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Sesame Street Old School DVD's: Not For Kids

Discussion in 'Sesame Merchandise' started by Brooklyn, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Again, not all kids live in the nice suburbs. A lot of kids still don't have ideal places to hang out. To remove something because it's doesn't comply with PC or "safe" standards does not coincide with the real world. And sometimes kids want to see their own experiences reflected on TV, not an idealized view of the world that basically tells them "your world is not pretty enough to be seen."

    And as a child, I remember being shocked if I saw something old or unexpected on TV. But I grew to enjoy most things. And I'm glad my parents didn't instantly remove them because I didn't enjoy them on first sight. Kids today are growing up with the idea that if they've never heard of something, it must be no good, and it should be removed from sight. Believe me, I have seen it, it's not pretty.

    I guess when it comes down to it for me, the show today my have the same name, but it just no longer represents the things I stand for. And it's not a generational thing. Some things, in fact many things, are still true no matter how much time has past. I'm not going to trust something based on a name or previous reputation. And I'm not going to give up my values (that they helped instill in the first place) just because the show has changed theirs.

    It's like breaking away from your parents or mentor and becoming an adult. At some point, I have to decide to say, "Thank you for all you have taught me, I will be faithful to many of the teachings you have given me over the years. But I am now an adult, and can think for myself. I recognize that sometimes you are wrong. And I will not follow you blindly. And I will raise my children based on what I think is right and not assume other people (or the TV) will do it for me." :)
  2. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    That's a good point, but that's not what I meant at all.

    Obviously kids want to see their own environment, and I'm aware that not everyone lives in the suburbs. That's the whole reason that Sesame Street is set in a downtown urban setting. But that's completely different than encouraging kids to climb through steel pipes in a construction yard. (Have you seen the sketch I was referring to? I was pretty shocked when I saw it). If some kids have no where else to play except a construction yard, that's really sad and I wish it wasn't the case, but I think Sesame Street is the last place that should be providing an example of that.
  3. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member


    Yes I know what sketch you mean. And I didn't mean to imply you thought everyone lived in the suburbs. I apologize if it seemed that way. :)

    But I still stand by what I say. They weren't exactly encouraging it, they were reflecting reality. If you don't have anywhere else to go, a TV show telling you it's wrong isn't going to be of much help. Personally, if I were in such a situation and I only saw a more middle class setting on TV, I'd start to feel a little left out. (I've already felt that way when seeing upper class settings lol).

    And to be honest, I don't find the current show's set all that urban. It's more like "urban chic." Like "yay, it's fun to live in the inner city!" Well, it's not always fun, and the older versions of the show reflected that much more. It featured trash on the street and traffic and grouchy neighbors (who weren't Oscar). It was more real, which allowed to ways to encourage change, like picking up trash.

    You're absolute right, they shouldn't encourage playing in a construction site. They could discourage it, and perhaps encourage cleaning up park areas, but in order do that they'd have to actually show a construction site.

    Now, the set is closer to Barney's school yard. And the in between segments don't channel much of the inner city either (again, unlike the older versions of the show). Basically instead of showing Sesame Street as a charming but realistic world that we could improve and change, they're now showing Sesame Street as a place that's pretty much already perfect.

    I'm just going to say it, Sesame Street ended around 1992. Stepford Street took its place. And I'm not just saying that, because I'm a classic fan, hehe.

    I think the quote I mentioned above about the divorce episode proves that they have been moving further and further away from targeting inner city children. Instead of focusing on an "inner city" issue like absent fathers, they chose a "middle class issue" like divorce. Even though the show's own producer fought against the middle class idea.

    And if you do live near a safe playground, in most cases kids won't be running off to a construction yard as an alternative. (And if some do, that is the parent's fault).
  4. Muppet Newsgirl

    Muppet Newsgirl Active Member

    First of all, let me just say that the disclaimer is, in my eyes, ridiculous. The belief that kids won't understand the material is a blanket judgement, and is kind of patronizing as well. When I was a little kid watching SS in 1990, I saw some of the 70s-era material, and I understood it just fine. Saying that kids won't understand things that happened before their time is an insult to their intelligence.

    The thing is, kids are usually a lot smarter and much more resilient than many adults are willing to give them credit for. You don't help a kid grow by just cocooning them in a falsely cheery world.

    One more comment and I'll hop off the soapbox - that woman who got the box set for her one-year-old: for heaven's sake, lady, the kid shouldn't be watching television at that age. Sitting down and reading to the kid is much more effective.
  5. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I agree, there's this huge myth building up that kids can't handle things. The show is not respecting children by saying things like that. It's treating them like less than human beings who need to be spoon fed everything. As if adults are so much smarter (heh). Contrary to popular belief, this country in my opinion does not treat its children with the proper respect or care in many ways. They we complain when the kids grow up ignorant or unstable.

    Kids are growing up being pampered and prevented from really learning things, even apparently by "child experts." I love Psychology, but it's an extremely subjective field. And you can never say one theory is absolutely true for every single kid. People aren't like that, even when they're young. It's great to debate theories, but they don't necessarily reflect real life. So to say "kids are having longer or shorter attention spans" or "kids aren't interested in older shows" is far too simplistic.

    It's true, one year is old is way too young. It's just so hard for parents these days. They have to work all the time and have less and less family to help them out. It's a symptom of a much larger problem unfortunately.
  6. Muppet Newsgirl

    Muppet Newsgirl Active Member

    Well, true, parents do have much less spare time on their hands - but it's not the amount of time you have that matters, but what you do with that amount of time.

    Had to drop this in, 'cause you know me - Richard Hunt said at Jim's memorial, "Henson's Muppets spoke to the part of kids that was grownup, and to the part of grownups that was childlike."

    That shows that Jim and the gang knew full well that children were intelligent human beings who needed to be taken seriously - but that disclaimer at the start of the old school set starts hinting the opposite.

    "As if adults were smarter..." very true, heralde. In my experience, kids aren't stupid - but I know of several adults who are.
  7. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    That's true, it's good to make the time you have with your child count. I get the impression parents do just trust that kids TV shows will be adequate. I don't think we can afford to have that trust nowadays. And that's part of the reason Sesame Street was made accessible to parents in the first place, so they could feel involved.

    Absolutely, I used that Richard quote on another Sesame Street awhile ago. That is what Sesame Street represents to me. And if it isn't following that now, then something is wrong there, not with the fans who "won't accept change". Times don't change as much as we think they do. And if something is wrong, we need to say something, not accept the way things are.
  8. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member




    Think we're taking this a bit to far.


    Playing in a construction site has nothing to do with where one lives.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Once again, that was a joke on my part. Far too often have I seen first time parents comment on how their one year olds don't want to sit down and listen to "Sesame Road" or "Born to Add." As if a one year old understands the world around them, let alone Beatles and Billy Idol music parodies.

    But I have to say, I'm in between what everyone is saying. Herald, the Stepford Street comment really hit the nail on the head, and here's why. In the early 70's, what they were doing was bold. Almost an outsider movement. But as time passed, they got more and more excepted into the mainstream, to the point where they were welcomed by the establishment. And needless to say, when you're accepted into the establishment, you become the establishment. The Simpsons is another perfect example of this. A show once denounced by educators and religious people has been accepted by them (to the point where I hear tell a cult of religious Christian followers actually dress up as Flanders when they go to Church).

    However, anything where there are kids playing around unsupervised would seriously be frowned upon. While SS isn't as realistic as it used to be...well... if it were realistic Big Bird wouldn't leave his nest without Gordon, Maria, Bob, and several others having to watch him. We do live in infuriatingly scary times. The "watch out for strangers" thing has now become "everyone's out to molest you, even people you know." And that's the lightest thing. I'd kill to see SS tackle that sort of thing, but how would you do it without kids being paranoid?


    I still stand by my earlier comments that a lot of filmed skits may not work just on the dated level, but when it comes to certain animations and post 1973 muppet skits (when the characters looked quite the same as they do today) there shouldn't be too much trouble. Sure, certain skits may raise a red flag, though. Look at the Sinister Sam skit in which he has an "itchy trigger finger." I'm surprised that one even made it in even at the time, having a large reference to guns. But several things would still work.

    The only thing that would keep little kids from liking these box sets is probably a lack of Elmo, which they take as a given (see the thread, "the Episodes without EW didn't go over too well"). Other than that, if you have kids and talk to them about it, there shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    I will meet you half way. it is silly to think that kids would be bothered by Jazz numbers... but then again, a great deal of adults I know find it creepy. :eek: That's not to say Pinball Number count or (better yet) Bud Luckey's number song animations would fit just fine in the new show.

    But what it all comes down to is semantics, conflicting studies, and mainstream vs individual tastes. I'm not doubting for a minute there are children that would love to see older, EW-less SS episodes. I mean, a lot of classic fans here weren't even born in the 70's or 80's (while a lot of us were there at the beginning. i was about 1982, so I'm about halfway in). But there are kids that do like Elmo, and that's fine. It's the overall educational value of the show that bugs me a little, but it seems SW really wants to get off the track and do things the old fashioned way. Problem is, will the EW fans let them?
  10. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    You're entitled to your opinion, and perhaps I got really into the writing, lol. But I don't take back what I said. :)

    Well, it is true that anyone can play in a construction site if they really wanted to. However, the standard of living can have a lot to do with it. And I'm not putting anyone down by saying that. :)

    That's true DrTooth, the same thing sort of happened to The Simpsons. One of the draw backs of success I guess! lol

    All I can do is repeat what I've been saying. Kids are young, but they should not be underestimated.

    But I just wanted to say I think this discussion has been very interesting and everyone's contributions have been great. ;)
  11. Foodie

    Foodie Active Member

    I'm disappointed that the exploding frog cartoon didn't make either of the Old School sets ( that I'm aware of anyway ). Anyone know what I'm referring to? :smirk:
  12. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    Let's not forget Jim did not create the show. He might of had a hand on the muppet aspect of the show after all he created them but it was preety much the brainchild of Joan G. Cooney and the CTW as it was known as.
  13. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    That's a good point and we do often forget that. Though, at the same time, the people involved with Sesame Street have also described the creative process as a collaboration, and that they couldn't have done it without Jim and his vision. :)
  14. Muppet Newsgirl

    Muppet Newsgirl Active Member

    Too true - notice I said "Jim and the gang," rather than just Jim. And Jim worked with a fairly large gang.
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member


    Yeah. But then again, Jim did help to shape a lot of the things on it. I mean, I recall hearing that J.G.C. didn't particularly like the Baker falling dowwn the stairs with cakes bit that much, but Jim pulled for it. So it's a bit of both worlds. Though, honestly, SS wouldn't have been the success it was without Jim Henson and the Muppets. Or as Ed Sullivan called him Jim Janson and the Moffits.
  16. Brooklyn

    Brooklyn New Member

  17. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    I don't think we need to keep posting these article to keep emphasising the differences between today's and yesterday's SS.


    Well if she was just being commical then I guess it's no big deal.

    Sorry.
  18. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    People seem to be making a big deal out of old Sesame Street not being for kids. The Old School sets have disclaimers, but they don't say that they are not for kids, just that the sets are meant for adults and may not fit today's educational needs. And those disclaimers only appear in introductions for the first episodes on both sets. I didn't see it written anywhere on the packaging or in the booklets.

    I mean, how could a show that includes a grouchy animal in a trash can, an overeating monster whose diet includes eating pipes, an incompetent waiter, a suspicious-looking stranger, a guy who paints numbers on other peoples property, and a baker who always falls down the stairs not be suitable for kids?;)
  19. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    "On the first episode, Oscar seems irredeemably miserable — hypersensitive, sarcastic, misanthropic. (Bert, too, is described as grouchy; none of the characters, in fact, is especially sunshiney except maybe Ernie, who also seems slow.) “We might not be able to create a character like Oscar now,” she (Executive Producer of Sesame Street)said."

    Unbelievable...well that is their loss and unfortunately ours too (and I mean kids and adults). Sesame Street is no longer allowed to have grouchy sarcastic characters? They all have to be "chipper" and sunshine? Stepford Street, I rest my case. After all, we can't let kids think it's normal to be angry and sarcastic now and again. We have to convince them to be cheerful and oblivious every moment of the day no manner how hard life is (and life can be hard even for 3 year olds unfortunately).

    And apparently it would also be wrong to create deep, complex characters for children. How foolish we ever were to think that was a good idea. :rolleyes:

    "Cookie Monster was never a righteous figure. His controversial conversion to a more diverse diet wouldn’t come until 2005"

    Again, incorrect. And it's not that hard to check these facts.

    "The harshness of existence was a given, and no one was proposing that numbers and letters would lead you “out” of your inner city to Elysian suburbs. Instead, “Sesame Street” suggested that learning might merely make our days more bearable, more interesting, funnier. It encouraged us, above all, to be nice to our neighbors and to cultivate the safer pleasures that take the edge off — taking baths, eating cookies, reading. Don’t tell the kids."

    Well, I did appreciate this part of the article. Sesame Street (as opposed to Stepford) showed the world the way it really was (granted in a fanciful manner), warts and all. And yet, offered some hope. :)

    Now I definitely know which SS DVDs I'll be showing (and not showing) to my kids. ;)
  20. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I enjoy reading them.:) I liked the old Street. It's a shame that very little of it exists for my sister's kids. Just, "Elmo likes this," and ,"Elmo wants that!" :rolleyes: I see no problem with allowing members to post links that pertain to the thread title. You can always just skip them. ;)

    I do find the disclaimer on the Old School sets odd, but I get it. That Sesame reflects a different time with different ideas on what kids should see. And I fully understand dropping the pipe bit with Cookie Monster. I remember when the Mr. Potato Head toy lost his pipe. Different general value-system. But back then there seemed to be more mutual love on the street, not just Elmo's self love. I haven't seen any of the new Abby shows. The character is beautifully crafted and translates easily to product likeness. I just hope she won't be another self-obsessed scene stealer.


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