The Kids Aren't Alright

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame street? No? What do you mean it isn't for kids?

The recent DVD release of Sesame Street: Old School, Volumes 1 and 2, which encompasses the years 1969-79, came with a warning: “These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

Are they kidding? These two volumes encompass the beginnings of the classic kids show, which intersect almost perfectly with my childhood. My generation played with lawn darts and had full-wheel walkers that could fly down stairs like nobody's business, but Sesame Street was a source of all that was pure and good.

Or not, it seems. The ravenous, googly-eyed, sugar-binging Cookie Monster used to throw back boxes and boxes of the sugary treats. Om nom nom nom. Now the cookies are considered a "sometimes snack" and he's just as happy with carrots and other veggies. Stupid, overweight children.

And everyone can now see Snuffleupagus too, not just Big Bird. Seems that they didn't want kids thinking adults wouldn't believe them if they told them something, which is understandable, but it still takes a way a bit of the magic. Whatever happened to imaginary friends?

Even Oscar, the cranky, garbage-dwellig Grouch, is too much for our kinder, gentler, child-rearing ways. Apparently he was a touch too acidic way, way back in the 1970s and wouldn't pass muster today. “We might not be able to create a character like Oscar now,” Carol-Lynn Parente, the executive producer of Sesame Street, told The New York Times.

Amusingly, it's likely people my age running the show these days, the ones brought up watching what is now deemed inappropriate for kids. A classic case of "Do as I say, not as I do." I suppose all parents do that.

Of course I'm hardly the first to bemoan the changes and wonder where they are leading to. Below is graphic artist Steve Murray's take on the subject. Click on the image for a larger version.

4 comments:

  1. "...may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child...?" What the heck? Quite frankly, I don't see how those old Sesame Street episodes still don't fit the needs of preschool children. Okay, they may not be in line with today's political correctness, But then, I have to wonder if presenting a politically correct world where everyone is nearly perfect isn't more harmful than the old Sesame Street episodes ever have been. I mean, shouldn't we let kids know that there are Oscar the Grouches out there? Anyway, we grew up on them and we turned out all right.

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  2. I couldn't agree with you more.

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  3. I certainly want my niece to see the old school Sesame Street.

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  4. A few things...

    First of all, that was a great, funny and insightful posting!

    I miss the more hedonistic Cookie Monster. There is something intrinsically appealing (especially to pre-schoolers) about his lack of ability to delay gratification and his propensity towards indulging his baser instincts. He is the ultimate archetype for little ego-centric kiddies.

    The social engineering is a little nauseating now - back in the day when Cookie Monster was a big old glutinous mess, I, like many other kids, practiced the fine art of going "nom nom nom" and making a grand mess with my cookies. It didn't matter though, because we all would spend pretty well hours everyday playing and running outside getting tons of exercise.

    We didn't need to be told that cookies were a "sometimes food" on TV because our parents regulated that for us and we learned to figure it out.

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