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  2. Sesame Street Season 49
    Sesame Street's 49th season officially began Saturday November 17 on HBO. After you see the new episodes, post here and let us know your thoughts.

Little things we've noticed

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by minor muppetz, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Something else I've realized. Again using Muppet Wiki's "what links here" feature to determine last appearances (or last known) of segments, seems like if I remember a certain classic Muppet insert airing (or hearing about one airing) between seasons 30-32, chances are good that that was the last time it aired on the show (of course there's also a few Ernie segments that aired several times between seasons 33 and 38). In fact, I don't really know off-hand if many pre-1990 Muppet segments aired multiple times during those seasons (I know the season two Rubber Duckie aired least twice in season 30, and I want to say that The Ballad of Casey McPhee aired at least twice during these three years but I could be wrong).

    The show has had so many inserts that, even with 130 episodes a year (and then decreasing the number of episodes AND devoting the last fifteen minutes to Elmo's World) that many are bound to not be seen for years even if they're not exactly banned (for lack of a less dramatic word) from showing again, there are some I view as classics that didn't air in the 1990s. I remember when I got the book Sesame Street Unpaved, it was the first time I'd heard of the sketch with The Count and Cookie Monster co-operating (though I had a Sesame Street Library book that contained pictures from this with dialogue, essentially making it a live-action comic based on the skit) and Grover's classic near and far routine (outside of the song Over, Under, Around, and Through), these two I hadn't remember seeing before but seeing them in Unpaved made me feel they are essential old segments (and maybe the fact that they were mentioned among the featured segments in the review at Muppet Central made me see them more as classics than they are). Looking at "what links here", I see that the latest episodes that Muppet Wiki lists them in are from seasons 20 and 21, respectively.

    Of course there's many segments I think of as classics (this use of "classic" meaning really well-known as opposed to from the early years) that stopped airing in the early 1990s, some I am surprised to see stopped airing long before they phased out stuff from the 1970s and 1980s. I was surprised to recently see that the last appearance of the Sesame Street News segment with Cookie Monster as Little Red Riding Hood was a season 24 episode, I feel like that's a real classic that I saw a lot (well, I did watch Sesame Street a lot in the early 1990s, my watching habits went up and down throughout the late-1990s), would have thought that aired more. Of course there are a lot of segments I recall seeing often that I feel I didn't see much if at all on the show in season 25 and beyond (I might have had some on video or certain anniversary specials) but have seen aired somewhat frequently during that time and I just missed the airings.

    Four segments that I'm not too surprised didn't air in the 1990s are the Monsterpiece Theater segments Upstairs, Downstairs, Me, Claudias, Chariots of Fur, and Ali Baba. Chariots of Fur is the only one that I really remember seeing as a child (though I feel I have a very slightly vague memory of seeing Alistair Cookie in the set from Upstairs, Downstairs). The first three didn't air after season 20 (I think the last noted appearance of Me, Claudias on the wiki is an episode from either season 18 or 19), while Ali Baba last aired in season 21. It makes sense for them to stop showing Me, Claudias (though they could have had Kevin Clash dub Elmo's dialogue) and Ali Baba (they'd have to reshoot the whole segment to remove the pipe, though I wonder if they could have still included the separate video footage of Ali Baba and the thieves), but aside from reshooting Alistair Cookie's scenes, I wonder if there's any further reason to stop showing the other two. They did reshoot some of Alistair Cookie's scenes, I wonder why not those two (actually, I wonder if they did redo those intros and just never aired the alternate versions).

    In fact Muppet Wiki currently only lists three episodes with Chariots of Fur, and these all come from episodes that somebody on the wiki had a video copy of (two of which aired on Noggin, but somebody had also taped one of those two episodes off PBS).

    I saw that pretty much all of the other 1980s Monsterpiece Theater segments aired frequently throughout the 1990s, but it seems like most of the early 1990s segments that Sesame Workshop hasn't officially put online have also only been in a few episodes altogether (it's a good thing somebody happened to record all of them).

    As I've said earlier, the show has so many segments that many are bound to not be shown for several years even if there's no reason to not show them, but I feel every Monsterpiece Theater segment could have easily been shown each year (probably more realistic than airing every Sesame Street News segment each year, though that would have been possible during the "130-episodes-a-season years").

    And I am a bit tired of bringing this up every time I talk about certain segments not airing after season 20 or whatever, but some of those segments could have been in the few season 20-23 episodes where the wiki does not have a complete rundown.
  2. MuppetSpot

    MuppetSpot Well-Known Member

    I just noticed that they used two different Green Anything Muppets. Also, the lead singer looks he’s puppeteer by Kevin or Matt
    wiley207 likes this.
  3. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    I think the 90’s is when the Green Anything Muppet started to have different shades/shapes.
  4. MuppetSpot

    MuppetSpot Well-Known Member

    I actually like how they started that, the original green anything muppet always reminds me of Sherlock Hemlock.
  5. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    I also noticed that Cerf provides some backing vocals in that song, too.

    He’s got a great 80’s rock voice.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    This could apply to both of these "Little Things We've Noticed" threads, but I've noticed that, more often than not, creature-based puppets like monsters and animals have already-attached legs and feet, that are rarely - if ever - seen on-camera anyway; whereas the more humanoid ones like the AMs and Whatnots and such hardly ever do.
    cjd874 likes this.
  7. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Cookie Monster seems to have a leitmotif whenever he eats now, much like how Snuffy does whenever he enters a scene.
  8. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I don't really care for it.
  9. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    Two things: first, does anyone else think that the Big Bird puppet looked kind of...depressed...in seasons 5 through 7? Maybe it's just me, but the droopy eyelids made him look like he was feeling down.

    Second, it seems like Sesame Street has been encouraging kids to call adults by their first names for nearly 50 years. None of the child-aged characters (Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Zoe), or any of the actual child actors, have called Bob "Mr. Johnson" or Maria "Mrs. Rodriguez." Obviously, Gabi and Miles address their parents as mom and dad, but Miles never called Maria and Luis "Mrs. Rodriguez" (same for Gabi towards Susan and Gordon). Heck, I don't think they ever had any scenes together.
    Froggy Fool likes this.
  10. MuppetSpot

    MuppetSpot Well-Known Member

    I just noticed this one today but, it looks like David Rudman is puppeteering Cookie but, Frank Oz is providing the vocals.
  11. MWoO

    MWoO Well-Known Member

    I think this was to keep kids from being confused. The adult characters called each other by first name, so all of the characters did. But if you look at Mr. Hooper, everyone called him Mr. Hooper.
  12. hooperfan

    hooperfan Well-Known Member

    I think that was out of respect for his character, since he was the elderly proprietor of the candy store
  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I think that's it, it's a subtle way of teaching kids respect for their elders. In the beginning, characters like Gordon, Susan, Bob, and especially Maria and David were a lot younger (and they were also progressive characters) and were regarded more like everyday friends for the kids - both on the street, and watching at home - so it probably wasn't much of a thought process to have these characters refered to by their first names.

    Mr. Hooper, on the other hand, was a respected elder in the community. Similarly, Mr. Handford was also a respected elder - a retired fireman who had bought Hooper's Store because he was tired of being retired and wanted something to do. They were treated almost more like parental figures, as opposed to their younger predesessor, Alan, who, like the aforementioned other humans, was seen more like a friend to the neighborhood kids rather than a parental figure.

    But again, the thing to remember too is that SS was a progressive, and somewhat subversive show, even from the beginning . . . some adults with that mindset actually prefer that children refer to them by their first names instead of Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so, despite it traditionally being the proper thing for children to do. It's sort of similar to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, how Scout refers to her own father by his first name, because she believed that children and adults should treat each other as equals.
  14. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    As a kid, I didn't really take in much about calling adults by their first name. Maybe it changed by the 1980s or 1990s. Aside from teachers and bosses (and by the time I started having jobs, all my bosses had us call them by first name), I didn't really call (or know to call) adults by Mr. or Mrs. and then their last name. I called my friends parents by their first names (though I kinda feel like some of them I never referred to by name at all).

    I used to think that when somebody was called Mr. or Mrs. that the name that followed was their last name. I remember asking my fourth grade teacher what her last name was, and was surprised to learn that the name we called her was her last name. I was also surprised when the Dinosaurs toys came out, so often BP Richfield was referred to as Mr. Richfield, so I was surprised to see him listed on the packaging as BP Richfield.

    Of course on Sesame Street, characters are sometimes called Mr. but still called by their first name. In the episode where they celebrate Biff's birthday, Elmo calls him Mr. Biff. I want to say there are more examples like this but can't think of any off-hand.

    And while he's a child, Snuffy is often called Mr. Snuffleupagus as often as he is called Snuffy, whether by Big Bird or another child character, or by the adults. Even though his first name is Aloyisious (though it seems he wasn't given a first name until much later). Even though they are best friends, Big Bird usually calls him either Mr. Snuffleupagus or Snuffy (well, Snuffy often refers to him as Bird instead of Big Bird, though he usually doesn't include a mister with that).

    In terms of elder characters being called mister, I've noticed there's Mr. Macintosh (though it seems he's sometimes called Mr. Mac), but then there's also Willy, who everyone calls by his first name. Uncle Wally is also called by his first name by everybody, but everyone also includes the "Uncle" part in his name (not just Bob).
  15. LittleJerry92

    LittleJerry92 Well-Known Member

    One thing I found amusing in the Pino vs Grover skit is how they accidentally keep bumping into the plant. :laugh:
  16. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I first heard about there being two Countesses in the book Sesame Street Unpaved. I think I was more vaguely aware of The Count having a girlfriend, didn't know there were two (and in the years since Unpaved, I learned there were more Countesses over the years). I didn't like that the book only pictured von Dahling, there was another image of The Count and a Countess and I couldn't really tell if that was the same one pictured on the von Dahling section. I get why they must look like a female version of The Count, but do so many Countesses have to be blonde?

    But back then, I figured Countess von Dahling was used more often than Countess von Backwards, mainly because von Backwards seems more gimmick-y. It wasn't until those season 12 episodes leaked and I learned about von Dahling's introduction (which reveals the book was wrong about her being one of The Count's girlfriends since she's his fifth cousin) and realized I barely knew of any of her appearances all these years.

    And then recently, after seeing some wiki discussions about the Countesses, I learned that only two scripts refer to a countess as Countess von Backwards, then they just use "The Countess" for all Countesses after. Fans had thought she was the one to appear in "I Could Have Counted All Night", I figured it was due to her being referred to by name (even though I couldn't remember hearing it there) but I guess her name was incorrectly tagged there. It's been determined that the Countess who appears in the video Rock & Roll! is von Backwards since her laugh is accompanied by a wolf howl there.

    But it is interesting that both characters were acknowledged at all like this in Sesame Street Unpaved. For years the fans have had limited info on them, and the book provided the majority of information we had. Of course I'm not sure what all archive info the author looked at, the performers and others involved could have been the ones to bring them up as well. But here we're dealing with one Countess who seems to have primarily existed only in season 12 (I checked some "what links here" and didn't see it list any episodes from season 13, the first season the wiki has full rundowns for) and another who may have only appeared in two episodes total, both from the same season. Maybe they should have been in the "whatever happened to..." section (shortly after getting the book I wondered if that was the case with one of them which would explain two girlfriends - one just stopped appearing so they could easily give The Count a new girlfriend without having to do a break-up episode or worry about fans wondering), the characters section did include a few other characters (Bruno, Little Bird) who I was sure were no longer on the show whom I wondered why they were listed before the "whatever happened to..." pages.
  17. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I know one possible working title for the show was 123 AVENUE B, but that was rejected that it made the show seem too New York-centric, and wouldn't relate to the masses across the country believing Sesame Street could very well be a street in their own neighborhood . . . but honestly, they really engaged in quite a bit of New York-centric dialogue and references for decades that wouldn't necessarily click with kids or maybe even some adults who don't live in the area and/or aren't familiar with it. For example, I know there's at least two occasions where a character makes a remark about "Flying over Kennedy." As a kid, I didn't get they were talking about the JFK airport in Queens.
  18. cjd874

    cjd874 Well-Known Member

    Not to mention the times when characters mentioned taking a bus or the subway uptown or downtown...what about the viewers that lived in rural areas with little to no mass transportation? Looking at the Season 10 outlines on Muppet Wiki that have surfaced lately, there are many inserts that take place in Central Park, Chinatown, City Island, and other parts of NYC that not all viewers might have known or related to.
  19. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I mean, there was time from when the show was created to it being an established thing that they were allowed to rethink some of those choices.
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I'm guessing this photo was taken when they were taping Big Bird's Birthday, because that looks like the stand-in prop sign that Cookie tries to eat after he had devoured the lamppost.

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