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What's the story with Sesame Park

Discussion in 'Sesame Worlds' started by ScottMonster, Jan 9, 2003.

  1. ScottMonster

    ScottMonster Well-Known Member

    ...No not the amusement park, the TV show :)

    For those that don't know, "Sesame Park" is/was the Canadian version of Sesame Street that the CBC has aired since about 1995 or 96. But for many years before that the CBC aired a "Canadianized" version of the U.S show, which was basically the same only they would delete skits teaching Spanish and replace them with ones teaching French as well as the "real life" skits of daily routines like visiting the doctors, going grocery shopping etc if they reflected a U.S cultural setting and so would replace them with similar ones shot in Canadian cities. But other than that, it was still pretty much the same as the original American show. Then in the late 80s, the CBC brought in more
    original Canadian skits, including ones that featured some distinctly Canadian "muppets" such as Basil the Polar Bear, Chaos the Kitten, and Louis, a bilingual French speaking otter. The reason I use the term muppets in quotation marks is because even though these characters had the trademark muppet design or "look" (colourful foam and fleece creations with black and white eyes and mouths which showed a tongue and tonsils inside)I am unsure as to wether they were designed by the Henson company or not. Anyway, the Canadian material grew up to the point where Canada simply joined the ranks of the other countries that had their own version of the U.S show, which started airing as Sesame Park in the mid 90s. The setting is/was a Canadian playground because according to the CBC, the inner-city setting of the American show was deemed to "foreign" to Canadian viewers. But the show only runs for half an hour and features only about three or four muppet skits that are from the "real" Sesame Street. However it's worth mentioning that it doesn't have "Elmo's World", and in fact skits that featured Elmo, Zoe or any of the newer characters were rarely seen on SP at all.

    But ever since the fall season started, the CBC appears to have
    dropped it. Does anyone know if it was in fact cancelled and why?
  2. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Heh...well at least it isnt like the German version of SS(where its actually just called 'SS'; where everyone wears short khaki uniforms, reads Nietszche, and listens to Wagnerian operas.

    There's a Muppet called Chaos? wow, that is edgy for the time!

    "foreign" eh? That is some interesting lingo by the CDC...
    I think we know what they really want to say there;)

    Well, aside from the CDC's desire to keep urban America from being portrayed in Canada, at least you guys dont have to suffer through freaking Elmo's world. I mean Im not a Elmo hater, but dang why they need to devote a huge chunk of Sesame time to Elmo?
  3. punkNpuppets

    punkNpuppets Well-Known Member

    sesame park rulez!

    but i'm not sure bout it bein a henson production, but i have seen that duck that was in "Baa baa bamba" (with Luis, some sheep, gladys, and a butt ugly cat) and that one little foam pig with the wicked long snout. so basically, in a way, u can call it a muppet production.
  4. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Although I don't know exactly why CBC cancelled Sesame Park, I'd imagine it is because the show (in it's 100% Canadian form) had run for five years and that gives them enough episodes to run repeats.

    Because with the launch of Sesame Park (which was mainly done because the CBC wanted to make it's schedule 100% Canadian content) CBC assumed all the production costs of the show. Despite running programs like Friendly Giant, Mr. Dressup and Sesame Street in all it various forms for decades in the past, CBC seems to now prefer to produce a reasonable number of episodes for each series then cancel it and rerun it for several more years.

    The other problem with Canadian Sesame Street is that because it is distinctly Canadian it's not feasible to sell it to broadcasters in other countries which makes it difficult to finance.
  5. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

  6. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    It's all very intersting. I do find it disturbing how they hint at deleting all the hispanic characters. I also find it peculiar that the show was canceled this year. Are there any products of the Canadian puppets out there? I'd enjoy seeing them. :p

    By the way, here's an image link I found. http://www3.cbc.ca/imagegallery/television/children/park/park.html
  7. Muppetsdownunder

    Muppetsdownunder Well-Known Member

    Sesame Park is a Henson production! I am pretty sure anyway, I have been watching the few muppet videos I have this weekend and I was watching "The World of Jim Henson" documentary and it has small snippets from all the differerent productions of sesame street worldwide including the Canadian one, this documentary only features Henson stuff since it is about him so I am pretty sure it is a Henson production, theres so many productions that Henson have either produced or been a part of through creature shop etc.

  8. Hays

    Hays Well-Known Member

    It is important to remember that Sesame Workshop is trying to tailor programs to fit the needs of the specific viewers.

    Certainly, as a half-hispanic growing up in the 70s, Sesame Street offered me role models that just weren't around outside of West Side Story. But my other "half" is mostly Canadian - and there just aren't enough hispanics in Canada to warrant a strong focus on the culture.

    The French issue in Canada is a very real one, and needs attention. I'm glad that someone as thoughtful as Sesame Workshop is making an attempt to bridge the two cultures.
  9. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    That's absolutely right Hays, it wasn't a matter of "deleting" Spanish characters and segments, it's just that those segments aren't nearly as culturally relevant here as they are in the U.S. Canada is actually an officially bilingual country (our national languages are english and french) and while we have transformed ourselves in to the most multicultural society in the world, the country was founded on the basis of a partnership between French and English colonies so in many ways the inclusion of French is even more relevant here than the inclusion of Spanish in the United States.

    Sesame Park was actually not a Henson production. The Muppet workshop did build the puppets and the puppeteers were mostly Fraggle Rock veterans, but the show was produced by CBC in Toronto. The show's previous incarnation Canadian Sesame Street (or Sesame Street Canada) was the U.S. version of the show produced by Sesame Workshop with fifteen minutes of Canadian content produced by the CBC.

    There have never really been any toys based on the show here (Canada is such a small market that they rarely do toys based on shows only seen here) but there could have been a book or two. "Basil Hears A Noise" (a CBC special) has been available on video here for several years.

    There haven't been any new episodes done for a couple of years (reruns are still on TV on weekends mostly I think) and I suspect it was probably cancelled because after five years they had more than enough episodes and stopping the show frees up money for other programs. Also, it was an expensive show to produce and because it's uniquely Canadian, CBC couldn't sell it or co-produce it with broadcasters outside of Canada like they usually do with their other kids shows.
  10. ScottMonster

    ScottMonster Well-Known Member

    In addition to the hispanic population element, blacks also don't comprise as large a segment of the Canadian population they way they do in the U.S. It's true that black slavery WAS practiced here as well, just not to the same extent as it was in the U.S. And it was abolished sooner because we were a British colony. But most blacks in Canada now are Carribean/West Indian in origin.

    I'm also inclined to wonder if the fact that any Canadian version of Sesame Street has always had to "compete" with the original U.S show was another factor influencing the CBC's decision. What I mean by that is because we're America's neighbour and because roughly three quarters of Canada's population is concentrated in close proximity to the U.S border, that means we have immediate access to all the major American networks including PBS and did Canadian kids simply just prefer the original American show over the Canadian one?
  11. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I don't know how much that was a factor in CBC's decisions with the show. The decision to make Sesame all-Canadian was spurred (in part) by ongoing complaints that the show was a US import (CBC defended that for years by saying it was an excellent US import) and primarily because around 1995 the CBC had a mandate (some would say pipedream) to make it's schedule 100% Canadian content. One of the first areas where this was implemented was in children's programming and thus Sesame Park was born.

    Sesame Park is not the first international Sesame to be cancelled. The Chinese version of the show only lasted a few years and the Isreali/Palestinian co-production (which grew out of the Isreali version of the show) was put on hiatus a few years ago at the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising.

    Does anyone know if the Russian show is still running? I know it was as recently as three years ago.

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