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Why is Sesame Street slowly dying?

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by timrikthegorf, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. Censored

    Censored Well-Known Member

    Some say I've made my opinions crystal clear and they are sick of hearing them; others ask for more clarification.

    I do think I've basically spelled out what I don't like about the modern show. The format has radically changed. They're afraid to make a move without consulting the "experts" about the latest "studies". They show very few old clips. Most old shows are not available to complement the new ones. And basically, the current producers seem ashamed of the rich history that made Sesame Street famous so many years ago and seem to be trying to bury it.

    Are these the worst things in the world? Absolutely not. Are they some of the worst things to happen to Sesame Street? I believe they are.
  2. Censored

    Censored Well-Known Member

    It only becomes an issue of people's right to say things when personal attacks are hurled at others for expressing opinions about the show. If you trace these threads all the way back, you'll find that I've never initiated a personal attack and have only responded in self defense.

    I do find it funny that the very people who cry the loudest about my "negativity" on modern Sesame Street, paraphrase exactly what I say in their own negative posts about the current show. :crazy:
  3. MeepEeep

    MeepEeep Active Member

    Here's my thoughts on the matter

    From what I recall, growing up Sesame Street was the ONLY kids show on TV. Now today you have Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network. It's alot of competition, much more than there was when Sesame Street first started out.

    So I think that could explain what's going on.
  4. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict Well-Known Member

    it wasn't the only kids show on TV. what are you talking about?
  5. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf Well-Known Member

    It's not that it was the only kids show on TV, but it certainly was recognized as being a cut above all the rest in terms of popularity, even ahead of shows like Captain Kangaroo, Mister Rogers, and even The Electric Company, which was also a CTW production. (Note that I'm only dealing with kids shows that were designed to be educational and entertaining at the same time.) Today that's no longer the case. You now have shows like Teletubbies, Blue's Clues and Barney which, which aim to be exactly what Sesame Street is -- educational and entertaining -- and now rival Sesame Street in terms of popularity. (The irony of it all is that these other shows owe a debt to Sesame Street, because they used it as a model.) That's why they changed Sesame Street's format a few years ago. It dropped a bit in the ratings, so they had to make the format of the show more like that of their competitors so they could compete. In previous years, Sesame Street just didn't have this competition with other kids shows.
  6. Mario

    Mario Well-Known Member

    How can anyone say that Elmo's world isn't educational? Before that show, I had know idea what a hat or a ball was, thank you Elmo for teaching me those valueable(Sp?) lessons, :D lol. But serioulsy I do like Elmo's World, I didn't at the start of this thread, but I've been thinking about it, and I always sing along with the song in my best Elmo voice, and its the only chance for me to see the great Bill Irwan!!! Also, Journey To Ernie is pretty bad, but look at the bright side. Once you find Ernie, you get a chance to see some old Ernie and Bert shorts. err, clips, I'm used to the Disney lingo, :)
  7. bigbirdfan

    bigbirdfan Well-Known Member

    :cry: This is so sad I might want to cry my eyes out
  8. Mario

    Mario Well-Known Member

    What's so sad?
  9. Censored

    Censored Well-Known Member

    Actually, the very early episodes of Sesame Street seemed to copy a bit off of the classic show, Captain Kangaroo. Mr. Hooper was an inventor like Mr. Green Jeans. And like on Captain Kangaroo, they'd bring in live animals and storybooks were read out loud with close-ups of the pictures. Of course, there were many aspects that made Sesame Street unique early on and it wasn't long before the show found its own identity and was in a class by itself. However, now they seem to have gone back to copying off of other children's shows (and shows that aren't half as good as the great Captain Kangaroo to boot). That's just not a good sign.
  10. Tera

    Tera Well-Known Member

    Okay, Journey to Ernie doesn't do it for me, but my 3yr old loves it.

    I agreee with the Elmo's World spinoff idea. One of the things I loved about SS (as child and adult) was the continuing storyline that wore throughout the various segments. It seems that Elmo's World leaves little time for a developed plot.

    just my thought, but I don't claim expertise - my girl is in a Dragon Tales/Toy Story phase at the moment, so i'm a bit out of the loop.
  11. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member


    About change...

    Well, here's my two cents.

    First off, I'm one of those folks who is "nostalgic" for the old Sesame, but I'm glad that Sesame Street is around for today's kids, even though it isn't "our" Sesame.

    I'll stand by what I said in a post I made about the special "The Street We Live On". My opinion hasn't changed there.


    I think a lot of people agree with me that we miss Jim Henson, Richard Hunt, Mr. Hooper, Joe Raposo and so many others who are sadly no longer with us. We as Muppet fans feel that the next Sesame generation won't have these wonderful people to admire when we tune in to our local PBS station. We feel that these kids are getting cheated because they won't be exposed to Sesame's classic (and sometimes not so classic but still loved) Raposo/Moss tunes, the characters of Richard Hunt or Jim Henson. Think about it...these kids will tune in to Sesame Street and never see Kermit. Growing up in the 70's, Sesame Street without Kermit was just unthinkable. Now (because of Disney) we have to face that.

    You know, Jay Leno said something about Johnny Carson that isn't quoted directly word for word here, but it's close:

    "For those of you who were around during the 30 years Johnny Carson was on, consider yourselves lucky. We will never see the likes of him ever again."

    Replace "Johnny Carson" in that quote with "Kermit the Frog". Now imagine Big Bird (or another Sesame alumni) saying this line on the steps of 123 Sesame Street. There's a similarity there, isn't there?

    A lot of people can't stand Elmo (myself included), but there's another reason besides "he's taken over Sesame Street". It's overexposure, folks. Yes, we see Elmo all the time on Sesame Street, but he's everywhere else, too. You walk into any store, be it a Wal-Mart (or other discount store), any mall, or even a grocery store. "The Red Menace" is everywhere! Elmo cookies, Elmo stationery, and the forty five thousand different kinds of Elmo dolls out there...Tickle-Me-Elmo, YMCA Elmo, Rock-and-Roll Elmo, Orthepedic Surgeon Elmo, CEO Elmo, Elmo on a pogo stick...Elmo, Elmo Elmo. It's a little like hearing Christmas music nonstop from Nov. 1 to Jan. 1 every year. For a while it's okay, but just gets annoying.

    People are also annoyed by Elmo's voice...and his speech. When the same word is screeched over and over again by a falsetto voice, it easily grates on the nerves of many. It's really too bad that kids have this (and mostly this) for their main daily dose of Sesame music. When Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss composed music and lyrics, the songs they wrote were simple, educational, got the point across without relying on one, single word being repeated. Think about some Joe Raposo songs you know. We all know some. There's repetition yes, but repeated words appear in a lot of music. How about I use "Everybody Eats" for example. Here's the lyrics:

    "Everybody eats, everybody eats
    Meat and fish and cereal
    Carrots, peas and beets
    Everybody knows
    That everyone he meets
    Likes to eat
    How do we know it's so?
    'Cause everybody, everybody eats

    There are people who eat sitting
    There are some who like to stand
    There are people who go out-of-doors
    And picnic on the land
    There are folks who use their fingers
    Others use a fork and knife
    But no matter how you do it
    Don't you know it's so?
    Eating's part of everybody's life

    Everybody eats, everybody eats
    Meat and fish and cereal
    Carrots, peas and beets
    Everybody knows
    That everyone he meets
    Likes to eat
    How do we know it's so?
    'Cause everybody, everybody eats
    Everybody, everybody eats."

    We all know the clip. When we read the lyrics, we saw the mental images of the fish, carrots, peas and beets. We also saw mental pictures of animals and people eating in various places. The reason we did is because we saw the clip which showed us these things: actual footage of people and animals in the real world...in this case, they were all eating. As kids, we saw this (and other clips) which often played some kind of a Raposo (or Moss) tune with footage of the real world.

    Now, let's compare this to Elmo's World. Since I'm on the topic of music and food, let's suppose Elmo is thinking about food today. Also, since we're on the topic of music, let's focus on the musical portion of Elmo's World. For what it's worth, the enviroment is as such: an animated, scribbled background filled with stretching and wobbling furniture with no other purpose than to get kids' attention. Any images of food so far? No. Well, let's see...Elmo sits down at the piano and to the tune of "Jingle Bells" we get this song aboud food:

    "Food food food, food food food, food food food food food. Food food food, food food food food, food food food food food food FOOD!" (Okay, that's enough).

    Any mention of the different kinds of food there are? No. Any images of food? No. Any educational value to this song at all? None. Will having this same song be repeated for the next five days straight be any more helpful in teaching kids about food? No. But those who support Elmo's World will say that Elmo might teach about food in other ways, such as watching "The Food Channel". Here's a tip: since Sesame Street is supposed to teach kids about READING, why not have Elmo read a BOOK about food to the kids? But back to the subject of music: can Elmo teach at all through music? Let's face it, folks. Elmo can't hold a candle to what Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss did for Sesame Street. I bet a lot of parents feel bad that their kids can't experience the Raposo/Moss tunes (and clips). Those same parents probably would also feel bad that Elmo's daily screeching to "Jingle Bells" is the main exposure to Sesame music that they get.

    You know, another reason that people may be annoyed by Elmo is that he hasn't really evolved as a character and become as three dimensional as the rest. Many other Sesame characters have changed and grown from their original appearances. Big Bird is no longer a dopey klutz, Oscar is still grouchy but has become more endearing, Cookie Monster is not the one-dimensional cookie thief he was back in 1970. Grover has become full of heart and emotion, especially in his "comeback" to the show...

    But Elmo? He started out in his early years as a monster that often was found giggling and screeching the same word over and over again for the fun of it. In one early skit of his, he was yelling the word "original" over and over again until (Maria?) told him what it meant. Elmo was happy no matter what. Now we see "Elmo's World" and Elmo...is always happy, always giggles and daily he screeches the same word over and over again. Hmmm...

    Other observations:

    When Sesame Street first started, a lot of parents were complaining about Cookie Monster's speech and eating habits, but Cookie's still around after 34 years. I'm not sure how Cookie survived all the criticism. Can anyone enlighten me on this?

    Other parents have complained about Baby Bear's "Elmer Fudd-like" speech. When Baby Bear first appeared, his character was pretty one-dimensional: he was mad at Goldilocks. Now, most of the time he's "dwawing his favowite supoh hewo, Hewo Guy!" The Tough Pigs editorial on this bit matches my opinion of Baby Bear and "Hewo Guy" perfectly:


    Come on, I mean that kind of voice is okay if you're performing a dumb, klutzy character with not a lot of common sense (think what Richard Hunt did with Junior Gorg). But on an educational kid's show where you're "twying to get kids to pwonounce deyr wuhds cuhwectwy", Baby Bear just causes "twubboh" for kids just learning to pronounce their consonants and vowels.

    The absence of the puppeteers we grew up with left gaps to be filled by characters done by new Muppeteers (like Kevin Clash). Fortunately, there are folks out there like Steve Whitmire to bring Ernie to life, Matt Vogel to help out with Big Bird, and Eric Jacobsen, who brought Grover back into the spotlight once again. I applaud these folks who are keeping the characters going after their original puppeteers are no longer available. Parents now can feel glad that Big Bird, Ernie, Grover, etc. can be a part of their kids' childhoods. It's too bad though that older skits aren't seen...not so much for their nostalgic appeal, but for their educational value. Some of my favorite sketches when I was a kid were ones that filmed the real world outside Sesame Street, either with or without song accompaniment. I learned how a homemade three-legged stool was made (The Little Stool For Me), the famous crayon factory clip, the saxophone factory, and even "how to make chicken soup" with the Spanish girl "Mmm, Mommy. The soup's bueno!"

    There's good stuff about Sesame Street now...but there was also good stuff about "our" Sesame back in the olden days too.

    Convincing John

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