has never offered anything of real value to children, but come on. Warning labels? Give me a break.

(HT: Christopher Knight)

1 comment:

Chris Wilde said...

Perhaps the warning label is for that episode where Big Bird pops a little LSD and starts getting those hallucinations of something called a "snuffleupagus".

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