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  3. Sesame Street Season 48
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"The Draidle Game"

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by Daffyfan4ever, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. Daffyfan4ever

    Daffyfan4ever Well-Known Member

    I thought I'd mention this since they talked about this in "Elmo's World: Happy Holidays." I was at a church service tonight because it's mission's week and they have a service just about every night. One of the ladies there talked to the children about the dradel game. That reminded me of when Telly played it with Papa Bear and Baby Bear. Now that I think about it, they could have 'splained the game in more detail. They have mentioned in the special that if it landed on 'Nun/noon' you get nothing and that if you land on 'gimmel' you win. (I think that was it.) But they didn't really talk about the other letters on the dice. I think that would be a fun game to play if I knew all the rules.
  2. GonzoLeaper

    GonzoLeaper Well-Known Member

    One thing I will say about "Elmo's World: Happy Holidays"- I like that they were honest in the title in saying that it was about winter holidays in general. Thus, I wasn't surprised to see segments of the special devoted to Hannukah and Kwanzaa as well as Christmas.
    What I don't like is when a special is called "A Sesame Street Christmas Carol"- and then segments are included on Hannukah and Kwanzaa for no apparent reason. If they're going to call it a Christmas special, then I would prefer that they just stick to Christmas themes. (Of course, while I enjoyed some things about that special- I really wish they had done a Sesame Street version of the Charles Dickens book "A Christmas Carol"- I've seen a couple of movie versions of this book, but the book is definitely better. I've read it a couple of times- and there are a lot of things that Sesame Street could have done in an adaptation.
    Anyway- is the segment with the Dreidel Game on "Elmo's World: Happy Holidays" with Telly and Baby Bear? I do recall seeing that one a while back...
  3. GonzoLeaper

    GonzoLeaper Well-Known Member

    And I forgot to say that I did really appreciate "Elmo's World: Happy Holidays" for trying to teach kids about the first Christmas with Prairie Dawn doing a Christmas pageant- that was perfect. And they had the comedy of errors that is typical for her pageants- lol. But I wish they had been more specific about Jesus than just that He was a good man. We celebrate His birth because of what He was born to do- to grow up and die on the cross and rise again to pay for the sins of the world- so that we could all have salvation! It's what we celebrate at Easter- and Christmas really isn't complete without Easter. So I celebrate both every day! Merry Christmas and Happy Easter!:)
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The special stunk for being a cheap clip show anyway...

    I'm surprised they got as far as they did. Talking about the life and times of Jesus is a little out of reach for the show... sure, they talked almost in depth about the Hanukkah story, but they left a lot out (Shalom Sesame's Hanukkah: Case of the Missing menorah actually dove deeper into it), but they only basically said what Kwanzaa mean, and not where that one originated either... but you gotta admit, a Christmas special that actually TALKS about it that isn't a specifically religious special is pretty amazing.
  5. Katzi428

    Katzi428 Well-Known Member

    As nice as SS handled the first Christmas with Prairie's pageant, I think it would confuse little kids a lot with a pageant about Jesus being crucified and then arising from the dead 3 days later (Easter) . They might get the wrong idea about death in my opinion. For example,if a pageant about Jesus dying & then rising from the dead is done on a SS pageant, a kid might think if their loved one (like let's say, "Grandpa") dies, the kid will think "Oh Grandpa will come back from the dead just like Jesus did." The topic of death was covered back in 1982 (I'm sure a LOT of you were still in diapers or not even around) when Mr. Hooper passed away.In my years of watching SS I never heard of any talk about death.(Then again, nobody else from the cast had died before then.) Only when my brother & sister started watching in the early '80s, when Mr. Hooper died,it was the first time the subject of death was approached.
  6. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    I agree. Sesame Street went about as far as they could go with that. If kids have other in-depth questions, well, that's what Sunday School is for. They can talk about things in Sunday School that they couldn't really say on Sesame Street.

    There are certain things that just aren't on Sesame Street's specific curriculum. Their reasoning is that either parents (or in this case Sunday School) are better suited for the job of explaining things to their kids. Sure, Maria got pregnant, but they never went into detail about how it happened. Young kids who go to Sunday School will learn more about Jesus, or they can ask their parents. Same with those kids who celebrate Hannukah or Kwanzaa and ask about their meanings, histories, etc. Divorce was attempted in one unaired episode, but we all know how that turned out. The closest thing that aired was one News Flash segment.

    As for death, yeah, they hadn't said anything about it until Mr. Hooper died. The only other times they mentioned death (except for references to Mr. Hooper), were when Elmo's Uncle Jack died and an animated segment about a dead goldfish.

    If I remember right, one of Elmo's goldfish kicked the bucket a while back. No, not Dorothy. This was a long time ago, pre-Elmo's World. They said the basic stuff the clip did, but I'm sure they didn't show the usual way a goldfish is "laid to rest". (A famous Cosby Show episode already did that). :D

    Convincing John
  7. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I never got that coloring book where Jesus was nailed up to the cross. I'm sure one exists... but I remember seeing a LOT of nativity books, and none of them really said "he's going to be the savior of humanity" outright. This is a way to get preschoolers into the faith without adding any nasty bits about death (we as a society are too afraid to have to explain it to kids... I agree with Katzi, the resurrection bit might be hard to teach... save that for kids who are older). Plus, it also gives a nice view of what others believe without pushing it as an agenda. They handled it with both dignity and fun without making it preachy, but not denying someone's beliefs.

    Plus, they didn't get into that Virgin Birth thing either... again, too young for that.

    Death is a very sensitive subject, resurrection or not, and they were extremely bold to outright say "Mr. Hooper's not here anymore." without saying "He was old and it can happen to you at any point in your life." And even then, there was intense planning for that. It was an important milestone, and thankfully one they didn't need to address for a long long time (David left the show long before he passed on). As it stands, it's apparently unacceptable for characters on kid's action shows, even rated TV Y7 to die gloriously in battle, and references to death and killing are toned WAAAY down or omitted. Somehow it's okay to say a character died years ago for effect, but even then, it's a little obscured. You know a character's not really dead when they actually address they thought he was dead, and they actually are shown getting blown up gloriously in battle.
  8. GonzoLeaper

    GonzoLeaper Well-Known Member

    Don't get me wrong- I totally applaud Sesame Street for actually delving into the actual events of the first Christmas and talking about Jesus' birth- that was great to see on a video special that wasn't specifically Christian!:)
    And I understand that they probably weren't going to do "The Passion of the Christ" for kids and I wasn't expecting that- I just think they could have just as easily said that Jesus came to be the Savior and left it at that. That's a place where live action segments with kids at a Christmas Eve candelight service at church could have worked well. I'd just prefer that the full signficance of why Christians celebrate Christmas be explained a little better and that Jesus be elevated to more than just a good man status- because He's the God-Man.
    Yeah- I know there's a limit to what they will and won't go into- but I think there is a way they can briefly explain Christian beliefs without being anything more than educational and not trying to be pushing one thing or the other. For that matter, they could have gone more into the celebration of Hannukah and the miracle of the menorah staying lit for 8 days and all. They could have explored the roots of Kwanzaa and why it was established in the 1960s as a way for African-Americans to unite in a holiday to promote peace and understanding as well as remembering African traditions.
    But that is the point of Easter. Grandpa can and will come back from the dead if He trusts Christ as Savior - of course, he will be with Him in Heaven and not necessarily coming back in bodily form on Earth. The distinction to make clear is that Jesus came back from the dead in bodily form on Earth to fulfill what He said He would do and to prove He's God. Only God can raise the dead- and for the kids watching, we can tell them that though we don't see that happening here now- God does promise to give those who trust Jesus as Savior a new life in Heaven after they die.
    Anyway- I know this is probably going to get way too preachy for most folks' tastes and that's why I'm not expecting Sesame Street to do an Easter special any time soon- or at least not one that actually delves that much into the first Easter and the events of Jesus' crucifixion and Resurrection.
    But I just feel like if they're going to go so far as to actually get into the events of the first Christmas and why Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (which I think is great for kids' education- along with the reason Jews celebrate Hannukah and the reason primarily African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa) - then they should make it clear who Jesus is and what He came to do. Which is why I said earlier that they could have said Jesus came to be the Savior and leave it at that.
    Any further discussions about that could be taken up with the parents and whatever their religious background, they can explain- "Well, Christians do believe that about Jesus, but we believe..." or - "Yes, Jesus came to be the Savior of the world and as Christians, our family celebrates that at Christmas..."
    But overall, I am happy that Sesame Street at least mentioned Jesus' birth in some form rather than just ignoring it and only focusing on the secular side of Christmas. I feel like it's more intellectually honest and educational for kids to hear the religious side as well.
  9. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Again, Sesame Street can only teach so much. We can't rely on it to teach everything. Next week, we won't see an Elmo's World where Elmo teaches kids the "birds and the bees" or the more specific (and sometimes upsetting to real little kids) aspects of a certain religion. It can't be done. It's up to parents to explain what Sesame can't: these topics and others.

    We do know that over and over again, Sesame Street encourages kids to ask questions. "Asking questions is a good way of finding things out." That can apply to "what's that word on the sign say, Mommy?" to "why is that man on that big letter 't' with his arms out?"

    As for the death topic, nothing tops "I'll Miss You, Mr. Hooper." They did a good job with explaining about Elmo's Uncle Jack, plus the animated bit with the fish was done well, too. For those who haven't seen it, here it is.

    Convincing John
  10. GonzoLeaper

    GonzoLeaper Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the link about the goldfish death. Elmo's Uncle Jack was from the special made about soldiers who died in combat overseas, right?
    I agree- "I'm Miss You, Mr. Hooper" is classic- Sesame Street did a great job with that episode.
    And to clarify- I don't expect Sesame Street to give instruction on the facts of life or the details of world religions. Both of those topics are definitely something parents should take the lead in talking about with their kids. Certainly- Sesame Street is meant to encourage questions and education, but it's not meant to be a substitute for actually going to school and good parenting. It prepares kids for school.
    All I was saying is that I think they could have done more to note Jesus' divine status as God- that's all. But I guess from what I'm hearing here, that would probably be crossing the line for some folks from pure informational education to religious instruction. Oh well- like I said before, I'm just happy they bothered to give the basics of the birth of Jesus at the first Christmas at all. That's still way more than I've seen done on most other Christmas specials that weren't strictly Christian in nature.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Not even Shalom Sesame, even in the older episodes made for older kids, mentioned the complexities of the Jewish religion. They did mention some biblical stories, and the new one got a little specific about Purim in this skit... but they tend to shy away from the complex. That's for religious texts, parents and the church to teach when the kids are older and more open to the teachings. It's a nice start for the preschoolers to learn the simple things, leading on the the bigger things later.

    Religion or otherwise, you can teach a small child only so much before it gets confusing... and Elmo's World is for 3 year olds, maybe the occasional 4 year old. Even if they were to teach Easter's real origin, I couldn't see them getting more complex than saying "He went away for a few days and came back." Kids need to learn the concept of death (though somehow they know what ghosts are at that age... dunno why) before they can understand why it was a miracle. Like how they say at the beginning of "Christmas Carol" that it must be known Marley was dead to begin with so that the rest of the story can seem fantastic and wonderful.

    I agree... SS can teach where babies come from, but they can't teach HOW they're made. Sid the Science can only talk about so much science before it gets long winded and confusing, that's why he mentions chemical reactions, but not the formulaic expression of them.
  12. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Exactly. I just tossed in the birds and the bees as an example. There's other things Sesame Street just can't teach about. They tried with divorce & it didn't work. There was even talk once about dealing with drugs. It was Jon Stone's suggestion, I think.

    As for ghosts, kids might understand about them because they are seen in cartoons and other kids' shows. A lot of kids (maybe even the really young ones) have also seen ghosts in the Harry Potter movies. True, the movies aren't really for young kids, but Harry's still really popular and there's a lot of death and ghosts in those films. Younger kids might see them if there's older siblings around. Just a thought.

    Convincing John
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    The problem with Divorce is the WAY they handled it. They had the same concept in the show Arthur, BUT they got it right. How? It happened in the past and was referenced every so often. Buster's Dad and Mother split up before the show, they never really explained why, but they managed to come up with the message that it's okay anyway. They didn't need to deal with messy stuff like who's fault and how it happened. They solved it by saying THAT it happened. I still feel had they done things differently, it could have worked. Big Bird asks Snuffy why he doesn't see his father and only his mother, Snuffy says, "they're devorced. I see him on the weekeneds" or something like that.

    Drugs are RIGHT OUT. That's definitely an older kid problem. The best I think SS could do is a "These are NOT candy" message, and that's really more of a poison control thing. You know, in case a little one sees mommy's pills on the table or floor.

    I still don't understand how kids get Casper, but don't get death. Especially since they show a LOT of gravestones in those cartoons.

    I remember my sister was talking to little kids for some college internship, and they were reading One Piece in the US Shonen Jump... these kids were a little young to be reading it, sure... but my sister had to explain that Ivankov was a man dressed up as a woman. And the conversation didn't go too much deeper than that.
  14. ISNorden

    ISNorden Well-Known Member

    I agree that Sesame Street was right to teach about the religious aspects of both Christmas and Hanukkah--up to a point. They are religious holidays, despite the wealth of secular traditions that have developed: not telling a curious 3-year-old that much is intellectually dishonest.

    I myself, on the other hand, am neither Christian nor Jewish; if I had children, I'd teach them about all three of Elmo's "happy holidays" in terms of "This is what some people believe, do and celebrate." Whether Jesus was divine or not, or rose from the dead or not--that kind of teaching belongs on a dedicated religious TV show, not on one meant to teach a broad curriculum to children of all faiths. The same goes for the spiritual meaning of the Hanukkah story: that kind of discussion belongs in Hebrew school or at home, not on a TV show created to teach all children about many subjects.
  15. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    I think that's what there was talk about. There was no script or anything, but a Sesame Street version of the old "We're Not Candy" PSA was what the eventual goal probably would have been. They actually did a "leave poison alone" sketch with Roosevelt Franklin. It was short, to the point and got the message across:


    You're right, the subject of divorce is handled well on Arthur. They mention it, the parents do their normal day-to-day stuff and Buster has his adventures with Arthur and the gang. If it was mentioned on Sesame Street (with maybe a little bit of explanation for the younger kids) it would have worked, I think.

    If I remember right, kids were most upset about the "parents arguing scene" where Alice beats up her teddy bear.

    As sad as it sounds, when parents get upset, kids can get upset too, even if they don't understand fully what's going on. The problem is, there's something about the situation Alice didn't understand and the test group of kids (probably) felt the same way. Had the parents explain to Alice (on kid terms) what was going on in a calmer manner, maybe the kids watching could get it, too.

    Until they stopped showing Kermit's News Flashes on SS, they showed the closest thing they could show about divorce. It obviously worked because it ran for years. Maybe it worked because it was partially musical. Maybe Kermit and the bird were more tactful with the information. For anyone who hasn't seen it, check it out:


    In the Snuffy episode, maybe there was too much focus on the subject, as if they were trying to give the kids too much information at once. If there were little mentions here and there in other episodes, like this:

    Big Bird: "Are you going to the park with me and Maria today, Snuff?"

    Snuffy: "Oh, I can't today. I gotta pack my overnight bag. I'm going to Daddy's cave for the night."

    Big Bird: "Oh yeah, that's right. Your daddy lives somewhere else."

    Snuffy: "Yup, but we sure have a great time when we get together! He's gonna teach me how to play checkers and then we're going to the zoo! I'll tell you all about it when I get back. See you later, Bird!" (Bassoon music plays as Suffy shuffles offscreen).

    I totally forgot about Casper. There are tombstones all over the place in those cartoons. Scooby Doo's got 'em, too. Depends on which episodes you watch, I guess.

    Convincing John
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    There WAS a Fat Albert, though. It's for older kids, and I'm sure they'd understand better. I forget the title, but the parents were constantly fighting. To the extent the father starts making nasty remarks about the mother "spending all my money." of course, the kid runs away, and Fat Albert has to talk sense into her. Now, that's a might intense to teach to younger kids, but older kids get the message better when it's taught like that.

    Though for Arthur, I kinda wish they'd explain it in flashback form. It makes sense why Buster's parents broke up if you catch the clues (it's the same reason Buster's Mom breaks up with Harry). Buster's father is a pilot, Buster's mom is a very busy newsroom worker (reporter or editor, I can't remember). They just drifted apart because they were too busy for each other.
  17. ISNorden

    ISNorden Well-Known Member

    I agree that Sesame Street should have handled divorce more gradually, possibly through a season-long story arc--the same way they treated the subjects of marriage, birth, and adoption. Couples don't usually decide to break up overnight, and their children usually learn about what's going on long before a divorce is final. (Covering Mr. Hooper's death as a single episode was different: because few people plan their deaths in advance or know when they're going to die, a child is likely to get information all at once.)

    Even if CTW had used the story-arc treatment, I can understand why the writers chose the Snuffleupagus family instead of a human one: Susan and Gordon were happily married since Episode 1, and didn't have a child at all until Miles' adoption many years later. Maria and Luis' marriage would have been too recent to end (compared to the Snuffy episode). No other adults on the show (except Buffy, I think) had even mentioned their spouses yet; the only logical choice was Mr. Snuffleupagus, the one major "child Muppet" living with a single parent. (Snuffy always refers to his mommy around Big Bird, but never his daddy... :concern:)
  18. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I have that episode! I don't know, I love Fat Albert but I wasn't completely satisfied with that episode's lesson. I agree that the girl needed to learn to accept her parents' divorce and move on, but it almost felt like they were telling her she was being selfish by being in denial and trying to have both parents at the same time. It was too much about correcting the child's behavior and not enough about criticizing the parents. At least that's my view. :)
  19. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    They did a Fat Albert episode about that? No kidding? Huh, well, good for Bill Cosby to think of that. I guess it doesn't really surprise me, since so many Fat Albert episodes dealt with so many different social concepts. They did have an episode about saying no to drugs, another about someone spiking punch, teen pregnancy and even one about auto theft.

    Yep, auto theft. I don't know if you saw that one, but it turned out that Fat Albert and his friends were just riding with some guy in a car that the guy actually stole. The cop scares everyone straight (even though Fat Albert and the gang didn't know about the car being stolen) by taking them to the jail. Just watch what happens and listen to what the inmates say!


    And wouldn't you know...relating this to Sesame Street, they actually dealt with stealing a few times, plus the consequence of going to jail.

    One episode dealt with some random monster daring Telly to steal a zucchini off of Mr. Macintosh's cart (I just remember seeing it in the 1980's, I can't find the clip of it). Telly freaks out after taking it, then gives it back, still freaking out about what will happen to him. Naturally, he's forgiven. Dunno what happened to the other monster, though.

    Another was episode 3058. Telly imagines punching a penguin (they actually showed the punch on the show) and Telly imagines himself being arrested and tossed in the slammer. (scroll down for the pictures):


    And there was a clip of Cookie imagining himself stealing Prairie Dawn's cookie, then getting arrested. (Hey, you gotta admit, the Mr. Rogers mention is funny).


    Convincing John
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I remember reading the linear notes to the 4 disk "Greatest Hits" DVD (which that episode wasn't on) and there was an interview with Lou Schimer talking about that episode briefly. It was their every intention to say, if you're going to prison, you might get raped. They also had an episode (according to the interview) about VD's.

    Yeah... that's probably the one. Is that the one with the Brown Hornet cartoon about the villain that stole paintings from an intergalactic museum? They actually dealt with divorce at least twice... the other being an earlier episode (I believe it was called "So Close and yet so Far")and they didn't go too much into detail as I recall. It definitely had a different slant on the issue, though.

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