Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kids TV Show Review: Sesame Street

Here in the US, we rely on a trusted caregiver for our children - the Television. And Jodi and I are no different. For the past 2 weeks, TV has raised Matthew while, by all accounts I have been a bumbling idiot.

In all seriousness, Jodi of course is doing a fine job, but so far, TV has been a nice distraction for our little guy and we expect some of the repetition on the shows (and there is a lot) will help us keep teaching him english.

So I have been exposed to plenty of children's programming over the past few weeks, some good and some bad .... so I figured I'd throw out some reviews. Here is what I think of that time-honored classic - Sesame Street.

Sesame Street has been on TV for almost 40 years (in fact, it will have it's 40th anniversary this November). Sesame continues to take place in a fictional neighborhood that is meant to represent a "typical" urban environment - that is, a variety of different ethnicities living in harmony (yeah right).

Interestingly, the formula on Sesame Street seems unchanged since when I was watching (up through the mid-90's, my college years). There is a good combination of regular people, muppets and little skits, generally revolving around a certain letter or number or even a concept; for instance, today's theme: shoes. What I do appreciate is that it can take some basic ideas and provide decent introductions and repetition which I guess is what a kid needs. Sesame also includes a good smattering of real footage of people, particularly kids. And I was pleased to see a decent amount of arts represented in some skits including modern ballet dancing and musical appreciation.

Other thoughts:

1. It appears the main human characters are all still there and played by the same guys as when I was little. Notable that they've been able to keep these guys like Bob and Luis under contract all these years. I am picturing seeing them dining in some fancy boutique restaurant in NYC wearing Prada sneakers.
2. Also, these guys absolutely do not age - they all look like they did in the 70's. Sesame Street must have a seriously talented plastic surgeon - I am waiting for him to make an appearance.
3. Similarly, you have a lot of the usual muppet characters like Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch, although prominently featured is this new guy Elmo who appears to be a smaller, baby-talking version of Grover and he is exceedingly annoying. He seems to have totally taken over the show. Of course, he is Matthew's favorite guy.
4. Celebrities still make appearances from time to time including A-listers like David Beckham and a smattering of jazz musicians like Herbie Hancock and Diana Krall.
5. You can view Sesame Street on Demand and review older content. I just saw my favorite skit of all time the other day: the one when Bert is trying give his nephew a bath and Ernie shows up and puts in too many bath toys.

So overall, Sesame Street offers a pretty unique combination of learning and entertainment informed by cultural and art appreciation as well.
My Score: 4.5 Stars
Matthew's Score: 4 Stars

1 comment:

  1. Here's my favorite Sesame Street gig that I remember you guys watching cerca 1988. It speakes to the shortcomings of multitasking, is still relevant and has an amazing cast of celebrities.
    Cast includes:
    John Candy
    Pee Wee Herman
    Danny DeVito
    Wynton Marsalis
    Itzhak Perlman
    Pete Seeger
    Paul Simon
    Jane Curtin
    Jeremy Irons
    and luminaries from the Mets and Giants.