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Has Big Bird lost his appeal?

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by SSLFan, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Since this was already discussed, I'm just going to point out the 2 problems that lead to this.

    1) The writers aren't quite as comfortable writing for Big Bird as they are bolder characters. I don't think it's a personal thing against the character (if there was any real unpleasantness with Carol, they'd just recast his roles), just a writing comfort zone thing. A lot of writers for television have better handles on certain characters than others. And Big Bird does seem to have a very subtle personality with very subtle complexities that would cause problems. Other than the fact there HAS to be some pressure to write more Elmo episodes (since that's their big money maker), I don't see anything really worrisome there.

    2) Again, their budget is razor thin. It really seems like now more than ever they can only afford so many puppeteers to come on per episode... that leads to deserted streets, and lack of more than 6 characters at a time. So, even if Carol or Matt could do a walk by cameo, even poke the head out of his nest, the budget won't allow it now.

    But make no mistake. When it comes to most merchandise, you'll see Big Bird Elmo and Cookie out there right in front. Sometimes either Ernie or Abby. Then again, Telly's in almost every other episode, and his merchandising presence has always been small. Ditto Baby Bear. And I AM seeing more and more Snuffy stuff. And as I said a year ago, there is NO CALL for Big Bird to look like a fuzzy Lollipop. What is he? Animal? :halo:
  2. zns

    zns Active Member

    And I agree with you on all of this. It just gets to me though sometimes. Elmo is a great character because he has helped keep the show fresh for today's generation. But it's great that Big Bird still remains on the most popular list for the show. Like I said before, Elmo is the heart of Sesame Street, but Big Bird is the soul.:wisdom::wisdom::wisdom:
  3. Skekayuk

    Skekayuk Member

    I think it's important to bear in mind the way a lot of the original Muppet characters developed, often with a specific performer who both puppeteered and voiced it, with the character written in such a way as to be a sort of extension or his or her performer. Although this happened more with the TMS characters, I think it also occured to an extent with the Sesame Street Characters.
    Rather than have new puppeteers 'take over' the old characters entirely, I think it is actually good to gradually wind down the use of older characters like Big Bird, and Bert, and Ernie, and even eventually The Count. Yes those characters made Sesame Street. But in the end for the brand to truly survive it needs to renew itself with new characters. That's why, although I don't entirely agree with Elmo having taken-over quite so much of the show, I think it good to have gradually built Elmo up into a major character, and let some of the older characters be used less. Maybe the writers could try bringing in a few more new characters to rival Elmo, rather than rely on the old characters.
    Many long-running TV programmes have to contiunally reinvent themselves with new characters (often fulfilling the old functions), while remaining essentially the same kind of programme look at: Star Trek, Blue Peter, or Doctor Who. They've all had to do it.
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    EEEEhhh! WRONG! INCORRECT! Thanks for playing, but you only get the home game.

    Here's why.

    Back when Jim and Ricard passed on and Frank wasn't as involved, new characters had to be developed to fill in those empty holes. I could provide a big long list, but suffice to say, only Zoe, Rosita and Baby Bear (basically because David didn't have a regular character). Eric Jacobson has been doing above and beyond excellent work with Grover and Bert... Matt was hand picked by Jerry to help perform his characters, while getting his characters from the Muppet Show. And yes, some characters have been hard to recast... and some even retired. Not to mention that Joey and David share a unique chemistry that made performing the 2headed Monster just as fluid as when Jerry and Richard did it.

    New characters, even ones forced down everyone's throats don't tend to last long. When was the last time we saw Monty or Benny Rabbit? And Elmo... he's been around for 20+ years too. Kids KNOW when these characters are replaced, and more importantly longtime fans of the show. Heck, they replaced Gordon three times before going with the one they have now... Even Gabbi and Miles had different actors at some point. And those are the human cast members.

    Way I see it, would you want to watch a new cartoon with Bugs and Daffy played by someone else who does a good job, or characters vaugly like Bugs and Daffy but with different names and voice actors to take the place of them because they were "too old." If Big Bird leaves the street people will take notice. This isn't Sherlock Hemlock, Guy Smiley, or Sherri netherland... these are very important iconic characters that would leave a huge gap if they left.

    Besides, if they didn't recast a single soul, it truely WOULD be nothing but Elmo.
  5. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    My family & I were shopping at Babies'R'Us the other day, and as I was looking at the baby toys, my wife walked up with my Son in her arms, and he was holding a Big Bird beanie! She said he picked it off the peg and wouldn't let it go, so of course we bought it. I looked at the display where he found BB, and right beside him were Cookie Monster (MY favorite SS Muppet, I got him for myself, lol), and Elmo.

    My Son picked Big Bird! So to answer this threads' original question: NO.:D
    Anthony
  6. Redsonga

    Redsonga Active Member

    No, I don't think so. He still is just as a beloved symbol on clothing and in toys as far as I can tell :). It's a shame a lot of those toys don't get to Wal-Mart the way Elmo does because they might sell even better...
  7. zns

    zns Active Member

    Here are two things that I think speak for how Big Bird is still loved today.

    Whenever I go on Sesame Street's website and head for the video page, I have noticed something when I am making a search. Big Bird's number of pages leads up into the 40's while Elmo goes into the 30's somewhere.

    Another point is that a few days ago, I was at K-Mart and wondering through the electronics section. They had a very special display case for the new Wii games with Elmo and Cookie Monster. At the very tope of the display, Big Bird was at the very top with the Sesame Street sign greeting everyone. The other character's, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Oscar were all on the right side showing off the assortment of games and DVD's.

    I think that this goes to show that despite the fact that some character's do get popularity over one another at some point o another, nobody is ever forgottnen. And that is certainly lot the case with our fine-feathered friend. Caroll Spinney himself admits that he likes Elmo and thinks he's adorable. :wisdom::wisdom::wisdom:
  8. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I was volunteering at a carnival recently, working one of the games and one of the little kids was very pleased to get a Big Bird toy as a prize. He actually yelled, "BIG BIRD!" :wisdom: :)
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yes, but Caroll has ALSO said that Elmo has been like the new baby brother that you have to get used to sharing attention with.
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    A couple years ago, I remember seeing Fisher Price release a Big Bird/ Snuffy singing plush set. Think about that. Not only is Big Bird still an important member of the show, but they've been acknowledging his closest friend recently as well. In fact, I haven't seen this much Snuff stuff since the 80's.
  11. zns

    zns Active Member

    In the MuppetMindset interview with Kevin Clash, Elmo made a comment of saying that Big Bird is his best friend, along with his goldfish Dorothy. Obviously that's saying something.
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I thought Zoe and Grover were his best friends.
  13. Puckrox

    Puckrox Well-Known Member

    Yeah, when I was listening to Kevin's interview, I was surprised Elmo said Big Bird was his best friend but didn't mention Zoe. I mean, when I was in kindergarten, my best guy friend and I would pretend to be Elmo and Zoe at recess.
  14. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Aww, lol.

    But you know something? That's actually a good little (and very subtle) message to kids right there: it's okay for boys and girls to be best friends; I think that each generation of kid (particularly the 90s when Zoe was introduced) likes to make fun of kids whose best friends are of the opposite sex, "Oh, what is he/she, your boy/girlfriend? Nyaaah!"

    What's amusing is that it seems like I made friends easier with girls than I did boys, while conversely, my best friend, who is female, says she made more friends with guys than she did girls, lol.

    But, that's getting off topic a bit. It's interesting, because yes, so many sources often cite that it's Zoe (and Grover) who are Elmo's best friends; the SSU book even said that Zoe was specifically designed for her and Elmo to visually compliment each other (Elmo's red fur complimenting Zoe's red mouth, while her orange fur compliments his orange nose, etc).
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well, I find Big Bird to be a big brother figure to Elmo. I just find Grover to be a closer big brother whom Elmo seems to idolize as far as his careers go. And I personally think there's a LOT of lost potential in not having more skits with both of them in it. Zoe is more special... It's really evident in EIG, but they have the special "We were friends before we fell in love" bond... you can totally see them being together as teenagers, and beyond. I HATE to be the internet relationships meme guy on this, but watch EIG and TRY not to walk away from that.

    Maybe Big Bird is just Elmo's oldest and closest friend. He WAS there when Snuffy was revealed, and he was integral to that important scene. He does hang around with him when he gets the chance, and you can see they both have chemestry with each other, Big Bird seeing him as a little kid that needs his guidance (though not to the extent with Grover... really, we need Super Elmo to become Super Grover's sidekick).

    I especially like the Oscar being his grouchy grampa figure.
  16. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    That would make more sense, considering, as I mentioned earlier in the thread, that Caroll Spinney likened Elmo to the new little brother that you have to share the love and attention with.
  17. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Active Member

    I know that i love Big Bird as much as i do Elmo. They are both in the same amount of love as much as the older characters and the earlier 90's characters. But Big Bird has been one of my favorite character ever since i can remember.

    I even had a Big Bird stuff toy back in the late 80's but my dad threw it away. I've been told it was either torn or broke but I've also been told that my dad didn't like it that i might have it till the day i die.

    I've liked that Zoe now has two girl characters that i've always loved ever since they were introduced. Rosita and Abby. That's another thing that i think that Sesame Street has taught is that girls can have other girls as friends too. I've too had that problem is that i had a few boys that were my friend but i made more girls that liked being my friend too.
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I've said a bunch of times, there's something inorganic about Elmo and Abby. They're the most popular characters and all, but they seem so mechanic together. Elmo works wonders with Big Bird, Oscar, Zoe, Grover, and a couple others... Abby works great with some of the other characters... but when they're together, it's like Abby can't screw up her magic and Elmo can't emote. So basically, they just don't play off each other as well as they want them to.

    Let's say Disney made a project with Mickey Mouse and Pooh together, as they're the most popular and money making characters they have. They just can't play off each for various reasons, but it sells merchandise and keeps kids tuning in. I'd rather Mickey go with Goofy and Donald and Pooh with Tigger and Rabbit... characters they play off of that have some measurable tension or some sort of unique chemistry with. That's basically the best example I could think of...

    I mean, Abby and Elmo sort of work, but they seem more like they're together due to demographics. And really, Elmo has couple chemistry with Zoe... If I were a 13 year old girl, I'd draw humanized anime teenager Elmo and Zoe couple pieces on deviant art... that's how much like a couple they are. Abby seems like a friend of a friend of Elmo's and they just wind up being in the same place together.
  19. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I get what you're saying... there's no real chemistry that's developed between Elmo and Abby, and that can happen sometimes between characters or performers, like you said, they work well off of each other, but not together.

    But the greatest Elmo/Abby moment I've EVER seen was their appearance on Bonnie Hunt's unfairly short-lived daytime talkshow, where Abby accidentally turned Elmo green (again)... the look on Elmo's face when Abby shielded her eyes, and exclaimed "I can't look at him, he's hedious!" was TOO priceless. Elmo got 0wn3d in the face that day!


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