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Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by beaker, Aug 25, 2009.
i guess youre right they need more time on the street and not so many segments
While part of me is a bit worried at the length of Abby's new segment, the other part of fine is content thinking they'll find a way around it, time-wise. Take last year for example: Murray and Ernie&Bert's adventures took up a LOT of time, and we got one or two episodes that ended up like this (Murray's the only Muppet bit in the whole dern show!) But, other times, we got episodes like this and this (which have a basically substantial amount of segments and some good ones at that).
EDIT: Just doing the math now, take the 55 minute show. Subtract 15 minutes for EW, 15 for the street story and 8 for Abby. There's a little less than 20 minutes in the show, so Lord knows what they fill that time with.
I used to blame Elmo's takeover for ruining Sesame Street years ago; I've even had anti-Elmo rant threads deleted from these forums (and the mods had a good reason to do it!). Since then, I've gained a little more perspective: Elmo himself is not a bad character. Granted, I liked him a lot better when he was just one more supporting Muppet among many and didn't dominate a third of the show. Still, if 3-year-olds are watching TV differently and identify strongly with a character who thinks like them, I can't change their minds--or the minds at Sesame Workshop.
On the other hand...I miss the days when Sesame Street was truly watchable by all ages, and when it had far more time to teach more material at a leisurely pace. Children need those kinds of lessons as much as they do the 15-second jingles about nutrition, environmental problems, and playing physically. Learning that sinks in, even on TV, doesn't have to be nonstop flash-bang-boom. How many of us still remember those 4-minute films of real people doing ordinary things, narrated by a kid on the scene?
How do we get the best of both worlds, then? Keep Elmo and his flagship segment on Sesame Street--but make it shorter, about the length of "Murray Had a Little Lamb." Some of the existing EW format could be dropped without dropping educational value: the Noodles, the CGI counting spot, the infamous topic song at the end. (I'd still keep the e-mail segment as a link between Elmo and other characters, and still have real kids demonstrating "How do you do [something relevant to the topic]?"...but drop the pointless asking-a-baby moment.) With Elmo's World trimmed down but not gone, the target audience could keep their favorite character and still have time to learn other material.
Ernie and Bert's great adventures is a segment? Over here its a short childrens show in its own right, just watched it this morning, I usually only tune in to this little kid's channel to watch The Mr Men Show which I think is entertaining for all ages.
Like many of the older fans, I wouldn't insist on retiring Elmo altogether, just restoring his old status as an equal of the other Muppet characters. The last few seasons of Sesame Street have carved it up into too many one-Muppet showcase segments--something that other countries have resolved by making those long segments into separate mini-shows.
If the spinoff approach doesn't work in the US, why not include a different character showcase for each episode? For instance--Abby Cadabby's new segment on Mondays, Bert and Ernie's Great Adventure on Tuesdays, Elmo's World on Wednesdays, and so forth? (The featured characters might still appear in a street scene or celebrity moment during the rest of the week, to keep kids from missing their favorites altogether.)
While I love the idea of alternating segments, it would never work well because the episodes aren't shown in a consistent fashion anymore.
That's basically how I feel, and I have felt. I think Elmo gets the blame because he rose as the star when all this terrible stuff was happening to the show... again, I bring up the intense struggle of the 1990's, trying to find its voice. Elmo pretty much has carried the show for those kids since they got rid of the around the corner experiment. Again, the true blame lies in with the young turks in children's entertainment. SS came from an era of bland shows like Ding Dong School and Romper Room... and they were about the only things out there, now SS has to compete with Nick Jr. and Playhouse Disney... even Cartoon Network tried (And failed roundly) one of these "for the money" line ups. Where does a 40 year "dinosaur" of a show stand when it even has to compete with its own network? I keep saying, no wonder everyone says the show went downhill.
Actually, SS has always been Flash-Bang-Boom... sort of like Laugh in or SNL. The "Commercials" for letters and numbers and randomly inserted skits was the Flash boom that they always had... sure, they had a lot of longer segments, but they had a lot of much, much shorter ones too. Like that Herry sleeping letter Z skit. What was that? Barely 30 seconds long?
Now, I totally agree that they're trying to shove way too much into a 50 minute TV show. Doesn't help the matter that PBS stingily asks only for 26 episodes. And of course, (something else I've been saying) conflicting reports from various educators and psychologists (some from reliable sources, some from hack pop psychologists) that say that kids need to learn 400000000 subjects in 50 minutes. What really bugs me is that they can still handle these subjects on a basis of themed episodes... one episode about environmentalism, one on health and fitness, one on reading... etc. But they have to do all of these in a real in your face way, reiterating, repeating, and all loudly. And you wind up getting quantity education through bad segments about eating all colors of the rainbow or something.
They still have those, and some seem to be getting longer... can't say I ever appreciated them. Some were good, but others just made me ansty until I saw a muppet or cartoon segment.
Another thing I've been saying for a while. Murray is a GREAT segment, don't get me wrong. But they don't need to have the guessing game segment or theme song... that's a couple minutes right there. EW, even with the Noodles could have cuts here and there making it half its length.
Yeah... that rerun/new episode/rerun pattern. that really kills any chance of that. Seems like they're trying to alternate some segments (E&BGA wasn't on every episode last season), and they want to go back to a less consistent (read rigid) format where the letter and number segments change times every episode... too bad PBS won't let them do more than 26 episodes a year. Or even cheat and make more "episodes" out of pre-existing episodes with different footage like they did in the old days to bulk up the season.
But hey! I've seen seasons of Arthur that are literally a week or less worth of episodes.
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