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What would happen if Sesame Workshop retired Elmo?

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by beaker, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Let me preface this by saying Kevin Clash's craft is absolutely astonishing, and I'm glad I got to meet him.

    But I'm just going to say what I'm sure many of you already feel.
    And that's that "Elmo" is a worthless, valueless, distracting character who I know at least with me evokes a sickening feeling of despair and annoyance. I have literally always hated that character, and by the late 90's was just hoping the Elmo hype would go away.

    Nope. In fact by the turn of the millennium Sesame Street ending up being shorn by quite a bit to make room for "Elmo's World".
    La la la la, la la la, please die already.

    There are so many genuine and great characters. Baby Bear, Murray Monster, Telly, Rosita, etc. We don't need this guy who just eats up all the time and hogs the spotlight.

    So just for arguments sake, how detrimental to sales and the overall company would it be if Sesame Workshop gently retired the Elmo character?

    I personally feel Sesame has been dragged down and tainted by the putrid smell of that banshee and reminds me of the kind of mindless garbage we see with Barney and Telletubbies.


    I refuse to even consider "Elmo" a Muppet character at this point.
    Elmo's dad gets injured fighting Iraqis or something in that military special. It should have been
    Elmo getting shot up overseas. Maybe we can get Elmo together with Takalani Sesame's Kami.

    And am CONVINCED that Elmo alone has sullied the name of the Muppets and Sesame Street much like Bush did with the name of America after 8 years.
  2. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    Isn't it kind of obvious what would happen?
  3. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    If you read "Street Gang", you'd know that if Elmo's World hadn't been put in, kids would've lost interest and the show would most likely be off the air now.
  4. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    On the one hand, i can understand the anger and frustration that comes from the original post. On the other hand, as much as we adult Muppet fans like to believe that the show is just as much for "us" as it is the preschooler's (because the whole idea was to provide childrens' programming that adults could sit through with their kids), we do need to keep in mind that at the end of the day, it is about the kids. (And with all the 40th anniversary hooplah that's easier said than done considering how much of the celebration is for those who were around for the majority of those 40 years.)

    But we're talking about kids that don't yet really know what an "anniversary" is or years away from being fully able to grasp concepts like loss or scarcity...they're still learning the a-b-c's that make up words that in turn represent concepts and ideas that will take some time for them to be able to "get"

    These are troubled times for adults and their families...kids are faced with the very real prospects of daddy (and mommy both) losing and not finding work, not always having adequate food on the table, etc. Sesame Street in general and Elmo in particular is a fuzzy constant feeling of security. As much as we may wish he was there less, the kids need him more than ever.

    I've seen the power he has - my nephews' children are just enchanted my him and sometimes Elmo is the only way to capture/keep their attention. We ... and maybe even SW ... may want to reduce his screentime and try to spread the wealth among the other characters but to a 3 year old, Sesame Street without Elmo is like The Muppet Show without Kermit (to fans of any age). In order for them to even do so, it would have to be a veeerrrry slow process. Literally season by season - reducing the number of episodes (days per week) Elmo's World comes on...they would have to do so a little bit at the time so kids waiting for what may be their favorite part of the show to come on can start to understand Elmo's World is a "sometimes" not "every day" thing while not disgruntling them altogether.

    And of course that's just the psychological aspect. Financially, as has been touched upon...as again the economy has already taken its toll on SW (layoffs) and less public/government support for PBS, they need that bread n butter to keep them going instead of "experimenting" with reducing the things that are saving their budgets/revenue.

    It's a very delicate balancing act akin to the effects the loss of a vital part of the ecosystem has on the planet when an important part of that process becomes an endangered species. I'm sure SW and Kevin Clash himself is well aware of the power of "the red menace" and want kids to accept its myriad of other cast members with the same degree as Elmo. It's not just us on this side of the screen that would like to see that happen. The anniversary is a great opportunity for them to play around a little more with doling out classic material on the show, merchandise, and online content. But it is still a fragile balance that they can't afford to have backfire too dramatically.
  5. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Kids like what they like. Elmo is like sugar to them, but SW has overloaded the show with the furry red guy. I work in a shop that carries Sesame toys and Elmo's the one that kids most identify with 3 to 1.

    Elmo serves a purpose and amazingly helped the show, however let's face it - Sesame Street wasn't really headed for cancellation. The Barney and Teletubby fads are over. Dora and Bob the Builder are fizzling out too. Sesame has stood the test of time and will continue to for decades to come. Sure, the format will change multiple times and how and where it is viewed might too. There might be fewer shows or the running length might change but that's due to the medium of television.

    :search: I would like to know what would have happened if SW producers had been more thoughtful about including more characters rather than slimming down the show to an Elmo and friends experience. I think there's more to be explored in the Sesame world than just Elmo's World and that hasn't been given a quality chance. Journey to Ernie was just a weird facsimile of Dora in its mild condescension of the audience members.

    :insatiable: Frank Oz has said that Sesame Street used to be a hip show for kids and their families where the performers were just fooling around with puppets. Education was there, but it wasn't as pasteurized and clinical. The PC crowd along with psychologists and educators geared the show away from what made it sparkle. The shine is still there, even with some Elmo moments, but it's not the same.

    :wisdom: It could be great again if they went back to the Street's roots and geared that to the modern day audience rather than using this copy of a copy of a copy. The 40th anniversary is a perfect time to do so. I hope this year is filled with special moments and throwbacks to the golden (or canary yellow) era of Sesame Street.
  6. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I'm with Jon Stone. If some kids don't want Sesame Street the way it ought to be, then they don't deserve it. ;)
  7. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I can agree with the sentiment, but not necessarily its application.

    Sesame Street was built on the idea of advertising letters and numbers to children in order to educate them. Television and the advertising medium are in a constant state of change and so should Sesame Street. However, some foundations should never change and there will always be lower and higher "avenues" to take. SS isn’t slumming it. I liken Elmo’s saturation to leveling Mr. Hooper’s store to build a strip mall because that’s “what the people want.” I sincerely believe that. :(

    There are always preferred characters in ensemble programs, but it’s the balance that makes each show shine. :search:
  8. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Honestly though, I think Television is on its way out and I wouldn't be surprised if it's gone in a few years. Programming has not kept up in quality and the Internet just has more advantages that are attractive to people.
  9. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    I don't know what gives you that idea.


    Most of TV is what it is because people are enjoying it.
  10. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    But you also gotta remember if not the PC crowd or phychologists the SW has always got their imput from educators.

    Even in its early years there were those who doubted SS and were critical of it.
  11. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Things I've read about and heard from experts in the field, like from lectures etc.

    It's not always that simple. Just because something's on the air doesn't mean it's getting great ratings. And just because something's taken off the air doesn't mean it wasn't popular.
  12. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Television is rapidly becoming an on-demand medium. Most things are either Tivo-ed, Hulu-ed, ituned or otherwise seen on platforms and formats that aren't considered traditional television viewing timeslots. Ultimately this will probably make many programs shorter. They'll be created, packaged and advertised quite differently. Traditional television is on life support.

    While educators were always at the heart of Sesame's pitch from the beginning it's been Jim Henson's Muppets that skirted the lines and in some cases disregarded strict guidelines. That's not the case today. Sesame Street is such a careful place. Frank Oz has remarked about that and I don’t believe that would have happened under Jim’s watch. The show he created doesn’t just have a different template; it’s been gutted in some crucial areas.
  13. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    And let's not also forget SS was not responsiable for creating SS even though he or Diseney today may have control over the muppet aspect of the series.
  14. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Jim Henson and his Muppets define Sesame Street even though the show idea was in place before he took the stage. SS without the Muppets is the Electric Company. While that was a quality program, it doesn't have a continuous 40 year history of new shows.

    (Disney now owns the Muppet Show and Babies characters. Sesame Workshop owns the Sesame Street cast except for Kermit.)
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'm gonna say this. I actually like Elmo... though, frankly 80's-early 90's monstery Elmo when he would talk loud, selfishly, and like an actual 3 year old. But I agree 100% here.

    Let's face it. Barney the Dinosaur literally ruined kid's television. He smashed on the scene with his squeaky clean conservative suburban schoolhouse, and his forced songs with forced lyrics forced into public domain songs so they wouldn't have to write any themselves..... and most of all, the concept of one big fat character and a couple pointless assistants dancing around him, like he's some sort of freaky cult leader. And I think SS had to take that into the show to stay competitive... EVEN THOUGH he was on the same network. Then came Nick Jr. and Blues Clues... and viola! the perfect PC, squeaky clean, Elmo-centric Sesame Street that 3 year olds LOVE.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I understand the appeal of a 3 year old character when your target audience keeps regressing in age. Big Bird used to be the star of the show, but in a modest, share the spotlight sort of way. I know Kermit was on Sesame Street... but he was the Kermit the Frog of Sesame Street (in the sense of what Kermit was on the Muppet Show). He worked with EVERY character, and worked well. Elmo can't. Sure, Elmo's great with Zoe, he's fine with Oscar... even Telly, Baby Bear, Rosita and Abby (and by definition, Big Bird)...but, it's like the more popular he got, the more distant he was from the actual characters in the show.

    The sad thing is... and this just gets me... they actually want to CHANGE everything back the way it is, but they can't. They dug themselves too deep. They got rid of Global Grover, Journey to Ernie, Time to Play, Monster Clubhouse, Hero Guy, and all that without complaint. They aired one test show without Elmo's World and they got nothing but whiny kids wondering where Elmo was. Hense, why I always compare the audience to Rainman.

    A very good point. The problem was, they weren't the anal retentive, read too far into things, make a name for themselves so they can sell books types that totally choke up true child psychology today. I'm surprised they didn't have to permanently dye Elmo blue, since red is too distracting. The same types that feel that Cookie Monster is making kids fat (not laziness and poor parenting), and Oscar's grouchiness might somehow make some kid somewhere unhappy. They keep giving SW conflicting reports about everything, and the show has no choice to incorporate them. Again, this is why the show is like this. Pseudo-cologists throwing their 2 cents in... and basically their 2 cents is "Conform to nick Jr." look what they did to Mickey Mouse.

    Much as I hate the Elmo-fication of SS, I can't even blame the character. And if they were to retire him now, they'd just give us Abby all the time until it came out of our ears.
  16. Kuriboh Man

    Kuriboh Man Active Member

    so what exactly are you saying here.
  17. APRena

    APRena New Member

    Elmo got so... un-Elmoish, and to this day it still makes me sad.

    I was around Elmo's age when he started to "grow up" in a sense, in the early 90s. He got quieter, so unlike me I got mad at him. Elmo couldn't be mature if I wasn't! :cry:And then they started Elmo's World, and that was okay, I remember it only being like 10 or 15 minutes.

    But then came Elmopalooza and the 20 minute Elmo's World's and by then everything was terrible. Elmo's superstardom meant less Big Bird, almost NO Grover, nothing good came of it. And now it seems like Elmo is the only thing that holds kids' attention. So maybe the downfall of Elmo would teach them to love the REST of SS, like it was meant to be.
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Ehhhmmm... well, Grover had actually been featured more in recent years... but that one was because of Frank Oz's lessening involvement in the show and increased attention to his movie career... Ever since Eric took on the role, we've been seeing a LOT more of him. But other than that... yeah.
  19. muppets2

    muppets2 New Member

    they should just let other charcthers have more segments so then elmo wont be that much in the spotlight as much as he is now:eek:
  20. muppet baby

    muppet baby Active Member

    i have to say this that , i like elmo and yes though at times he does still the spot light and that does get a bit over bearing but he is a cute little guy and he is a big part of SS .

    I had a class mate when i was in high school who loved him we where in 7th grade and all during the time up until we all graguated from high school she had a elmo watch and a elmo back pack LOL . She even took her elmo doll on over night class trips we took i thought that was just the coolest .

    I thought that was so cool and all during that time i watched ss when ever i had the time , school was so hecktic for me that it was not that much unforcanatlly . i watch ss on a regulear basis now so cool .


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