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  4. 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.

Sesame Street Special "Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas"

Discussion in 'Season 47' started by Phillip, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    Special - Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas
    HBO Premiere: Friday November 25, 2016
    PBS Premiere: Wednesday November 22, 2017

    This Friday don't miss an all-new one hour Sesame Street Christmas special on HBO. "Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas" will premiere on Friday November 25 at 7 pm eastern, 6 pm central.

    This holiday special goes back in time to show how Elmo's ancestors--not to mention those of Grover, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster--helped transform "the most unfriendly street in town" into the bright, kind, music-filled place it is today.

    "Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas" features guest stars Audra McDonald, Zosia Mamet and Jim Gaffigan (as Santa Claus).



    If you saw "Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas", please like this post and share your thoughts below.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  2. MikaelaMuppet

    MikaelaMuppet Well-Known Member

    Will this be airing on PBS at some point?
  3. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    I'd expect "Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas" to receive a 2017 DVD release and likely air on PBS next year.
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  4. MikaelaMuppet

    MikaelaMuppet Well-Known Member

    Thank you! I wanted to ask because I don't get HBO.
  5. antsamthompson9

    antsamthompson9 Well-Known Member

    This special was very nice. The songs were good, Grover and Mr. Johnson were funny, the costumes were very good. It was nice to see Ernie in a prominent role in this special since he didn't get a line last season.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Structurally, I felt the special was a tad clumsy at times, particularly in the beginning, but it seemed to pick up as the story progressed. And it was an interesting angle that Elmo's Daddy took in making up the story as he went along, rather than this being another flashback of what really happened that we often see in holiday specials. Not to mention steering away from a cliched question such as how Santa delivers all those presents in one night, to an unexpected one like why we leave cookies for Santa.

    The story, as with Season 46 as a whole, was really pushing the kindness factor, but you know what I realized? SST's curriculum seems to really hone in on certain educational goals every few years: it wasn't that long ago we were talking about how SST was really pushing STEM education (but then again, the whole country was on a STEM kick, because apparently not enough kids were aspiring to be engineers, and our future as a species was endangered because of it); and of course, there was the whole health food kick about ten years ago, so much so that we ended up with that horrific Veggie Monster rumor that's still won't quite refuse to die.

    The pacing felt a little disjointed at times, and the constant flipping back and forth between being taped in the studio and use of chromakey was distracting.

    As for the characters, everyone was pretty good: I liked how Mr. Johnson had a big role that wasn't about feuding with Grover, and I liked that our loveable, furry, blue pal played a central role in the story. I also really liked Smudge/Becky, and this was definitely one of Leslie's better vocal performances, as both the voice and accent really fit the character well (and did anyone happen to catch her on-screen cameo in the beginning)? I know I've been saying for the past few years that Big Bird, sadly, just isn't sounding quite the same . . . well, Oscar's catching up now - there's an almost listless quality in his voice now, he was even lacking the usual gruffness throughout. :(

    As for the guest stars, I really only enjoyed Zosia Mamet as Bella, if only because she actually served a purpose to the story, in going from unfriendly town to unfriendly town with Holly to try to boost Christmas cheer. Speaking of which, Holly was an amazing, light-up puppet, I loved her. Other than that, Audra McDonald's appearance really added nothing to the special, and in fact, if she wasn't even in it, she wouldn't have been missed. Likewise, as much as I love Jim Gaffigan, he wasn't the best Santa SST's ever had (and I thought Kevin James as Groovy Santa in ELMO'S CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN was awkward), and in fact, I just didn't sense a whole lot of enthusiasm on his part.

    Other things I can say is I liked the inclusion of a few, subtle mythology nods, such as Oscar's previous trashcan setup being used for the story, as well as the reference to "C is for Cookie." One jarring detail that I just can't help but bring up is the interior to Elmo's apartment makes no sense in relation to the layout of 123: Elmo's bedroom door leading to the hallway would mean the hallway (and anything that may be across the hall) would be cantilevered over the Arbor. I also wasn't expecting the interesting little twist that Smudge/Becky was actually Mr. Johnson's daughter all along. And I saw each individual extra actually got credited in the end . . . new union regulation or something?

    For what it's worth, it's not exactly a masterpiece, it's still a pretty average/decent SST Christmas special just the same. Ryan Dillon continues to amaze me as Elmo - I think this is perhaps the most his Elmo has seemed like Kevin Clash yet, his growth into the character is astounding.

    And whoa. Nina's got some legs.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
    The Count likes this.
  7. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I might write something up about this for the Mindset, but I liked it enough. Could've been funnier, but there was some funny stuff (Bert's Yule log, for example). The songs were fine too; I didn't expect there to be so few.

    I was half-expecting there would be some cockamamy explanation how "Smudge" was like Abby's ancestor or something. All the new puppets/costumes/sets looked great though. Notice the new Subway sign; made to more one of the ones you'd see actually down in the subway tracks.

    The one thing that bothered me, that D'Snowth brought up, was the switching between set and green-screen stuff. It seems like this was a time-constrained production and they couldn't get all they wanted with the Victorian set. The jarring thing was the different frame rates and looks; I don't know how they could let that slide.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, I meant to say this: Ryan's Elmo is top-notch in this. I don't know how or why, but his Elmo kind of feels more "real" than Kevin's, no offense. Elmo really feels like an authentic child in this.

    *Leslie, not Stephanie.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
    The Count likes this.
  8. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    I'm interested/intrigued in what the Victorian setting and classic SST characters in said Victorian setting looked like, seems like there was some potential for expanding the street beyond what we're normally accustomed to these days.
  9. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I'll try to explain to explain the looks of the characters. They pretty much look the same:
    • Elmo looks pretty much the same, but with a slightly bigger nose that's a lighter shade of orange. He also has more a head of hair, under his hat.
    • Bert just has a thick, handlebar mustache and Ernie a pair of mutton chops
    • Cookie Monster also just has a thick handlebar mustache
    • Grover has a slightly bigger nose, a lighter shade of pink, and blue eyelids.
    • Oscar has a flattened hairdo, wearing a Scrooge-like outfit, with a pair of bifocals. He's referred to as "Oscar the Malcontent" in this.
    • Mr. Johnson has a constable outfit, with a much longer mustache
    • Big Bird and the Two-Headed Monster are the same, just with more period-appropriate outfits
    The Count likes this.
  10. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Thank you. Why did I type Stephanie? At least I was still within my editing timeframe to correct that.
  11. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks Shane. Heh, "Oscar the Malcontent".
    BTW: Was :batty: in the Victorian era scenes as well?
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Just once, when all five of Holly's lights lit up to everyone's excitement.
  13. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    I see Leslie made a cameo with her dog Newhart during the opening song:

    I agree, I love Kevin's Elmo, he was cute and often funny but Ryan's Elmo has a much greater range of emotions. Now, I don't know if that has more to do with the writing or Ryan's performance, but either way, the character has really started to become more rounded in a way he hasn't been in almost 20 years, maybe even more so than he was twenty years ago. I guess it's kind of down to the two performers personalities: Kevin was sweet and charming, and that shined through when he did Elmo, but Ryan has kind of this childlike energy and silliness to him, and I think that's what we see when he performs the character.
  14. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    dwayne1115 and Phillip like this.
  15. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I also forgot to mention that this was perhaps Eric's greatest performance as Grover yet, he's grown so much into the character that there's hardly any noticeable difference between his and Frank's Grover. His Bert has definitely grown as well.
  16. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I don't think the Veggie Monster thing is around as much anymore. I think the YT stuff ("Share it Maybe," the Crumby Pictures stuff) sort of erased that from the public perception.

    And I noticed that about Caroll too. His BB and Oscar in this sounded very weak. I hope he can make it to season 50 like they wanted.
    Phillip likes this.
  17. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    There's still an occasional troll out there from time to time who will try to bring it back to people's attention, which is why I said it still won't quite refuse to die. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly nowhere near as problematic as it was there for a while, but it's still out there in some respect.
  18. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    Yeah. It seems like a lot of us have the same problem. Still it's a pain to have to wait a year. I still have yet to see the Halloween special. I don't know why Sesame Workshop won't eventually put those on their You Tube channel. After all, they did start to upload the new Furchester Hotel eps. *sigh*
    cahuenga likes this.
  19. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

  20. MuppetSpot

    MuppetSpot Well-Known Member

    I saw the special recently I like the used of Mr. Johnson and The 2-Head Monster, who performed Joey's half, but, overall it was a pretty good special.

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