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Sesame Street to Introduce HIV-Positive Muppet

Discussion in 'Sesame Worlds' started by Phillip, Jul 11, 2002.

  1. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Well-Known Member

    Oh no, gotta disagree here, pumpkin pie needs to be home made (well, from the can of pumpkin mix anyway-- but with way more cinnamon than they call for on the can) so you can eat warm from the oven with the whip cream melting into the crevices in the pie....
  2. trekkie1701E

    trekkie1701E Well-Known Member

    Well ... yes w/exceptions. I have found that the quality of pumpkin pie differs between some Marie C restaurants. Some will over-do it on the cinamon and/or nutmeg, while others are "perfect." But, I agree, homemade pumpkin pie is "always" the best.

    My grandma is diabetic, and along w/pumpkin pie, she also makes a "mean" sugar free low fat cheesecake. It is awesome!

    OK... Enough dessert talk for me tonight.

    How did we get from a discussion on an HIV positive muppet to debating about desserts, anyway?:)

  3. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Well-Known Member

    I think it comes under the heading of blowing off steam and injecting a little levity into a tense situation. Anyone got a penguin we can toss around?
  4. radionate

    radionate Well-Known Member

    I know I'm all fresh out here. The local bars have outlawed Penguin Tossing.

    (That's a really funny joke if you think about it):D
  5. EmmyMik

    EmmyMik Well-Known Member

    Wait, we have a band?

  6. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Well-Known Member

    Why of course, The Electric Mayhem
  7. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member


    What a nice avatar you have.:)
  8. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Ok so enough of this idle culinary related chit chat, i am interested in feedback to some questions being pondered :-

    How do you think a HIV positive Muppet should be introduced into the South African Sesame Street ?

    Do you think the Muppet should be any specific color or race, or would it be better if she was a 'whatever' and was neither one nor the other ?

    Should the character stay in the show permanently, or just come in for the storyline and then fade out ?

    Should they ever show this character dying or getting more ill, or should they just use it to make the point that the puppet has 'got' HIV. Yes, i know that not everyone contracts full AIDS or dies from HIV .... just looking at possibilities.
  9. matleo

    matleo Well-Known Member

    I imagine she'll be a monster or 'what not' character. I also imagine she'll be part of the regular cast. I think it actually states that last part in one of the articles. how will she be introduced? Well she is an orphan. I suppose like most SS characters she'll probably wander in from nowhere. Who knows?

  10. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    So if she's going to be a part of the regular cast, do they keep the storyline running permanently or do they just find out she has HIV, do the educational bit, then just have her become a regular character, returning to it from time to time. I know thats often how it is in real life (nothing happening for years and then it developing) but that wouldn't make sense for kids because they need some consistency and by the time it came around again (if it did) many would have fogotten whats supposed to be happening in the first place.

    I agree a 'whatnot' - maybe purple or something.
  11. Gonzo

    Gonzo Well-Known Member

    I personally think this is a great idea for the South Africa production of Sesame Street---in a nation where almost 30% of the women have contracted HIV, there are millions of children born with HIV who have to live with that, and millions of OTHER children who will be their friends or enemies.

    If you think about the American production of Sesame Street, we've gotten to know Linda Bove (deaf, Barkley's owner, Bob's girlfriend), Tara (in a wheelchair, but still liked the dance class) and various guest stars (Ray Charles, Itzhak Perlman etc) and other regulars with different abilities/disabilities than the "mainstream." And there are FAR fewer Americans who are deaf or wheelchair-bound than there are living with HIV or AIDS in South Africa.

    I think this is a great move, that shouldn't be tied up with sexuality...and I don't think they should "kill" the Muppet off after a few seasons. I think the emphasis should be that this is a disease that so many of these children will have to live with, and they can still play and learn and grow with the other children just fine...

    And they shouldn't have the Muppet represent any particular race...that's just an ENORMOUS can of worms in South Africa....HELLO....I would imagine some sort of bright colorful monster would be the best route to go.

    That's it.

  12. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Well-Known Member

    Actually, Luke, I think that would make sense. Sesame Street, in the US anyway, often covers a topic and moves on, but touches on it again from time to time. When the hurricane hit, Big Bird would not go inside and seek shelter without his picture of Mr. Hooper. That touched on Big Bird's continued feelings of loss. I gather the idea is to introduce the character, do some educational stuff on tolerance and accpetance of people with HIV, and have the character be a regular part of the cast. Sesame Street in the US has that little girl who uses a wheel chair much of the time. In her first episode we learned why and some of her thoughts on the matter. The wheel chair is still there and is not ignored, but it is not a constant topic. That is only fair. If the message is 'people with HIV' are people, we need to see them being people. If this Muppet is only shown during discussions of HIV, Sesame will not be doing a proper job of showing that people with HIV have lives beyond HIV. I'm not saying that very well, but hopefully someone can step in and help me out here. Kids do need consistency, but they do not have to see the same thing all the time. If the character were to suddenly be HIV- that would be a huge problem and confuse kids. But if the character is a child and behaves like a child and has the same interests as other children, but is also HIV+ kids will make sense of that. Big Bird doesn't have to talk to his Granny Bird every week and he doesn't have to go roller skating or put on a pretend game show every week. Kids understand those things when they happen and they know they are things Big Bird enjoys. Routine is good, it makes kids feel safe and gives them a sense of control because they can predict what will come next. But everything does not have to be exactly the same everyday.

    I can't speak to how the Muppet will be introduced or how I think she ought to be introduced. I've never seen the South African Sesame Street and I am not very familiar with the cultural conventions of that country. I tend to agree with Matt, she'll be a monster-ish Muppet who just arrives. But that is based on my knowledge of the US Sesame Street.

    Jamie-- really? you like the new avatar? Well go figure! Thanks!:D
  13. BlueFrackle

    BlueFrackle Well-Known Member


    I havent been following this thread real close.

    But why does it have to be a Girl ?

    To find out some more about Takalani Sesame there is a Four Page Magazine Article on my site -


    Just scroll down and click the Link, Its all images so it may take a while.

    see ya
  14. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member


    I think they have said officially that it's going to be a female Muppet, so it came from Sesame.


    Great points !!!! I don't think anyone could have said those things better, made perfect sense !
  15. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member


    The reports I have heard say the character will be an upbeat female Muppet around Elmo's age. All of this is similar to what you have stated, but of course you have the media factor and here in the US. They frequently get the specifics wrong, although this seems to be correct.

    I feel the character's color should be a cool calming one - maybe a green or blue, but any color would really do. I hope she's a monster as well.

    I don't think they should phase her out or have her die on the show. That was never the point of this character. I have to admit that I do have some problems with this being a Muppet as opposed to a real child who is positive. I really think that would be the best rout and very few people could really complain about or condemn a kid. I would hope the little one to be moderately healthy. I also think that other kids with diseases could come on the show in the future [within reason - this isn't a show about diseases].

    As for showing the character sick - definitely not. I think it would be important to show that she had days where she didn't feel very well or some when she couldn't come out and play, but I'd stop it there.
  16. MuppetQuilter

    MuppetQuilter Well-Known Member

    Thanks Luke, glad it made sense!

    While I have some issues with the idea of a Muppet being sick-- we have covered the Muppets are made of foam and imagination and not subject to the same mortality as humans thing-- I can see a benefit to doing it this way in South Africa.

    One of the main reasons Sesame Workshop is doing this is because of the amount of misunderstanding and prejudice that surrounds HIV in South Africa. A child could be ignored and fall vicitim to those same problems. It could, in fact, make life hard on the actual child as the entire nation would know s/he was HIV+. A child also comes with the real possiblity that s/he could become ill and I agree with others who have said the reality of AIDS is not appropriate for any Sesame Street. Because Muppets are immortal, this little monster will be eternally HIV+ and never develop AIDS. This allows the story to continue for years and years. It will allow the character to continue to encourage understanding until AIDS and HIV are a thing of the past. Finally, how much attention did any of us really pay to the humans on Sesame Street? My daughter can name pretty much every Muppet on Sesame Street and most of the TMS cast (down to background folk like Uncle Deadly) but I have never once heard her refer to Maria, Gordon, Gabby or any of the other humans. I think a Muppet will do a better job of getting the message out. Given the state of things in South Africa, there isn't much time to waste.

    Now, IF at some point in the future Sesame Workshop were to tackle HIV in the US, then I would argue for an HIV+ child who was healthy. There are plenty out there. I think here, where the problem is less common, a human would work just fine and would keep our idealized, immortal concept of Muppets in tact. Now, before anyone gets upset-- I KNOW there are no plans to do anything related to HIV or AIDS on the US Sesame Street. I know a lot of people are strongly opposed to the idea. I respect that view, though I feel differently.

    I don't know why the character is female. Perhaps the powers that be felt a girl would be more sympathetic? Gender roles are, if anything, more polarized and institutionalized in South Africa than in the States, so I'm sure it was not an arbitrary choice. It could be that the show already has a large number of male characters and they needed some equity. It could be that social conventions make it harder to attack a woman. There are all those annoying stereotypes of women as weaker and in need of protection-- maybe they are trying to use some of that to their advantage in some way. It's an interesting question.

    BTW, there was a news story in London earlier this week about an HIV+ little girl in Africa (not South Africa, another AIDS-raveged nation). She is three, but due to illness and poverty, she is the size of a one year old. Her mother has just died of AIDS. Her father, siblings, and both sets of grandparents have HIV. And the family has no money for food. I guess I don't really have a point to sharing this, I just wish our own government would put more effort into trying to help and less into threatening PBS.
  17. matleo

    matleo Well-Known Member

    Re: Guys,

    hey BlueFrackle,
    yes, Sesame Workshop has announced it will be a female character because in S. America, more women are affected with HIV then males. hope this helps.
  18. sstVideo

    sstVideo Active Member

    Please note there is a BIG difference between South AFRICA and South AMERICA.... Takalani Sesame is on in South Africa.
  19. matleo

    matleo Well-Known Member


    Oh thank you! I knew something sounded wrong when I was typing that. My apoligies for briefly being an obtuse nitwit. Sadly, I was blessed with a Public School education in New Jersey and thus I will often flog something that is completely contrary to what I should be flogging...no, saying. I will often say something contrary to what I should be saying!!
    Again thank you for kissing me.... I mean, correcting me.

    Seriously, my apologies. You are right. For some reason I had the wrong continent in my head when I was writing. I meant that in South AFRICA HIV occurs more often in women and that is why the character is female. Thank you for the coreection.

    love and Sheep...I mean, love and peace,

  20. SCOOTER_101

    SCOOTER_101 Well-Known Member

    Well if you guys don't remember correctly they talked about Death on Sesame Street when Mr. Hooper died in 1983, so why shouldn't South American Street be able to talk about HIV???

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