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Your Thoughts: Sesame Street Season 40

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by Phillip, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Rendal

    Rendal New Member

    My thoughts on the season premire:

    The good:
    The Street story was excellent. Bob had more dialogue and screen time in this episode than the past 2-3 seasons combined. I didn't pick up the Mr. Looper hidden gem til I saw it here. I thought just having Barkley was the gem.

    Murry's letter and number of the day were excellent as was the new Traction Jackson song.

    Elmo's world was great with Kermit.

    Murry's sponsored by close was also very cute.


    The bad:

    I don't like Abby's Flying School. It just doesn't fit. But it is a sign of the times. They are making these long form mini-shows for international syndication and they have to get some domestic use out of them as well. I'm hoping they at least rotate in Murry has a little Lamb so we don't see Abby's school all the time.

    The long form mini-shows now crowd out the majority of the classic movies, and clips. I think Annie Evan's said in her blog that they have room for 1 random insert per show. That would be a parody a celebrity or a classic muppet sketch.

    There is probably now TOO much Murry, but I understand why they are doing it. It is cheaper to use Joey, who is on full time staff than bring in different characters/muppeteers to make letter or number inserts. Although they did make the resuable letter and number inserts last year (Chris in the Laundrymat etc..)

    I do have to remember this show belongs to my 2 1/2 year old and my 1 & 1/2 year old and not me. But they did get bored through the longer segments.

    Cheers,
    Craig A.
  2. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Okay... So now I'm waiting to see if SST airs on my cable provider's Channel 28, Discovery/Discovery Kids between 1 to 3 PM. At least that's what the rep on the phone said. And since my long-time PBS/PBS Kids channel isn't showing Sesame but all the other PBS Kids programming instead, I have no choice but to wait and watch Discovery.

    *Wants to punch PBS affiliate in the nyuts. :mad:
  3. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    What was the new E&B sketch about?
  4. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I can't tell it's new or not, and I just assume, but it's something about Bert admiring his bottlecap collection while Ernie and a group of 3 Dingers (including the green one and a baby) sing a dinging song. Bert tries to be unenthused about it, but then dances and sings to himself when he thinks Ernie left the room.
  5. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Oh, that's from season 37. I was hoping it would turn up again!
  6. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Nothing yet...

    For a laugh, compare Bert at the end of that Ding-Along song with Sam talking to Kermit at the end of Sam's Song.
  7. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Are you guys SURE that David's still doing Cookie? Because I mean to tell you that in today's wonky new animated insert with Cookie, and his appearance on Dinner: Impossible, it didn't sound like him to me. :smirk:
  8. MuppetManAZ

    MuppetManAZ New Member

    Yeah, did you catch the end of the episode? All of the characters look at the camera, and Blogg says "I love puppets" with a wink and a grin. That cracked me up.
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Not to mention all the characters in general look like they were designed as Muppet characters, which I wouldn't mind seeing Muppet versions of Gone Again and Blogg associate with Abby on the street.

    Incidentally, I know Rickey Boyd does the Abby's Flying Fairy School segments, but does do puppeteering on the show now as well?
  10. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Haven't watched today's episode yet, so these will all reflect my thoughts on the premiere...

    First of all, those of you who missed today's episode (or parts of it), don't worry. Remember SST only does 26 episodes a season now and it won't be long before this episode is reran...and reran..and reran! You'll have a chance to catch it again easily soon enough (My station had some video problems during the street story so i didn't even bother saving the tape of it, i'll record it for my collection again when it's reran without the glitches).

    I had a sinking feeling when i saw the photocopied page of a typical Sesame 40th season episode format in the curriculum chapter of the new book. I could tell then what many people are saying (and i also concur) that the current block format is askew and are going to somewhat lessen the impact/quality/enjoyability of the new episodes. They may be intending to put their all into the street scenes with all these Easter Eggs which are nice, but Easter Egg Gems in a small part of an overall episode does not an excellent episode make. Murray's acting as host will get real old real fast (after one episode i'm already even tired of it) and all the overabundance of cuts to Murray takes away time from other stuff. I can't even imagine how overburned on Murray an episode with Murray Has a Little Lamb is going to have. Abby's Flying Fairy School does have its moments but it's TOO LONG! As others have said it feels like another show altogether and that's because they keep trying to think of new segments that can be their own standalone shows for the international market...and the US original production ends up suffering for it because it's all thrown in on there.

    I liked seeing Kermit too but since i knew that Elmo's World: Frogs was an unaired holdover from earlier, i can't honestly judge it as a 40th season piece.

    I spent the last week watching some season 39 episodes that i hadn't gotten around to and reliving the last year a bit before going into the new one and i was actually a bit impressed - there were a lot of season 39 episodes that felt very classic in spite of the format with hilarious street stories and performances (I noticed that Kevin even seemed to perform Elmo in the Elmo Wants to Be Like Gordon episode more like "classic Elmo" when he was actually cute and funny) and still managed to get in classic bits like Grover and Mr. Johnson's two waiters bit or wig salesman sketch. I don't see that happening as much with the revised format.

    I know SW defends all its format changes on "research" and in the end they have to consider what's best for the kids and what they like and holds their attention. But everytime i watch something like SST, i watch keeping in mind my current thoughts and what Child D.W. would be thinking - and Child D.W. wouldn't like it either - the length of the individual segments would be a HUGE turnoff and seeing only a few characters all the time is not near as fun or special than seeing a whole slew of my Sesame friends spread throughout the episode. The season 40 format makes Child D.W. grouchy and not in a good way.

    I want to like these and support them; i really do. I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised as the season goes on, but so far all signs are that season 40 will be a weak one. They may think they'll win over adult fans (or the older children...or even the more intelligent younger ones) with the Easter Eggs - but in the end, Easter Eggs don't much matter if the rest of Easter Dinner is burnt, spoiled, dry, or ruined.
  11. Rendal

    Rendal New Member

    Format Suggestion

    I was thinking about the block format. I think a slight tweek would make it a lot more palitible for all.

    Rotate the mini-show's (Abby,Murry,Bert & Ernie) to take up one segment of the show. That would leave 9-12 minutes for additional inserts supporting the curriculumn. Right now the fact that they can only do one letter and one number insert shows they are too overloaded. So why not something like this.

    Word on the Street
    Opening
    Street Story
    Word of the Day
    2 supporting inserts to the street story.
    Letter of the Day
    2 Inserts
    Mini-Show
    Number of the Day
    2 Inserts
    Random insert (Parody, etc..)
    Elmo's World.


    Probably overthinking this. But hey what else do I have to do. Oh yeah get back to work! ;-)
  12. ISNorden

    ISNorden Active Member

    Episode 4188 in review

    The Good Points:

    • The street story felt like an abridged version of a classic plot: nursery-rhyme characters appearing on the street with problems, which the rest of the cast gradually helps them solve. It's a shame that 80% of the good writing gets crammed into the first 15 minutes, but beggars can't be choosers.
    • A human character (Luis) plays a bigger role than usual...and gets an original song too.
    • The "Flying Fairy School" story alludes to parts of the Pinoccchio story which some kids wouldn't know immediately. Not every 3-year-old is familiar with it, even in the Disney adaptation; it's good to teach that Pinocchio had more going for him than that lie-detecting nose. I can even understand why Sesame Workshop changed the whale-related part. (A whale swallowing the puppet-fairy would scare lots of preschoolers' pants off!)
    • The in-jokes in that same segment about puppetry, especially when the transformed fairy needed help to move.
    • The "Swan Lake/tutus" humor in the #2 segment. Judging by material like that, either more parents are watching with the kids again--or more preschoolers in the audience are gifted!
    • As prime-time parodies go, "Mad Men" was reasonably good. I agree with the fans who think the men should have gone for "mad, sad, glad" instead of breaking the pattern with "happy"; Sesame Street used to do a lot of two-lessons-in-one sketches, and I miss that kind of depth.
    • Elmo used a familiar tune other than "Jingle Bells" for his topic song at the end of "Elmo's World"; if only the writers would let him do that more often!
    The Bad Points:

    • Although I'm glad that they shortened "Murray Had a Little Lamb", it would have made more sense to drop the theme song instead of the guessing game. Part of the educational goal, after all, was learning Spanish words in context--now Murray hears only the phrase for "Irish dancing school".
    • Only one letter sketch and one number sketch this episode...Murray's letter games are cute in a way, but they're no substitute for standalone clips.
    • I've mentioned this in my last review, but I'll say it again because so many viewers agreed: there was too much of Murray in this episode. Introducing blocks, announcing things-of-the-day, and getting his flagship mini-show? One character was never meant to carry Sesame Street that way.
    • If there was a classic Easter-egg bit in this episode, I completely missed it. Could one of the others here fill me in, please?
    Overall Impression:

    Much like the premiere, this episode had a few well-done parts which stood out from the mediocre background. Sesame Workshop isn't totally at fault here; they've been hit hard by the same recession as everyone else. They've also had to adapt to the way mainstream TV has evolved--the original idea was to teach through imitating network shows, after all.

    Despite their problems, though, the Workshop producers have usually found a way to stay ahead of the competition. Here's hoping that they catch their second wind this season... *crosses her fingers*
  13. Muppet dude

    Muppet dude Active Member

    Well, the Season Premiere wasn't so bad. Good to see the season start off with a Big Bird-centered story instead of an Elmo-centered one, which seems to have been commonplace since 2002 (with some exceptions, such as last year's Telly-centered season premiere). It was good to see practically ALL the human cast together in an episode. Just like old times!

    Seems that even though Bob is older, he still looks and sounds a lot like the Bob I grew up with in the early 1990s, which is a good thing; the same with Gordon. However, I can tell Luis, Maria and Susan all look a bit different now due to age, but I can still easily recognize them by their voices (ESPECIALLY Maria!)

    And it was great to see Barkley make a new appearance again outside of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades, too!

    Anyone else also notice the new music cue they used for starting and ending the episodes? It was interesting how they did that; I mean, I was expecting the cue they used from 2007-2008 to last around longer, like when the Calypso-esque opening cue they introduced in 1993 lasted until 2006! But I didn't have a problem with that new music; in fact, what I liked best was the new nighttime closing music cue heard on the "Trash Gordon" segments or other bedtime-related closing bits (my personal favorite was Telly reading the "Three Triangles" story.)

    As for the segments...
    I'm not entirely too big on the letter/number of the day intros. But at least we're not getting reruns of the Cookie Monster/Prairie Dawn and the Count's Organ skits! And Abby's Fairy School, while a cute idea and segment, does hog up a LOT of time. Nine minutes... that's almost twice as long as "Murray Has a Little Lamb!" But at least "Murray Has a Little Lamb" is not in every episode this season. The last thing I need in this new format is having to hear Puerto Rican-rappers shouting "Murray Has a Little LAAAAAAAAAAMB" in every episode. Again, I LOVE the "Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures" segments, though while I prefer the characters as puppets, it's nice to see them in claymation too, and finally after having heard about them all these years, they finally make it to American TV last year as segments on the show!

    An Elmo's World segment on frogs; this meant a Kermit reference was inevitable. And the way it was held over was a sure sign it was bound to happen. And it did! Kermit's cameo was a nice touch, and it was great to see Kermit in new Sesame Street material since 2001!

    I'm not too big on Murray's way of announcing the sponsors at the end. It reminds me too much of "Trash Gordon" or those Season 38 closing bumpers when Abby Cadabby would announce the sponsors.

    The new closing credits are nice. I was actually kinda half-expecting them to simply reuse the credits from 2007, but then again, it would've been somewhat out of place, like the 1992 closing credits appearing on the 2002-2006 episodes with its new opening sequence. Though ending the credits on Elmo was a little overkill, because the SesameWorkshop logo at the end closes out with Elmo! :concern:

    But then again, as for the new formula here, I'm not surprised this happened. I mean, back in 1969, I'm SURE the show's producers were certain that the format the show had during that time wasn't going to be around forever. This new format is almost as jarring as the "Around the Corner" or the 2002 blocks bit.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I really wondered about that. And I have 2 theories on it bot being held over for that specific reason. Theory 1: they did the entire segment without Kermit, and really wanted to get him in there, and had to haggle with Disney to get him in there, and it wasn't ready for season 39 for that reason... or more likey, theory 2: There wasn't a single new Elmo's World segment announced this year for budget reasons, and they wanted to have at least one new segment for the season, which would otherwise be nothing but EW reruns.
  15. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Since my local station started reformatting widescreen shows to fill the screen this year (which doesn't make sense for a show like Sesame...if part of its goal is letter recognition and reading, it doesn't help the intended viewer when parts of a word gets chopped off to the side), i didn't notice any hidden gem unless it was something that got cropped. I found some things i personally wouldn't count since they're kind of weak and really stretching it (like one of the puppets from Abby's School having a Super Grover-esque helmet but i don't think that was that deliberate a nod because of its commonality). The closest i could come up with was Murray quasi-riffing off of Grover's Near and Far bits. Also in the closing credits (which aren't episode specific), you have Bert starting to Do the Pigeon as they cut away from E&B.

    Today's episode flowed a little better than yesterday's in terms of balance of segments - we got a puppet E&B from season 37! But wow - even with it shortened, when you have a Murray/Lamb segment in the same episode, it really is too much Murray. I hate to say this and i'm not suggesting this was actually the case but the end result is the show feels like Joey taking advantage of his promotion to head writer and trying to use this new format to force his character into Elmo-level stardom.

    After both episodes, it looks like part of the "style" for season 40 is every single sketch beginning/ending with a dizzying blurred whoosh. Thumbs firmly down.

    Something that hit me watching the latest episode...in addition to the puppets, we're seeing the Muppet characters represented as animation, claymation, and CGI. I can see the show wanting to show off a little and take advantage of the latest "toys" in animation and maybe they feel the different mediums might intrique children and capture their attention but i can't help wondering if the whole thing will backfire. Puppets are very special to children in the way they respond to them (as evidenced by the original testing 40 years ago that led the producers to include Muppets as part of the street segments). Children - and even those dealing with autism - have such a strong almost inherent reaction to puppets...can you replace that connection and interest with CGI? I think a child can recognize the difference even if they can't define it with words and when you pluck a NINE MINUTE CGI segment in the middle of a show that seems out of place, i wonder if kids may get bored or feel slightly unnerved or cheated. Elmo's World is really too long for an individual segment (and over the years it's gotten longer with more recent ones actually over 19 minutes) but at least it (a) has lots of "little pieces" within it including films, cartoons, Elmo's emails, etc and (b) the lead character is constantly directly engaging the kids watching talking straight to them. I really don't see Abby's Flying Fairy School lasting long unless SW decides to take some of the segments that double as their own productions internationally and air them outside of SST on a cable station domestically as part of a block of programming.

    Again, trying to approach this by getting in touch with my inner child and trying to watch this through the lens of how my younger self would respond to the new episodes, and the prevaling thought is that the show doesn't feel as "welcoming" overall - Sesame Street feels less like a place or a community that the hour is tying together. Sesame Street seems like this place at the beginning of the show that goes away to other places for the rest of the hour. Watching as a child during the original format, i knew that if something was on that i may not care as much for, it would only be on for a short time and then there would be more of my Muppet Friends being silly and fun...and even that didn't always stop me from running in a closet and hiding when a "yuchy film" or one of Bob's sappiest songs came on. Child D.W. watching present format doesn't have that assurance that the good stuff will be on real soon - on the contrary the more boring stuff could very well go on FOREVER and maybe i can even take a nap while i'm hiding in the closet instead of intently listening for a Henson or Oz sounding voice - or worse - maybe even not even staying tuned for the hour doing something totally different! As a kid, you "knew" that the Whole Reason for Commercials was so that you had a short break to go to the bathroom or grab something from the kitchen (or go put your empty bowl and silverware back in the kitchen) but they were just a couple minutes. With current Sesame, you have LONG segments where you you feel like you can write the Great American Novel during the time if you didn't care for it. You may go to the bathroom and not feel like you have to hurry - AND have time to get a snack while studying every item in the fridge AND maybe take a walking tour of the entire house AND call your best friend on the phone AND AND AND...
  16. lalaluvsgrover

    lalaluvsgrover New Member

    In the original Bert & Ernie's Great Adventure song - Bert says "this is kind of kicky" not kinky.
    But there was so much confusion - and that's why it was changed to catchy.

    I don't know how I feel about the episode. I loved seeing Kermit on it - and my 2 year old son is ecstatic that there is more Murray. But I was disappointed they didn't have the 'Murray Has a Little Lamb' segment.

    And I agree with the people who said the new Abby segment was too long. But then I also didn't care for it overall.

    Otherwise I thought it was good. I wouldn't mind seeing more vintage Sesame Street like they have in all the other episodes. Too much new and computer animated stuff.

    And that's all. :super:
  17. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Active Member

    4188: CowMonster Pair

    I have to admit that i had already seen this storyline only because of the DVD "Elmo's Animal Adventures." Three of the stories are all from this season. It was ok but when i first saw it, it was pretty good.

    The segments were ok. Too much Murray but what can you say. He's the newest monster muppet. The Madmen was pretty funny and i noticed that the main Madman sounded almost like Frank Oz. Was that him? Oh well.

    I thought the Cookie Monster animated part was pretty cute and fun to watch. Now as much as the puppet version would have been but still pretty cool. That's my two cents.
  18. antsamthompson9

    antsamthompson9 Well-Known Member

  19. Muppet dude

    Muppet dude Active Member

    Yep, that was Frank Oz!
  20. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Hey guys... Looks like I'll be depending on this thread and the Wiki for Season 40. Just got the bad news that it's Daylight Savings Time's fault Sesame's not in the current schedule. This is why I've long said that DST should be reversed from Fall Back/Spring Forward to Spring Back/Fall Forward.


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