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*Sigh* It's That Time of the Decade Again...

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by D'Snowth, May 5, 2008.

  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    It's one of those "Let's slash bone and call it fat" maneuvers. I don't know to what extent, but let's say a certain party is acting Eric Cartman like, and bullying, whining, crying, and acting like ill behaved children until they get what they want. And what they want is steep cuts so the big fat companies don't have to pay squat for anything. I wouldn't mind tax cuts for big fat corporations if they ONLY used it to invest in technologies and new business, and hired some people. They don't. The didn't 2001-2008, they're not going to now.

    I've seen it happen all too well, the previous guys slashing budgets irresponsibly, killing rainy day funds... then a rainy day happens, and the current people have to make big, steep cuts that kill jobs, give us lousy schools, and keep us generally unsafe (I do not know how many fire houses had to close... and that's when everything was supposedly "good").

    We were put in awkward areas where we had to either make bad deep bone cuts or raise taxes, and everyone's oh so afraid of that. We have this "Government shouldn't keep me safe from big business, and I don't want to pay for nothing" poser Libertarianism now and trust me, we're ALL going to regret it, even those who think they subscribe to that logic.

    Again, this ALL stems from the last guy giving hugely generous tax cuts to people who didn't deserve it AND fighting 2 wars at the same time. Either one ALONE wouldn't have hurt us, but the money had to come from somewhere. We went from a surplus to a deficit in one term, and NOW is the time to complain about spending?
  2. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Funny how there's always enough money for wars. ;)
  3. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I could go on and on about the atmosphere of 2002-2007, but I won't. We remember how oppressive it was, how we were bullied and told to shut up (by the very same people who do nothing BUT whine now, oddly enough), and to follow everything they said. I was so afraid they'd bring back HUAC. We were THAT close to it.

    I still say THAT was a pork barrel pet project. He wanted in since the 2000 debates. But I'm not going to be that guy who passively aggressively says "Yeah... well, you WARRED all over the place." I'm merely stating facts. For it or against it, the money had to come from somewhere.

    though I find it funny as heck everyone's like "Bailout BOO! Tax cuts for the wealthy YAY!" like they're not the same corporate welfare. They take the money, refuse to create American jobs, and any investments they make are merging to become an even bigger monopoly and dumping thousands of jobs. Party of Teddy Roosevelt my foot.
  4. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I'm probably going to regret this but ... well ... maybe this is a good time to review their current status. It's been awhile since I've watched, but from what I understand, you have a show that is a shell of its former self, with practically no one other than maybe a handful of characters (IF that), that has turned from educating a relatively broad range of early childhood to "educating" those barely old enough to count to two.

    It's not that I intend to pick on the Street. I will still love it to my dying day. It was a vital part of growing up for me (and my mother, who got to watch it in high school). I just think that PBS, particularly the "childhood education" part of it, needs to rethink its entire status in life. This isn't just about "the government needs to prop it up". I'm all for government helping, but the fact remains that nothing (and I mean nothing) should be propped up strictly for the sake of being propped up if it isn't competing.

    What about taking PBS and putting it under the Education Department? Instead of schools and universities having to pay publishers tons of money for the right to use a particular textbook or video, why not have PBS content available for free or a reduced rate? I admit I'm not familiar with how Channel One worked (some sort of school-only programming back when I was in high school), but surely making PBS a school-centric programming might cut down costs since you don't have to worry about airing it to a common population that just simply isn't watching it.

    True, publishing companies are gonna be ticked off, but if current books are anything like they were (and like in Lies My Teacher Told Me) when I was in school, they weren't doing us a whole lot of good in the first place. Capitalism can be a you-know-what, you know, LOL.

    This could benefit the Street, not just documentaries and such. Yes, current SST stuff is geared toward the preemies (sorry, "preschool"), but as there are countless characters over the years, surely it could be broadened to include skits and stuff that would engage even the preteen set. Bring some of those characters out of retirement. While Elmo and Abby are chatting up to preschoolers about up and down, let the "older" characters become the mascots for different age groups. Big Bird and Prairie can go kindergarten to 1st or 2nd grade. Ernie, Bert, Grover, and other "young adult" characters can share time with "older" characters who are clearly adults to help older children/pre-teens start thinking of growing up and making their own paths in life. Grover ALONE could spend an entire semester on workplace/school ettiquette and resumes and stuff, LOL. I just don't believe that reducing SST to that purple guy's status is where it needs to go, at least to remain profitable. I don't recall seeing anywhere some sort of rule that preschool is the ONLY place SST can be relevant. As I noted, my mother's high school teacher even let them watch it. Teenagers might not want to watch "kiddie" stuff, but if you were able to get them to love it earlier and grew WITH them, surely they wouldn't be so rebellious against it. If nothing else, SST and other shows are good material for media classes, to show multiple ways of addressing different topics to different audiences.

    I don't want PBS to die, but it may have to be radically restructured (I'm not picking on it ... I also want all of our educational system gutted and restructured) in order to justify its existence.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    You have a point there, actually.

    First off, why do we rely on textbooks? Sweetheart deals, of course. Same reason why we have all those standardized tests. Someone has to buy them... why not "require" them? Schools are losing a fortune in funding, and NONE of said text book companies can step up to the plate with cheaper books, or donations. And for the love of Pete STOP padding the book with comic strips. If I want comic strips, I'll read comic strips. Keep the licensing fee and bring the book costs down. And really... durable or not, how about more soft covers? Cheaper AND they save kid's massive back problems later on in life.

    But looking at PBS as a whole, not a bad idea. Use more FREE PBS series to teach subjects in schools. They USED to do that a lot. Sometimes you'll still find teachers that tape specials and stuff off TV, but there needs to be more of a meld between PBS and classroom education.

    As for Sesame Street... It can take care of itself ONLY to a certain extent. Who else is going to host a show for 40+ years?
    There are NO syndicated kid's TV show slots anymore. Sure, there's a gluttony of cheap to produce, keep your FCC license lip service out there (nature shows, mostly, but also dry career oriented programming with "hip" names). And cable ruins the accessibility the show was famous for. And as you said, the show isn't even geared towards preschoolers now, but pre-preschoolers. The situation would be worse without PBS... they're more connivingly competitive than they were 40 years ago.

    Not just for SS, but for all the kid's programs... even the bad ones. I hear non-stop whining by parental groups about how "evil" everything is, and yet, none of them would ever give a dime to PBS. But then again, most of the tax stuff goes to older audience programming... mostly pre-empted by "give your social security checks directly to us" stuff for old fogies (Yoga programs, "My Music"). What really ticks me off is that they use a LOT of funding to outbid BBC America for certain shows... and NOT even good ones (except Sherlock, and I haven't seen a single episode on my PBS past the first one). Jeez... get Monty Python, or Black Adder, or Mr. Bean... not annoying period pieces or comedies about elderly couples that still love each other.
  6. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    I posted this first sentiment when this topic popped up as Christopher Cerf's status on Facebook...
    *In Rocky J. Squirrel voice: Again? Why do we have to go through this every year... When will Congress learn to leave well enough alone... Oh, that's right, it's Congress, they never leave anything well enough alone.

    Sesame Street as a program, and PBS as a whole is suffering from identifying itself as a kiddified programming network. I'd say there's some hope with the New Electric Company, but I haven't watched it so I couldn't comment on that. PBS nowadays is a far far far cry from what it was back in the late 80's and early 90's when they had shows that gave you educational material in an entertaining manner. Anyone remember Square One Television for math? How about 3-2-1 Contact and/or the animated series Cro for science? Ghost Writer promoting literacy? Even Sesame Street was in its much heralded "Silver Age" or at the very least its "Bronze Age" with the Calypso-themed intro that did clever parodies teaching social skills along with the elementary basics. Don't get me wrong, I'll still watch... But there is something definitely lacking when comparing eras of the program against each other when we have to discuss this yearly evaluation because Congress can't keep their grubby mitts off of the stuff that actually does some good as small as it may be what with diminished budgetary resources.

    Also... It speaks to how networks today don't know what identity to pursue. Cartoon Network is at best a mix of animation and live action programming; Boomerang, once airing classic Hannah Barbera is now 70% dominated by more current Cartoon Network castoffs; Disney XD absolutely killed off Toon Disney, becoming instead a mix of animation force-fed down our throats every hour of every day and lame reality-based live action series; Nickelodeon I won't speak of, I just want Power Rangers Samurai not to be sandwiched between two episodes of crud... Seems like the only channel that knows what they're doing is The Hub.

    But yes, I do think that Sesame Street and PBS have to do something where they realize that they're a provider of real education and not just downgraded shells of past potential.
    *Clinks two pennies into the tin.
  7. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    You're not the only one who feels that way. I feel like at this point the show is being protected mainly because no one wants to be the one who cancels Sesame Street.

    You may have a point, and anyway Television is suffering in general, the future is on the Web.
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That's what we want to think, but the corporations are going to screw that up too. People went to the internet (which I'm falling less and less in love with) because they were sick of how meddling and fuddling made TV more and more restrictive. Wait till they do that to the internet. Just you wait. The wild west era is coming to a close.

    Other than that, the era of the specialty TV cable channel is GONE! Years ago, before it mattered, you could put anything on cable for a special niche of viewers, i.e. Cartoon Network. But now everyone's flocked to cable, and less people are watching TV, they want to get everybody who's watching everybody else, and they clearly aren't. People are happy watching the original version of something the other networks rip off.

    That said, Disney XD was bound to happen... they were casting off cartoons left and right and trying to be the boy channel where Disney became the girl channel, and I don't want to comment on that mess (Phineas and Ferb is the ONLY good thing they've got). They keep trying to move away from live action on CN (as it's a humongous failure no matter what the show), but they keep bring up new series to FAIL that no one likes. It's all to compete.

    Now, back to PBS... I hear all this moaning and whining about how evil kid's programming is and how commercials train kids to be consumers (IN a CAPITALISTIC country? Where is the outrage?) and all these self serving groups spend a fortune to wreck kid's TV... WHY aren't these people giving all that to PBS? Why aren't they donating money to Sesame Workshop? No, we have to have a totally unfair single out of everything they advertise on kid's TV, from candy to toys (again, looking the other way at the hundreds of medication ads on adult programming... most of them sexual aids) and spend that small fortune making kid's programming so unprofitable, there's no where to put anything. And the stuff that's still on TV is funded entirely by Life Alert ads and "Order adult diapers over the internet" companies.
  9. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    A little off-topic, but I'd like to hear your thoughts about the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Tooth.

    http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/

    Yet there is no such campaign for commercial-free adulthoods. Go fig. :rolleyes:
  10. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I'm not completely against kids seeing commercials. It's a parent's job to make sure their kids have half a brain when watching them. And it is important for kids to learn not to trust everything they see. Taking away that lesson will not do them any good.

    Of course, I am against the lousy quality to be found in many commercials these days! ;)
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    This sort of campaign has been around since the early days of TV.

    Matter of fact, wasn't it because of this "campaign", that TV characters stopped doing their own show's sponsors' commercials back in the 60s? I mean you look on YouTube, you see Andy and Barney selling Grape Nuts, the Beverly Hillbillies selling Corn Flakes, Oliver and Lisa selling orange juice, Hogan's Heroes selling Jell-O, etc... wasn't that done away with because of "fears" that it was warping the young kiddies' minds?
  12. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Well I admit I actually agree with that decision, lol. It's one thing to have TV shows and commercials separate. To combine them was misleading and manipulative, even for a commercial!
  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I dunno... had it continued through the 70s, I would've liked to have seen Radar hawk some grape nehi at us, lol.
  14. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I could deal with hawking cereal. It's when Fred and Wilma Flinstone are puffing up cigarettes that it gets to seem real odd.
  15. anytimepally

    anytimepally Active Member

    don't you know? in the stoneage, cigarettes were actually delicious, didn't make you smell like a smokestack, and didn't cause cancer :smirk:
  16. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    It's true. In one of my past lives, I lived in the stoneage and smoked about five packs a day, and lived to the ripe old age of 32.
  17. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Of course it hasn't ever REALLY stopped. You're subjected to a lot of subtle product placements and you may not even realize it until days later!
  18. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    True enough.

    Biggest example I can think of is Alvin, Simon, and Theodore eating Honeynut Cheerios for breakfast in The Chipmunk Adventure... I don't believe I've ever seen product placement in a cartoon in quite that same fashion before or since.
  19. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Lol, yeah that one's pretty infamous now. Actually even as a kid I remember thinking, "Wow, I've never seen a real cereal in a cartoon show before!" Lol
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Most of the time, in cartoons or comics, you have spoof products... like, I believe in the Get Fuzzy, the popular burger joint is "MacDougals".

    Oddly enough, I remember one time I did a bit of unusual product placements in a fanfic I wrote: I refered to Doritos, Cheetos, and Fritos by brand-name, but instead of utilizing the actual brand of Clausen's Kosher Pickles, I did a spoof called Dawson's Kosher Pickles... which, is kind of odd now that I think about it, to use other brand-names, then a spoof brand. But then again, it got a running gag out of it that "Why does Richard Dawson get his own brand of pickles?"


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