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What year did it all change for the worst?

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by JimmyGillentine, Oct 28, 2006.

  1. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    May I ask why was it bad they made Snuffy known to everyone? I mean if you liked it the other way around that's OK but personally but to me it was pointless that he kept missing the grownups. I'm glad BB finally had the chance to let everyone know he was real.
  2. Taco Monster

    Taco Monster Member

    I'm kind of indifferent about that change myself, probably because I grew up with Snuffy being visible to everyone. I was just pointing out that a lot of people didn't like that change. I could see where both sides are coming from.
  3. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Yeah, for me it was normal that Snuffy was visible to the adults. It's weird for me to see older episodes with the adults not believing Big Bird. You can see why it became a problem, I think. Big Bird is so frustrated and upset that the adults won't listen to him. It created a bit of a gulf between him (the kid) and the adults, which is obviously not good for the show's kiddie audience to see.

    I mean, a lot of kiddie shows have the kid characters keeping secrets from their parents. But Sesame Street was supposed to be educational and a bit more realistic (despite the Muppets).

    But I can see if you grew up during the "invisible years", you may not have liked the change.
  4. GeeBee

    GeeBee New Member

    As has often been noted before, Snuffy was never invisible to anyone back then. The grown-ups just missed his presence. The belief that Snuffy was unseen due to invisibility is a myth that has gotten perpetuated over the recent years and was further confused by the recent episode where he did become briefly invisible by magic.

    Snuffy's bad timing when it came to the adults was a running gag that I grew up with as a child, and it never bothered me. I just accepted it as part of the show's plot, similar to other irresolvable plotlines on TV shows, such as Lois Lane never discovering Superman's identity, Gilligan and the crew never getting rescued off the island, etc.

    For what it's worth, I really don't believe such a plot line made children more vulnerable to child abuse. As I've noted once before, Snuffy was a benevolent friend, not a malevolent one. If a character had been scaring Big Bird or hurting Big Bird and none of the adults would believe or help him, then there would have been a problem. But, I doubt that such a storyline would have ever been written to begin with. Despite what Sesame Workshop might say these days, the Children's Television Workshop knew what they were doing and it worked or else the show would not have lasted so long.

    Having said all of that, if Sesame Street has to be a saga with a continuing storyline, it might have been a good move to finally allow Snuffy to be discovered by the adults, simply because they were running out of ideas for the ongoing gag where he's missed by the adults. They had done almost every scenario possible and it may have been time for a change. I enjoyed the episode where Snuffy got discovered and I have enjoyed seeing him interact with the rest of the cast. It's all good (at least up until recently :) ).
  5. GeeBee

    GeeBee New Member

    I think Jim Henson had much more influence on the show than people realize. No, he didn't run the show, but he owned all of muppets that made the program a success; that had to give him some creative control.

    Joe Raposo and Richard Hunt were definitely a huge part of the show's success.

    Also, don't underestimate the significance Northern Calloway as David had in the program. He used to work for Mr. Hooper and then inherited the business from him. David running Hooper's store was a true link to Mr. Hooper's memory.

    Of course, none of these losses were anything that Sesame Workshop had control over. At the same time, I wish they would have made more of an attempt to keep the spirit of their styles alive on the show.
  6. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I just think every successful, long-running show eventually loses its luster. You can't keep it up forever, it's impossible. I think the company also tried conforming to what was currently popular in kid's entertainment. But you can't go back home again.
  7. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    Well no matter whether you like today's SS or not they need to keep up with the times and do what's best for the audience of today. They come first.
  8. GeeBee

    GeeBee New Member

    Funny thing though, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, an equally successful educational show for children, never felt the need to change with the times, yet it's still being rerun today and its benefit for today's children is completely recognized. Guess it ultimately comes down to the philosophy of the people who run the programs.
  9. JLG

    JLG Member

    Regarding Snuffy, that reminds me of a side note to the "invisibility" thing----the adults always missed seeing Snuffy, but kids didn't. I think the little girl in the old Christmas show (can't recall her name) saw him. And I just saw #406 for the first time and was surprised to see Snuffy hanging out with a whole bunch of kids---sans The Bird. Granted, that was pretty early on in "the Snuffy saga" and they might have later decided that things like that violated the gag too much, but I still get a kick out of imagining Big Bird begging all his kid friends to tell the adults that Snuffy's real. (Maybe they tried and weren't believed either...:) )
  10. GeeBee

    GeeBee New Member

    As far as I can recall, the human children were always able to meet Snuffy and know he was real as well. They just didn't seem to be as concerned with proving his existance as Big Bird was.
  11. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict New Member

    yeah. And it also probably the type of show the both of them are. SS though does deal with feelings and relations it's still probably more grammer and Mr. Rogers is mainly on feelings. Sometimes I question what the experts think and it's OK to do that. I'm sure they're not always right. I mean I watched SS at age 2. I couldn't of been the only one. But who knows.
  12. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    I can fully agree with that. I guess I just don't have as much of a problem with there philosophy.
  13. JimmyGillentine

    JimmyGillentine New Member

    My two kids, Mallory who is 11 and my son Noah who is 8, where with me this weekend and I let them watch my copy of SS Old School. They laughed at all of the funny skits and loved the old school SS. My daughter then told me that SS sure was better when I was a kid! :) Maybe by trying to improve somethings they really hurt the show in some ways.
  14. DTF

    DTF Member

    I agree about them running out of ways to have the adults miss Snuffy - I don't remember him as much in the "adutls missing him" mode, since it was the erly to middle 1970s. There's only so much you can do, and they handled it in a neat way.

    I think the biggest thing I notice is the format change, but I think any time creators die, it leaves a huge void that is probably the biggest reason for that change; Fred Rogers, obviously, was the main force behind Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

    Jim Henson and the others were not only great performers, but visionaries to be able to create Sesame Street and keep things going so well. What I wonderis, what happens when the current crop of performers pass on. I'm not sure about her health, but it seems pretty clear that Susan is being phased out. When some of the older adults pass on, what happens? Do the people at SW have the vision to keep things going and create a new generation? Or, maybe the better question is, how much are these people (The actors and the last of the old-time Muppet performers like Carroll Spinney (sp?)) still involved?
  15. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    Well, theres a lot to be taken into consideration here. Sesame is targeted at 2 to 4 year old's now for whatever reason. And you're kids and 8-11 JG. I mean their taste could have changed sense they were the right age for the show, or like you said, it's probably just better then even a couple years ago when they were younger.

    I guess I should say that I don't totally dissagree with there philosophy and this is just my Opinion here, but even if the old show is better, I don't think they would be on the air today if they didn't change things around. But sense the show is like an expireiment any way, thay will continue to changs thing's, get rid of new things, bring back old things and visa versa and just fiddle around with the show in general. This ahow was made to mess with in the first place. Maybe thay could make it bette then it is right now, but as long as thay find somthing that works and is affective, then I guess that's what count's then. I mean if six million perschoolers whatch it every day and their parents are pleasd with the results, I say give um what thay want.
  16. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    It's just that popularity doesn't equal quality. Millions of teenagers listen to violent music, it doesn't mean they should. (And no, I'm not comparing SS to violent music).

    To me, if a quality product is no longer popular, then you try harder to convince people. You don't change the quality of your work to please the audience. But, that's the TV industry for you.

    But I'm not going to get into that discussion again. :)
  17. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets New Member

    Right, it is hard to keep that kind of quality for that many year's. Ithink the show has change slowly form one decade to another more then it get's credit for. But it just that it has so much history to it, so it's hard to make a call for a falling point. But the relity is in ordered to compete with the television maket out there, it has to make these nessarry changes for better or worse. But I'm not about to say six million people are wrong either.
  18. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    I guess that's our difference, I have no problem saying that. Lol ;)
  19. GeeBee

    GeeBee New Member


    But if it comes down to that, didn't a large number of children watch Sesame Street through the 70's and 80's? And weren't parents pleased with the results in those decades too? If the old format had not produced positive results in entertainment and education, I doubt that the show would have lasted past 1969 when the whole idea was very much an experiment.
  20. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Sesame Workshop can distribute whatever it owns with Kermit however it wants (I think). SW has permission from Disney. SW just chooses not to show very much Kermit in new episodes.

    And there haven't been very many new Kermit sketches on Sesame Street since Jim Henson's death in 1990. Even though Steve Whitmire took over the character later that year, Steve Whitmire didn't perform Kermit again (at least not as far as I know) untill The Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992. And when he began performing Kermit, he didn't perform on Sesame Street. Steve Whitmire would take over as Ernie in 1993, but even then, I don't think Steve Whitmire spent very much time performing on Sesame Street a year for a few years, untill at least 1997. In Elmo Saves Christmas, Whitmire performed Kermit, but I don't think he performed Ernie in that special, since Ernie didn't talk in it. I don't know if he needed time to grow into the role of Ernie, or if he was too busy with other productions (The Animal Show with Stinky and Jake, Muppets Tonight, etc) to perform on Sesame Street as often as the other performers. I think that his Sesame Street schedule might have started out something like Frank Oz's schedule. Even after Steve Whitmire began performing Ernie on a much more regular basis, he hasn't performed many other Sesame Street characters. I wouldn't be surprised if Steve Whitmire and Carol Spinney have performed the exact same number of characters on Sesame Street.

    Eventually, Steve Whitmire began performing soem Kermit scenes on Sesame Street, including appearances in the episodes where Slimey lands on the moon and comes back, a sketch where Grover tries to sell Kermit a flashlight (Muppet Wiki mentions two skits where Whitmire performed Kermit, with the other one being about light and dark and featuring Grover, but I'm not sure if these are actually the same skit or different), Kermit reporting on the hurricane, and Kermit introducing the sogn Ev'rybody Be Yo'self (the last two appearnces mentioend were actually done after Henson sold the rights to the Sesame Street characters, and before Disney got the rights).

    Ironically, whether Whitmire slowly began performing Ernie on a much more regular basis or if he always performed Ernie regularly, it seems like Steve Whitmire (and Eric Jacopson) performs on Sesame Street less now, maybe because he performs Kermit who is owned by Disney. I know that Henson would have worked aroudn his schedule more, but I'm not sure if Disney is working around the schedule as much, or if Disney is giving Whitmire so much work as a performer that he doesn't have as much time to perform on Sesame Street. Back in 2004, when Sesame Street was celebrating it's anniversary, Ernie, Bert, and Grover were all appearing in street stories and apeparing in a lot of new sketches, and even in the years earlier they appeared frequently on the street thanks to having new performers who weren't as busy (I beleive Jacopson began performing Frank Oz's characters after Henson sold it's ownership of the Sesame Street Muppets). These characters also had major roles in direct-to-video productions such as What's the Name of That Song?, A Celebration of Me, Grover!, and Happy Healthy Monster, but now these characters have gone back to appearing in inserts only. I think in the last two years there have only been a handful of new skits with Ernie, Bert, and Grover (and Frank Oz has performed Grover in a few newer skits).


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