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Abby Cadabby mentioned in "Cinderella Ate My Daughter!"

Discussion in 'Sesame Appearances' started by Princeton, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Princeton

    Princeton Active Member

    I've been reading a great book called "Cinderella Ate My Daughter!" by Peggy Orenstein about how little girls are being desensitized by society and the media. Anyway, there’s a chapter about how most merchandise and children’s show characters are associated with the color pink in one way or another and Orenstein cited Abby Cadabby as an example. Clearly she’s done her homework because she interviewed Sesame Street’s current executive producer, who said that ever since the show’s inception, they’ve tried to add a new female character every season and for the most part they’ve all been unsuccessful. Lulu “wasn’t pretty enough” and Zoe “never caught on” (I also found out that her tutu was created for that reason, so that answers the question that my “Zoe’s Tutu” thread posed), which Orenstein translates to “neither of them were pink”. Hence why Abby Cadabby is pink. A lot of this makes sense to me, except for the idea that Zoe wasn’t accepted by the audience. Zoe was introduced in 1993 and was the primary female character until Abby Cadabby was introduced in 2006. That’s thirteen years! If the producers really felt that way about Zoe, they would have tried to replace her long before they actually did. How do you all feel about all this?
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Zoe stuck around. Lulu didn't capture the attention of the kids watching, but bad timing also stifled the character. After all, her puppeteer went off to Broadway for Avenue Q.

    Abby has that special something that the other girls didn't, but it seems that it got watered down when they tried making her the main female character. In her first appearances, she was full of self doubt and chronically shy. She did over come that, and there are hints of frustration when she messes up a spell now and then... but she was arguably deeper when she first appeared, and I think there's a lot of potential in the character that's not being completely utilized.

    Zoe should be a role model for young geeks in the making. There's something that hints at she'd be a geeky, quirky young woman if she grew up. Her pet rock Rocko, her weird fashion sense... I think that some girls can identify with that, but probably won't appreciate it until they're older.
  3. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    The problem with most kids shows, including Sesame Street at times, is their sole motivation is to fill a quota (more girl characters, etc.) rather than create a well rounded character.

    Well I guess they mean Zoe didn't catch on in a HUGE way the way Elmo did, with a billion toys selling, heh.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member



    Token characters are the worst, but it really isn't the fault of the creators. These groups complain they aren't being represented, but any time they add a character with flaws and problems (stuff that makes a character rich and believable) someone gets antsy pants about it and complains, and shouts sexism or racism.

    Abby can be a full character in the same way Elmo can... but too often they force the two together to play flat guessing games and go on alphabet hunts instead of treating characters like characters. Zoe, however, manages to show her character whenever possible... the precocious oddball kid who doesn't quite conform to anyone else. It took me forever to pick up on that, actually. I knew weird little girls when I was younger. They're the ones I'd actually attempt to talk to.

    Still, I like Abby constantly asking her mommy for help, getting annoyed by her own short comings as a young student of magic. She's not quite as easily frustrated as Don Music, but sometimes you can really tell she's not happy when she screws something up. Sometimes she dusts it off as an "Oh well," sometimes she moans "what's the use?" I really wanna see more of that and less of alphabet hunts and nature guessing games.
  5. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Huh...now that's an image...Abby Cadabby paired with Don Music, lol.

    So would this be before or after he went to his anger management classes (i.e. when he noticeably stopped banging his head on the show. ;) )
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Either.

    It seems when Abby screws up and gets frustrated, she seems to take it with a more "what's the use" kick over a can and shrug shoulders type way. She did that at least a couple times, I swear she did. But it seems more likely (at least lately) that she shrugs it off as an "oh well" more like Mumford.
  7. Dominicboo1

    Dominicboo1 Well-Known Member

    I used to really like Lulu! I remember once she was annoying Alan, but brining mail to him every second , or so it seemed.
    Zoe is a great character, but is best with either Rosita, Elmo, or even Abby.
    Kind of like how Mr. Johnson would be forgotten without Grover!
  8. mbmfrog

    mbmfrog Active Member

    I have to admit Zoe is one of Fran Brill's best, I mean if they were worry about the color Pink, then look to Fran Brill's other Sesame Street character, Prarie Dawn. :insatiable:
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'm sure we would have seen more Lulu in time had her puppeteer been more available. Seems they tried bringing her back a couple seasons ago, but it was only a cameo.

    I love Prairie, but she works better as a straight man in a comedy sketch... those Letter of the Day game segments, those times when she was a contestant on Guy Smiley's game shows, even those times when it's only her and a narrator overnarrating things.

    I really like Abby, but when Abby and Elmo are together it seems forced. However, Zoe and Elmo work beautifully off each other. Especially when Zoe brings Rocko the rock in. She's the ONLY one that can actually get Elmo to a state of annoyance. That says something. I didn't appreciate Zoe for years, but one day it dawned on me that shew was supposed to be that one weird little girl you knew.
  10. Dominicboo1

    Dominicboo1 Well-Known Member

    I remember I saw Lulu or a similar puppet on the rainbow episode when Elmo makes his monster rainbow and she says to Elmo and Rosita, "I remember you guys!" I remember you too Lulu!
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Well, even Fran has said that she and the producer agreed that Prairie wouldn't make for a leading-lady Muppet on the show because she's too prissy and Polly Perfect of a character.

    Well, how often have you and I said the same about Kenan Thompson? Just about the only time they use him in a sketch on SNL is when they need a token black character.
    I've been saying that for years, and so has everyone else... like all of these studies that suggest the media is constantly trying to sexualize little girls, and even more recent studies suggest that reality TV is bad for young girls (like teenagers and such) because it makes them believe they have to be aggressive and manipulative to be successful in life.
    Well, it's been mentioned there's two different reasons Zoe was made orange: 1) to visually compliment Elmo, because her orange fur matched his orange nose (and his red fur matched her red mouth), and 2) she was introduced at the time Barney was dominating kiddie television, so the made her orange so Zoe dolls would stand out on shelves dominated by purple dinosaurs. They even mentioned in Street Gang that someone said, "Too bad she couldn't be pink".

    I think another problem too was that Lulu wasn't exactly a girly-girl character, as was Elizabeth, Stephanie's other character... remember her? She obsessed over her cat, Little Murray Sparkles.

    Exactly... it's like how most network shows nowadays actually are FORCED to include at least ONE ethnic character in the ensemble, and it seems like that's the character who's always the least-expanded upon character, and the most one-dimensional... actually, it's kind of been that way since the early days... like look at Hogan's Heroes: you had an all-American hero in charge of a Frenchman, an Englander, a black man, and a Native American... guess who was always the "background" one of the group?
  12. Princeton

    Princeton Active Member

    That may be another reason why Zoe was phased out, because didn't Barney introduce a new dinosaur character that was orange?
  13. Dominicboo1

    Dominicboo1 Well-Known Member

    Yes they did. His name is Riff, and he's BJ and Baby Bop's cousin. Why is he there? Your guess is as good as mine.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Other than her pageants, she really doesn't have all that much going for her as a character. The only character I can think of I can compare her to is probably Beauty from Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo... the sane character that can't stand the craziness of the other characters and loses it. She works best in those situations... and pageants.
    Reality TV is bad for EVERYONE! :crazy:

    Elizabeth is one of the worst characters in the show. The only Sesame Street character I truly hated. Obsessing over some small creature that doesn't do anything all that remarkable was already taken...

    [​IMG]

    And done much funnier too. Elizabeth was all about Little Murray Sparkles and nothing else.

    Riff was introduced LONG after Zoe came and Long after she was already a mainstay. I think it was all about merchandising, and they needed a girly girl character to play to girly girls watching at home. Zoe is still a pretty major character on the show... she appears on the show every so often, and she's still in the theme song. She's still on the merchandise too.
  15. mimitchi33

    mimitchi33 Member

    My sister liked Abby Cadabby when she was 9. Well, she's weird...


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