1. Welcome to the Muppet Central Forum!
    You are viewing our forum as a guest. Join our free community to post topics and start private conversations. Please contact us if you need help with registration or your account login.

  2. "Muppet Guys Talking" Debuts On-line
    Watch the inspiring documentary "Muppet Guys Talking", read fan reactions and let us know your thoughts on the Muppet release of the year.

  3. Sesame Street Season 48
    Sesame Street's 48th season officially began Saturday November 18 on HBO. After you see the new episodes, post here and let us know your thoughts.

Elmo's Popularity?

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by CourtneyDax, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    I, too, like Elmo; just not his commercialism.

    I don't blame Kevin Clash for this, since he's a very talented puppeteer; I blame the directors and writers.
  2. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Two things... I tend to count Boohbah and Teletubbies as the same thing. Sort of like how I consider Dora, Mickey's Club House and Super Why the same thing. And Boohbah was an incredible flop anyway. There is something truly terrible out there on the horizon... something we can't possibly imagine or comprehend.

    I didn't like it at first, but I'm willing to give it a shot for 3 reasons:

    1- one of the members of Devo came up with the idea.

    2- Either one or both of the Brothers Chaps contributed an animated segment for one episode (i.e. the 2 brothers that brough us Homestarrunner.com... the ONLY web toon I watch regularly)

    and 3- I'm digging the idea that the characters are patterned after 1970's Japanese live action preschool shows. The characters actually look sorta cool.

    I gotta see this Wubzy thing, though...

    I can't even blame them. The character hit a LOT bigger than anyone thought it would, and it affected the show both positively (attention and merchandising- which goes back to other SW projects) and negatively (making him an extreme focus). The writers and directors keep him in because he's what keeps kids watching for whatever reason.

    Thing that bugs me is that Kevin IS a talented puppeteer. He;s one of my favorites (though it's hard to have a least favorite, now that I think about it)... but as far as I'm concerned, Elmo keeps him occupied, and you rarely see any of his other great characters... sure, occasionally Hoots the Owl. But I really want to see Clifford to some extent in a new Muppet project.

    I think that the idea is bad enough... even if it were another character, even a one I like, the idea seems repetitive and pointless. Again, Abby's flying school... Murray had a Little Lamb... I even caught some of Munchin' Impossible (whether it will be on next season's show or not is anyone's guess at this point). What makes them different? They are less than 10 minutes (Abby just barely... it really does need an edit somewhere). and they all have either a plot or something interesting going on with it. Let's say they junk EW and replace it with a new segment where he goes out and does something interesting somewhere, has an adventure, goes out to find something new... then I wouldn't feel it's as bland.

    You really should check out my "Ranking Segments" thread for more details.
  3. JLG

    JLG Active Member

    I think you nailed it. You said everything I've always thought, too. I love the innocent, whispery Elmo of 1985 to about 1996.

    I would add my perception: One thing I think gets overlooked is that Elmo's personality changed partly because his role changed. When he first appeared, Sesame Street was still aimed at the 3-6 set, and Elmo was meant to represent the younger end of that spectrum---the "littler kid" who would tag along with the older kids and pester them with questions about everything. In other words, his character was viewed from, and written from, an older vantagepoint. When the show started to aim younger, it was aiming squarely at children Elmo's age and younger. So Elmo went from being viewed "from above" to being viewed "level" or even "from below", with kids looking UP to him. That would inevitatably change his behavior.


    I'm curious, have you checked out what older Sesame Street was like on YouTube? There are literally hundreds of clips on there, mostly from the 70s, 80s and 90s. Muppet, animated, and live-action---the whole nine yards. Pre-and-post Elmo. (Sesamestreet.org also has a lot of older material available for viewing under "Classic Clips") Watching some of this stuff will give you a good idea of what we mean when we talk about how different the show's tone is today.
  4. Mupp

    Mupp Member

    I hope so too. That is one of the reasons why I have generally enjoyed season 40.

    As some have said, I don't think Elmo is evil and I certainly don't hate him.
    Yes, they seem to have dialed back on Elmo lately, and for that I am glad. He is a cute character, but the character taking control of everything is bad. That is why I cannot sit through Elmo's World. Although I do give them credit for including some classic characters in Elmo's World from time to time.

    And let's face it, that whole "Dorthy has a question" thing is a complete smoke screen. Its all Elmo using his imagination and they are really all of his questions, not his fish. So again, the character is talking control.

    So, I don't hate Elmo. I'm glad that season 40 has had a focus on the classic characters. So hopefully that will continue, and assuming that's the case, the only thing I don't like is Elmo's World.

    As I mentioned in another thread, I have no problem with Abby's Flying Fairy School or Bert and Ernie's Adventures.
    Sesame Street has always had animation, and I like the new characters that are along side Abby in fairy school.

    I used to be iffy on Abby, but she has grown on me. I just think of her as a cute character. Besides, I realize that its important for Sesame Street to have good female characters.
    (in case anyone was wondering, I am a guy)
  5. Mupp

    Mupp Member

    By the way, I think that people in this thread have done an excellent job of analyzing the character of Elmo and pin-pointing exactly where things took a turn in terms of how he was presented to viewer.

    Again, I have enjoyed season 40 because many of the classic characters have been in the spotlight, and the street stories have not been dominated by Elmo alone. Hopefully this is a trend that will continue.
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I find that SS has struggled with female characters since... well, if you give a non-white non-male character flaws, you're going to have one group after you for negative portrayal. Disney had to jump through so many hoops with the Princess and the Frog... the character was too African American... then she wasn't African American enough... it's a burden on the creative process when you try to make a realistic character that can believably hang out with the rest of the cast, and then come under fire for making the character negative, leaving you with a personality devoid Mary Sue.

    I feel there's a lot of untapped potential with Abby... either an episode where she gets fed up with how many times she messes up, and just gives up magic, or having one of the other characters get jealous of her powers. Both have very important lessons attached to them. The only thing that bugs me is that, and I've said this before, when it comes to her CGI segment, she never seems to cause any trouble. It's all Blogg and Gonnigan... and sometimes Nibblet's fault.

    You see, I hate the concept of Elmo's World. Not even because of Elmo... just... there's so much to dislike about it. I agree... it's a very self centered segment. That's why I hate Barney. SS was always a community, and if something went wrong, someone was there... if something was REALLY going south, the entire neighborhood jumped in (like the season 40 premier). The segment is all about Elmo's imagination, people sending e-mails to Elmo.... and among other things, I think it just always felt uneven compared to the rest of the show. You see 3 minutes of the letter G, 3 or 4 minutes about the number 9, and then 15 minutes about feet. They don't stress numbers and letters in the entire show the way they stress one subject in EW. Had it been some DTV series or a separate half hour show, it wouldn't be so bad...

    And you can tell that everyone involved wants to make it better than it is... references to old movies... there was that one about ears that had 2 references to Looney Tunes. The Hair one referenced Cousin Itt for crying out loud. The segment wants to be better than it is, but just can't. And they can't even get rid of it.
  7. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    At least other countries show it separately. Why can't they do the same here?
  8. Mupp

    Mupp Member

    Yeah. Elmo's World definitely has a very simple plot and that is part of why it is bad as a part of Sesame Street. Its just stressing one subject the whole time
    I've noticed too, it seems like they are always trying to add funny bits to make it more entertaining.

    Yes, it really would be better if it were a DTV or a separate show.

    As a matter fact, years ago when I first saw Elmo's World, I had just switched it on and there it was. I had no idea that it actually part of the Sesame Street show. I didn't think that they would actually have it be part of a Sesame Street episode.
    As I recall, it was rather off-putting when I found out.

    I guess its similar to when "Blue's Room" become a part of Blue's Clues. It just never seemed to fit well.

    And you've got a point about the fact that Abby doesn't seem to make mistakes in fairy school. Hopefully if the segment proves popular and they make more, they will have some plots where she makes mistakes.
  9. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    I'm sure the Sesame Street creative team would be worried about it hurting viewership of the rest of the show. And I really don't think it would work as a seperate program. Then there's an entire show just about Elmo, rather than just an annoying smudge on a beautiful painting.
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    2 words... PBS. Wait... that's not even 1 word... it's 3 letters. Oh well, two words does sound a might flashier than three letters, doncha think?

    It's just one of those things I just don't see or agree with. I know they needed to get kids attention at the 3/4 point of the show, but they should have done what Abby and Ernie and Bert managed to do, take the characters out of their environment and have them go on interesting adventures. The only thing interesting about Elmo's world is the random little gags they toss in for adults. And the cartoon.

    Even the new Munchin' Impossible segment (look around on SE's website) looks to have some potential to be exciting. Certainly a LOT more exciting than talking about how cakes don't have legs and nonsense like that. I still say SS can get rid of EW, just replace it with Elmo doing something else for 5-10 minutes or so.
  11. Mupp

    Mupp Member

    Yeah, that's what is nice about Abby and Ernie and Bert's new segments, they go on adventures and actually do interesting things.
    On that note, I really enjoyed the Fairy School segment when they took a field trip to Colonial Trollumsberg. That was really interesting and fun to watch, and it gave a really good message.
    And yes I would be really glad if they did something different with Elmo, having him actually go on an adventure and do something interesting.
  12. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    There's a rumor going around that Elmo will have a new overseas show, much like Cookie's Munchin' Impossible... if anything, it promises to be shorter. I'd love to see them replace EW with that, or at least experiment with switching between it and EW for a season. I still say if you cut out the random counting, the let's see how you X segment, shorten Mr. Noodles's capering and above all, take the rest of it with pruning shears, you could turn a 15 minute segment into a shorter 10 minute or less bit without any effort. Hey! They trimmed the Murray segments of their guessing game openings. That shaved off a good 3 minutes or so.
  13. Mupp

    Mupp Member

    You know, I may not care for Elmo's World, but I LOVED "Cookie World"
    It would be great if they could do that again sometime.
  14. beakerfan76

    beakerfan76 Member

    Oh yes, a topic I've always wanted to elaborate on since I joined this forum.

    First things first, I watched Sesame Street since I was a literal baby, but these were tapes that contained 70's/80's episodes. The Elmo I knew was a representation of a smaller kid, maybe a toddler, who liked to be a second banana to his/her older sibling.

    Fast forward to the late 90's, when I was around 4-5, the Tickle Me Elmo craze began. I remember getting a variant with Cookie Monster back in 1997. Anyway, I blame this as the reason why Elmo pretty much is the king of the Street nowadays. Companies saw him as a marketable character along the lines of Mickey Mouse or SpongeBob.

    Not to mention, the dumbing down of competing shows like Dora (Which i despise) and Boobah (Seriously, what the heck is that stuff?). Sure, there are good pre-K shows out there (Max and Ruby, Wow Wow Wubbzy, and Martha Speaks to name a few), but the weird, borderline trippy (I'm looking at you, Yo Gabba Gabba), and stupid outweigh the clever. Sure, Sesame Street is still good, still retaining the charm I assume many of you felt. No, Elmo isn't a horrible character. Sure he's marketable, but the Elmo's World segments are a bit of overkill.

    When Grover was popular, the last chunk of the show wasn't completely devoted to him. Neither to Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Telly, or even Guy Smiley, The Count, or the Yip-Yips.

    Case in point, thanks to factors like the degeneration of children's programming mixed with corporate shenanigans and coupled with many veteran Muppeteers no longer with us/extremely busy made Elmo what he is today.
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That's what I've been saying for years. We keep forgetting what happened in the 90's, well before Dora. The children's television industry was rocked by a none too clever show about an upper middle class suburban red school house, where the kids couldn't act, the songs were all stolen and cheaply synthesized, and a cheap Maroon Dinosaur suit was worshiped like a cult. A low quality home video series which could have been totally forgotten. The entire industry has been in free fall since. Remember the horrid knockoffs like Dudley the Dragon, Bloopy's Buddies (which was a very unfortunate career stop for Johnathon Winters)... even Sesame Street needed to call people in to combat this guy, and he was on the SAME network.

    Fast forward to the late 90's and Blue's Clues. The first in an unfortunate and overcrowded array of lame TV shows pretending to be interactive. By which, I mean the characters stand around waiting to answer their own questions during an interminable (and oddly growing) period of silence.

    As for Boohbah? That was a commercial failure. The characters were fugly, there was no attempt of making it interesting for anyone over the age of 1 that isn't on an illegal substance, and I couldn't make it through a whole minute. Tellitubbies at least had those rumors about the purple one being a symbol of Gay... and without that, I don't think it would have lasted half as long as it did. Boobah died a just death, if a lengthy one. NO ONE bought the merchandise. Waves of stuuff went on deep discount clearance. That's total fail to me. Even the Narnia 2 movie toys were tossed out with more dignity.
  16. Yorick

    Yorick Active Member

    Right on! It was so weird (and sad!) to lean from "Street Gang" that my theory was EXACTLY right - Barney's popularity made everything change for the worst, including the negative changes to SS...all because "Kids love Barney, so we gotta make SS more like Barney" - well, when you learn how SS came about, (making better use of children's love of TV - due to a child staring transfixed at a test pattern or whatever) that pretty much says it all. Of course they love Barney - they love test patterns if you let them see them! What a shame :(

Share This Page