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Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by JimmyGillentine, Oct 28, 2006.
2002(the format change) was the worst year. No doubt about it...
And with every year since 2002, it's been striking me how different the show feels. (Sorry, it's hard to find a better word than that) While they do still have a part of the show that I call "Miscellany Time" (the old format in miniature where a bunch of older material is shown rather randomly as in days of yore), the newer stuff is beginning to feel so different that it's unrecognizable. Hard to pinpoint it in concrete terms. The direction, the kind of humor, the sound mixing, the brighter colors on the set, the style of acting, the overall tone---everything, really. Plus, the newer animation is almost completely computerized, which exists in a totally different universe than drawn animation. And those new health-related segments tie into the "get organized" mentality that's been driving Sesame Street in recent years--the idea that things have to be more routine and focused because kids learn through consistency. Sort of a "school" feeling. The show never felt like that before, so that's a BIG change, to me.
All these changes may be subtle on their own but boy, do they add up. Put them together with the bigger changes everyone always talks about, especially older cast members being barely around anymore, and it's really a cold shower. This little place that we've all known so well since our days as infinks now has a completely different personality, and truth be told, it makes me kind of sad. I wish I could "go home" again, but the only way to do that is to watch old tapes. It's just weird when something that stayed the same for eons (especially by television standards---sheesh) completely overhauls itself in less than a decade.
Like, discombobulating, maaaann....
It's not so weird, entire stations have gone down hill in just a few short years.
What stations are you referring to?
Certainly Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel among others, both now in need of serious defibrilation.
Cartoon Network radically transformed itself in really just two years--2002 to 2004, I would say.
I never did grow up with the old Disney Channel ( ), so I can't compare the modern one to anything. All I know is, I've discovered that I'm not the only one who calls it "The Teeny-Bopper Network".
It's awful. I can feel my brain cells dying painfully whenever I watch it for a few minutes.
Agreed. Cartoon Network has gone downhill. All they show is that Anime crap. Compared to this and Nickelodeon, i'd say Disney is the only good kids channel left though.
Da rat speaketh . . . for me, the whole thing blew up when Kevin Clash took over the role of Elmo and was pushed to the front.Next thing we know, "'cute and cloying" are the the catchwords, and we are left with a red menace, a sibilant bear and a monster with an annoying laugh and a tutu.
Well, the new genaration of charcthers aren't so bad. It's just when they get overused, they start being annoying. Of course I'm refering to Elmo, Zoe, Telly, and Baby Bear.
p.s., I think Kevin Clash sounds like a very nice guy. Has anyone ever met him? I would like to. I would love to meet ALL the Muppeteers!
Well, I agree it's mainly the overexposure. But I also have to agree that the characters have become just a little too cute and harmless, heh.
I think that "Global Grover" is good. I like the live segments mixed with puppets, and how it explores different cultures. Anyone with me on that? If Sesame Street introduced more segements like it, I think kids (and adults) would have more to enjoy.
Do you remember that horrific sketch, "Monster Playhouse?" Not only was it dumb on the level of Barney and Friends, it wasn't even educational! At least SS got rid of that a few years ago. So maybe things are slightly on the upswing. Let's look towards the future, people!
What are you confused about? Now I'm confused!
Actually, I did make one small mistake; the segment was called "Monster Clubhouse" not "Playhouse" See for yourself, here: http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Monster_Clubhouse
It was a truly awful sketch, with a bunch of monster muppets running around yelling "Monster Time! Monster Time!" Thank goodness it's gone...
Remember when the Clubhouse monsters would sing their theme to the tune of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm"? ("M-O-N-S-T-E-R, C-L-U-B house...") I got so annoyed with it that I started singing parody lyrics: "S-T-U-P-I-D song, D-U-M-B song!"
Oy, don't remind me! It's gotta be the most insipid recurring sketch Sesame Street has ever done , even worse than Elmo's World, which at least is ostensibly educational.
But like some others said, I really don't have anything against the newer characters like Rosita (who isn't even really that new, considering that she came from the Plaza Sesamo), or Baby Bear. And Telly, he's been around a long time! It really is that younger-aimed writing combined with the repetitive formating and too much Elmo's World that takes away from the program. I still have hope that it will improve. It is a constantly changing show, and still has many positive qualities compared to most children's programming.
The funny thing is that Elmo is not even part of a new or current generation of characters. I mean 21 years in his current form? Truth be told, he more like used in a "New generation" of characters who are all becoming not that new because I remember when they premiard and it's been forever for someone who had never left the show. But more or less so, he's more like the ring leader for them. It's just at a time when they needed new characters, they came out with all these now characters who didn't work. They were more modeled after the older ones that had been in used sense the beginning. But for some reason like stated before, the boomed, either the audience did respond well to them because this times were changing, or it was simple because they liked the classic characters better and did not want new one's starting to replace them. Or they just didn't hold a candle to the originals. it was the late seventies, early eighties, and like all show, they have to do something to stay fresh after so mane years. But it only turns out that Elmo happened to be the last of it's kind. Sort of a last hope it you will. He was basically the lone character from this time period to make it out alive and work, and work well he did. I believe it was because of this that he became a sort of model for what worked so Sesame street, and as long as he was working, I guess he needed other characters his age and similar to him because it works and he proved that it did and the audience response to him was so positive. Maybe Sesame Street felt that this was the direction they needed to go in at the time. It's like Mr. Clash had stated in in interview, A writer who really liked the character started writing a lot more for him or something to that affect!
Not necessarily trying to defend out little red friend, but just trying to get to the bottom of why he is so dominate in today's show.
Honestly. I believe it was in 2001 when the show changed for the worst. Yes, Elmo's World debut in 1998. But even during the first few seasons they had it. They still aired older stuff,and it seems like they were trying to keep the show the way it used to be yet still keep up with the times. But once the 32nd season came around they started phasing in the new format with Monster clubhouse and rarely showed anything from the golden era. JMO
There's a definitive answer to this question, IMHO: it was 1993, when Season 25 began and the Around the Corner set was added. OK, one could argue Sesame Street lost a bit of its edge when Snuffy was made "real" in 1985. But, to me, the show at that time was still brilliant, although perhaps a bit less brilliant than at its peak in the 1970s.
The years 1990-1992 were "transitional years" for me. Once Joe Raposo and Jim Henson died, you could see some of the changes taking effect (most notably the changing of the theme song in 1992). However, Sesame Street was still putting out some decent material. Then something happened that destroyed children's television forever in 1992... Barney premiered on PBS.
This obviously had a major impact on the producers at Sesame Street, because when Season 25 rolled around, Sesame Street was a completely different show. I remember being excited about Season 25. I read about the changes planned in TV Guide before the season began, and I thought they would be good for the show.
Then I tuned in to those first few Season 25 episodes, and I literally remember thinking, "*** is this junk?!?" The show had become instantly "Barnified": the music became saccharine and annoying. New, soulless, aggravating characters like Zoe were introduced and got prime air time. Worst of all, one of the hallmarks of Sesame Street was eliminated: spontaneous conversations/interactions between the kids and the adults were all but eliminated. There was now an increased reliance on child actors, and almost all dialogue was now scripted. Jon Stone fought tooth and nail against these changes, but lost the battle in the end. (Michael Davis' book Street Gang describes this metamorphosis of Sesame Street wonderfully.)
So, even though I still watch Sesame Street occasionally just to see what changes from season to season, the show really lost me in that 25th season. It's a shame, because I consider the Sesame Street that existed from 1969 until 1990 to be the greatest television show of all time.
I can't stress enough that it was the fault of that completely disgusting antithesis of Sesame Street (a clean, conservative, suburban neighborhood with a little red school house... the safest of safe). Kid's programming had to have that cult mentality of worshiping one major character (guess what that lead to), and we didn't have that sense of community Sesame Street has. Even 1980's shows like Zoobile Zoo featured a community of different characters. Barney was all about going after school to basically worship a purple plush doll.
As bad as that was, however, the next big blow was Blue's Clues, where they started shoving imaginary interactivity into the mix. The answering the TV back after a lengthy pause? The very slow talking? That was Blue. Elmo's World was the first attempt at doing Blue's Clues, the (thankfully ended) Journey to Ernie was their second.
You see... that's a level of Sesame Street purism that annoys me. Blaming characters for existing. We lost Jim and Richard at that point, and Frank Oz wasn't at the same capacity he was when the show started (and that started back in the 80's). Now, we still could have Telly, Big Bird, Oscar, Prairie Dawn, all of Jerry's characters, and a few others... but there were voids that needed to be filled, not to mention the lack of female characters.
Now, consider this. There were a LOT of characters created in the mid-90's during the around the corner era. Zoe, Baby Bear, and Rosita are all that survived. BUT, we have since recast most classic character roles. Frank Oz does come in time to time, but Eric does a marvelous job with Bert and Grover. We have the key classic characters back in the series, and back in the merchandising presence they desperately needed. To think there was a time when an Oscar plush toy was revolutionary.
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