Brought To You By The Letter – WHY?

I read an interesting blog by Ada Calhoun today on whether “Sesame Street” ruined Generation X in response to a New York Times article by Virginia Heffernan. Apparently, there is a warning on the back of the Sesame Street: Old School DVD that says “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

I purchase the DVD for my mother last Christmas. The show holds a special place in her heart, especially since it debuted the same week my oldest sister was born in 1969. We’ve watched the first two episodes so far, and one particular segment stuck out: kids running through a construction site, learning words such as up, down, over, under and through. I wish I could find the clip on You Tube, because it involved kids running around broken bits of glass, rusty metal pieces and on top of sawhorses, if I recall correctly. As I watched it, I thought to myself that if the same scene played today, it would involve lawsuits, tetanus and Child Protective Services.

How about some characters that are no longer on the show?

  1. Lefty The Salesman – A creepy salesman in trenchcoat trying to sell inncocent Ernie various goods from an invisible ice-cream cone to a bottle of air? Oh no! And don’t forget the gangster mentions of Louie the Lip and The Golden An.
  2. Roosevelt Franklin – The jive talkin’ kid was removed from the series “following letters complaining of a negative African-American stereotype, and because his rowdy elementary school did not set a good example for children,” according to Muppet Wiki.
  3. Don Music – The agonized musician “was abandoned because of complaints about his alarming tendencies toward self-inflicted punishment. Apparently, kids were imitating his head-banging at home,” according to Sesame Street Unpaved.

In my opinion, even Cookie Monster jumped the shark when he sang “Healthy Food.”

I think Calhoun summed it up nicely:

“Kids today are often presented by kids’ programming with a misleading ‘everyone wins!’ version of reality. They could stand a little more misanthropic Oscar, a little less ‘Prozacky Elmo.'”

I couldn’t agree more. My generation doesn’t know how good we had it.

One Response to “Brought To You By The Letter – WHY?”

  1. Caitlin says:

    Ugh, it infuriates me all the changes they made to Sesame Street. I just hate how things are taken out because they are found offensive to other people. And I mean mildly offensive. They never offended anyone back when we were growing up. I think sometimes people need to see things like that or they will never be able to function in the real world.

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