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The most DATED thing on classic Sesame Street?

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by jeffkjoe, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. Larxene

    Larxene Member

    I'd say the most dated thing (besides Maria) is the attitude of the show itself.

    1. Kids are encouraged to be kids instead of rushed towards adult things (the target audience was also a broader age range, I've noticed these days one is expected to be grown up by 12 :( )

    2. They aren't talked down to by the characters (who actually sometimes go over the kids heads, recalling ADULTS are likely watching with their kids and deserve to also be entertained)

    3. There's absolutely no commercalization ie characters created JUST to sell toys (I don't think there were Sesame Street toys until the mid-70's. I know my mom had to make me plushies and blankies, they did not exist in stores!)
  2. ISNorden

    ISNorden Active Member

    Amen. The attitude on today's Sesame Street seems to waver between "dumbing down" and "kids are little adults"; you'd never see those approaches on an older episode. Whatever happened to respecting kids' intelligence and curiosity, and letting them have real childhoods? Why did Sesame Workshop quit encouraging parents to watch along, not just dump kids in front of a TV?

    As for commercializing, even Elmo and the recent fairy-tale imports were never "created JUST to sell toys"; the commercialism on today's Sesame Street seems to work the other way round. ("Let's get as many licensing deals as we can to slap characters' pictures on ANYTHING parents might buy for a pre-schooler, whether the tie-in is logical or not.") Still, I wish Sesame Street didn't have to rely on corporate sponsors and product tie-ins as much as it does now: if producers didn't need to worry about their budgets so often, then today's Sesame Street might look more like yesterday's.
  3. MeWantCookie

    MeWantCookie Member

    I remember reading somewhere that Elmo's World basically became the focal point of the show because studies had shown that the number of SS viewers under the age of three had increased by a lot and their interest in the show was waning after the program was 3/4 over. Maybe they should do a study focusing on parents (or babysitters, older siblings, etc.) and see how long their interest in the show lasts after watching a prolonged segment of "Elmo's World!"
  4. ISNorden

    ISNorden Active Member

    Good point, Dana: if the Workshop knew that such young kids would lose interest after 45 minutes, why didn't they just cut the show's duration (and let EW stand on its own)? That seems like the easiest way to solve the problem.
  5. Larxene

    Larxene Member

    When did it become the standard to plop kids in front of the TV and use it as a babysitter anyhow? My mom use to watch Sesame Street with me and I doubt very much I sat still and paid attention for the entire hour. That's an adult concept, young kids don't sit still and be quiet for that long! Kids will wander off, play with their toys, dance with the songs..etc etc. Any show that keeps a kid hypnotised like a zombie is bad news anyhow., it means they aren't thinking or imagining and that isn't good for them. (Says the woman with no kids, heh)

    You know what else is missing? Classic Sesame Street really had an inner city, multi-cultural feel. You got the feeling Sesame Street wasn't a rich or perfect place but that it was home to a lot of different folks of different backgrounds.

    As for merchandising... UGH. See, all I had were Sesame Street plushies (when they existed), records and that Little People playset. I didn't need Tickle Me Singing Dancing Hula Hooping Counting Spelling Tenth Anniversay Elmo with Elmo bedsheets, curtains, bath wipes and toilet paper.
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Kids don't need Ipods, Xboxes, their own computers either. At least SW is making some money off these things to work on their projects. If we all forget the commerical kid's show first appereared in 1991, and it starred an obnoxious purple dinosuar. Since then, children's television has slid into a bottomless pit of crap. That's why it has become a baby sitter. Not only SS, but cartoons and children's TV have suffered totally due to these negligent soccer mom types that don't know how to raise kids. Heck, there are a group of people who ignore all the pediatric reports and still think Baby Einstine garbage works.

    I would say Classic SS fans would make terrible scientists, as they only observe the constant, not the variables. The problem with a show that changes with the times is the times themselves change. We have annoying things like "play dates" now. What is that?

    I could get on a whole thing about this, but we've discussed it way too much. Expecting SS to be the same quality it has been for 38 straight years is like expecting Dan Akroyd and Jane Curtain to still be on SNL and the Simpsons writers to do hillarious well thought out original storylines.

    However, I will say they are clearly going in a direction where they're trying to change things back. They experimented with 2 episodes without Elmo's world (the first 2 in almost 10 years), and they cut several of the segments the fans hated. They're on the road to see if changing things back is a good option, and let's hope it works.
  7. MeWantCookie

    MeWantCookie Member

    Yeah, I feel like the recent shift of focus from appreciating diversity to combating childhood obesity has abandoned some important things kids need to know about their outside environment...whatever happened to Tarah? She grew up and probably moved on to bigger and better things, but she was placed there to teach kids to accept handicapped/disabled individuals. Same with Linda being deaf.

    That was the SS my mom used to watch with the kids for whom she babysat in the '70s, and once my younger brother and I came along, it became her favorite show and she even used to watch it while she was cooking or folding laundry. That's the SS they need to bring back.
  8. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Does anyone else watch anything besides SS besides me? It wasn't just SS. Every bloody show and commerical had to shoehorn something in about obesity to try to combat the fact that there are fat people. The kids shows at least had some taste to it. Special K is still selling it's wretchid cereal by scaring women into thinking that if they actually eat a waffle at a restaraunt every so often, they'll become 900 pound shut ins the next day. But that's enough of that. People should already know how to be healthy. It's all about choice. A lot of things were abandoned for that. SS already did a good job with healthy foods, and they could have had a softer focus on the subject. but you know what they say, several pounds of fevered prevention is worth an ounce of cure.

    But I think that everytime they put a disabled character in now, they have to pretty much bus one in. Linda was natural. We need someone natural, and not a character that's just about "a person in a wheelchair can be normal" and then pretty much do nothing but talk about how they're in a wheel chair.

    They did a real good job with Traction Jackson. Half the time, I can't even tell he's in a wheel chair. He's that natural. We need a human character like that on SS.

    I spoke my peace about Children's TV in gerneral in this post

    I think that it's time to move this conversation to this thread, because we're all getting off topic.
  9. ISNorden

    ISNorden Active Member

    Goodness knows I am sick and tired of seeing ads for exercise programs, diet pills, and mega-healthy low-everything food whenever I watch network TV...not to mention the public service announcements during kidvid time, which demonize ANY food with sugar, fat, or meat in it. Obesity may be a common health problem in the US, but it's high time the media stopped treating obesity like the only health problem (especially when kids are involved).

    To bring this back on topic...Sesame Street didn't need to emphasize "Healthy Habits for Life" over two whole seasons. They could have done without most of the new health/nutrition material, and simply redone older sketches on those topics. (Heck, even a remake of "Captain Vegetable" would've taught more than that awful "Fruit/Veggie Dance" did. And why couldn't someone have filmed new live-action clips of playing/dancing children, instead of coming up with "It's Time to Play" in Season 37?)


    As a real-life disabled fan of Sesame Street--all I can say is "Hear, hear!" One of the things I liked about Linda (during her run on the show) was that she had a disability but didn't let it define her. Not every sketch with Linda in it taught about hearing problems or sign language...just as not every sketch with Maria and Luis in it taught about Spanish words or Latino culture. Sometimes those traits came up in the script, sometimes not...the same way it happens in real life. Traction Jackson is a decent attempt to show disabled kids in that light, but I worry that he might become a parody of what he's meant to teach.
  10. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member


    I have no idea why the heck those were considered learning about healthy foods. They had nothing to do with anything, and it didn't even want to make kids get up and dance, just change the channel. That was just a cheap thing they filmed in a day that they could re-dub and make it look like 2 skits. No nutricional value. I have no problem with putting the root problems of obesity behind a curtain and just telling kids what to eat, but a couple skits here and there, and the Cookie is a Sometimes food skit were enough.
  11. MeWantCookie

    MeWantCookie Member

    does anyone else agree with me that Cookie's "Healthy Food" rap was enough of a disclaimer that he eats other foods besides cookies? They could have just re-aired that instead of using "A Cookie is a Sometimes Food" to make people think Cookie was being turned into Veggie Monster...
  12. ISNorden

    ISNorden Active Member

    "Healthy Food", in my opinion, is another good example of older material doing a better job...and I might add, if they needed to update the musical style, why couldn't they have remade the song with Cookie Monster as the star (not some human rapper)? That should've been enough to drive the lesson home: balance and variety, not over-reliance on specific foods, makes a diet healthy. Remember the long list of healthy foods in that rap? Not all of them were fruits or vegetables; and none of them was labeled an "anytime food" either. (Trust me, there is no such thing...I got mouth sores from eating lots of fruit as a kid!)

    Sesame Workshop needs to stop reinventing the wheel, and start looking at what has already worked: they've taught nutrition before without preaching, over-analyzing, or giving kids misleading information. They've also done it without sacrificing other content on the show; I hope that they're able to continue doing the same.
  13. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Absolutely! People at gyms I've gone to remind me that fruit is also a "sometime food." For instance, orange juice is good for your immune system. But too much of it means too much sugar. Same with Bananas.

    On the other hand, cookies have little to no nutritional value, lol. At least fruit is sometimes useful!

    Yeah I don't understand the need to reinvent things, and the sudden distrust of older material.
  14. MeWantCookie

    MeWantCookie Member

    Even though the studies have shown that younger viewers have lost interest in the show (therefore making "Elmo's World" the main attraction), they should consider what points they would like to get across on a given episode and dig deep into the archives to see which classic sketches/songs, etc. would best suit the interest of the audience. Say, if I were putting an episode together with the theme being healthy food, I'd include songs like "Healthy Food," Joe Raposo's fruit song (see the Sesame Street Films thread if you don't know what I'm talking about), and even "Cereal Girl"....anyone with me on this?
  15. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    I think they should have kept Hooper's Store green, and never let go of the Fix-It shop. The toaster joke, I don't care how old, was always funny to see them working on toasters!

    But, can anything on SS really be dated? I mean, why can't it be called 'tradition' instead of being called 'dated?'
  16. ISNorden

    ISNorden Active Member

    Hmmm. On one hand, real-life shops in real-life cities do change over the years; on the other, Hooper's and the Fix-It Shop have become cultural icons for a lot of people who grew up watching Sesame Street. So I can understand the stores getting facelifts...although Hooper's could have kept a storefront more similar to the old one. (I agree that the Fix-It Shop should have stayed in business; when a store changes that drastically and the show offers no explanation, that feels just plain wrong.)

    As for "datedness" versus "tradition", I see both sides of the issue there too. Sesame Street's phones and mailboxes shouldn't look as though they've been unchanged since 1969; and the cast shouldn't dress as if they belonged on "That 70s Show". But keeping the general layout and decor of the "old" street set would help preserve a sense of tradition for viewers of all ages.
  17. MeWantCookie

    MeWantCookie Member

    One could call the clothes/hairstyles in the really old sketches and films "dated" but like you said, Fozzie, there are the SS traditions that they should keep for seasons to come...even when my generation grows up and has children and watches SS with them we should be able to see things and be able to say, "Hey, I remember that from when I was a kid!"
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well, the disclaimer for me was when he ate foam rubber letters and numbers, whole trucks piece by piece, and brick walls. When a child imitates that kind of behavior, then you should worry.

    Well, to me that was dated. The idea of the fix it shop was created at a time when people actually cared about their stuff and would have their appliances fixed when they were broken. now in our instant everything society, why go help a small business that has increasing obselesence when you can go to the big corporately run chain stores, and buy a new appliance made in Mexico or China for a fraction of the cost of fixing it?

    It's nice for nostalgia, but I think the Mail-it Shop was closer to reality. And reality is what SS is all about, Better or worse.

    Though I will say by bringing it back, they are teaching kids good values by helping out local owned businesses, and to reuse things whenever possible.
  19. JLG

    JLG Member

    Heh. Try telling that to the IT guy at the newspaper I worked at last year. That man never slept, because his pager was constantly beckoning him out from his bed and back into the blasted office where he'd always have to fix some crisis or another at the wee hours of the night. The guy had rings under his eyes the color of plums. All the time. So for him, pagers are very much relevant! :rolleyes:


    [/quote]Yeah, I don't know what to think of it either. Personally, there are 3 reactions to how an old film would be percepted. one is no reaction. The second would be "This film is old! I can't relate and therefore I don't have any interrest." and the third would be "WOW! An old film. It's interresting to see what things were like years ago."[/quote]

    Once I was old enough to understand the concept (perhaps around age 5 or so), that's exactly how I reacted.

    [/quote]I just can't believe kids being confused. 2 year olds maybe, but when I saw something that was old, I knew it was old, even when I was 3 or so. I just didn't care.

    I will say in this day and age, all the filmed footage does look old, due to the film's graniness. You can imitate film on a digital camera. It looks pretty inorganic, though. The "filmed" inserts of today will hold up better in the future, due to the fact they are digital, and can't really degenerate like film does. That said, I'd rather see film that looks like film. Even (and especially) in animation. But that's another discussion for another day.[/quote]

    I think exactly the way you do about this. I love the look of film, and for some reason all my life I've been fascinated with the graininess and odd color of so much low-budget footage shot between the mid 1960s and the early 1980s. "Sesame Street" is just one of the places where this turns up, but it's like a big flashing sign that blares "70s! 70s!" As a kid in the late 80s and early 90s, I was intrigued that here was a very recent, familiar-looking past, but looking like it was a thousand years old because of the grain and dust. (Same goes for that flat, muffled kind of sound mixing that turned up even in many Hollywood feature films of that era. It sounds incredibly odd, almost like a halluncination.)
  20. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    The Fix It shop never seemed odd to me, even though I most likely never saw one in real life. Lol ::shrugs::


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