Monday, February 4, 2008

this is the street i live on

PREFACE: After looking back over this, it's really long. Holy cats. And I have to thank Nicole Beckford for typing up our Conceptual Unit so that I had time to write it. You're the best.

As you know if you read the last installment of 20 Questions, I stayed home with Charlie on Wednesday because it was ungodly cold outside. Among the activities we pursued was our trillionth viewing of Sesame Street Presents: The Street We Live On. Because I know the show forward and backward, and because I was bored, I decided to keep a running diary. Enjoy.

0:01...We begin not with the theme song, but with Grover in a postal worker's uniform. He evidently has an important job to do: he must deliver a package to Oscar's trashcan. He seems nervous, even though Oscar's trashcan is about twenty feet away. (Is that right, by the way? How big do you think the Sesame Street set is? Am I the only one wondering that?)

0:37...Good to see that Maria and Luis are still around. My wife was recently traumatized when she learned that they are not married in real life and that the wedding that was staged for the show back when we watched it was a sham.

1:01...Bob's still here too, but from the looks of it, maybe not for long.

1:16...Speaking of impending death, remember when Mr. Hooper died? And when Maria told Big Bird that he was dead and Big Bird said he'd just see him "when he came back"? I just looked it up and I was 3 when that happened. Wow.

1:28...Remember the guy who was on Punk'd at that pool party and the girl's dad showed up and flipped out on him? I think that guy's on Sesame Street now.

2:39...GROVER: "You certainly can make that guitar weep, Rosita." Who are jokes like that for? Are a lot of kindergarteners picking up the Beatles allusion?

3:09...It's time for Elmo's World. Elmo reminds me of all the creepy girls I went to high school with (and now teach) that are obsessed with Sesame Street/SpongeBob/etc. characters well after they should have lost interest.

6:11...Well, it's official. My wife and I have a long-standing argument over Mr. Noodle. He's just made his first appearance, and it's a different guy than the other Sesame Street video we have. I thought the other guy was the real one and this was a fake, but Muppet Central News tells us that my guy--Michael Jeter--is known as "The Other Mr. Noodle." Also, he's dead. You might remember him from Evening Shade or The Green Mile. A moment of silence, please.

14:16..."Jackson!" yells Charlie. It must be time for traction with Action Jackson, a young man who rides around singing in his wheelchair. "I have a chair," he sings. "It takes me most anywhere." Because of this scene, Charlie pointed at John Couget at the basketball game the other day and yelled, "Chair! Chair!" I suppose that's okay, right?

16:00...So apparently Elmo has email now. It's a video message from Big Bird and Snuffy teaching him how to do the Snuffleupagus. "You put your right foot out, and then you take it back. You put your right foot out, and then you take it back. You put your right foot out, and then you leave it there. You're doing the Snuffleupagus." Not much of a dance, really. Also, a question: What is Big Bird? Is he electronic? A muppet? Guy in a bird suit? Because I see strings, but he couldn't do all that stuff with just strings, right? Same with Bert and Ernie. Ernie clearly grasps objects--how do you do that with a muppet? Am I the only one wondering that?

18:40...Elmo would like us to count the monsters in the monster parade. There are 10. I think we've got a Number of the Day sighting.

20:26...Yup. The Number of the Day is 10. And now we're counting things that there are 10 of: toes, bells, bowling pins. And a kid that Sara thinks is the black version of a kid we have in Sunday School has us count wind-up toys.

21:40...Hey, Ernie's here! Big Bird is chasing him--we're playing Journey to Ernie.

22:24...Big Bird doesn't think we're on Sesame Street anymore, and Humpty Dumpty confirms that we're not. (Why is Humpty Dumpty always an egg, by the way? It never states that in the actual nursery rhyme. Am I the only one wondering that?)

22:40...The three little kittens who lost their mittens. What's the rest of that nursery rhyme? In my head, it always turns into "leave them alone and they'll come home..." but that's Little Bo Peep. Anyway, we're in some kind of nursery rhyme land.

23:40...This is frustrating. Big Bird has stumbled upon the little old lady who lives in a shoe, but here are the problems:

1. She says she has 8 kids. Why not 10? That's the Number of the Day, after all.
2. Big Bird says to count them and if there are more than 8, one of them could be Ernie. So we count and there are 9, so we figure that maybe Ernie is disguised as one of the kids. Nope. The lady just didn't know how many kids she had.
3. Big Bird suggests they play baseball, and one of the kids annoyingly screeches, "I wanna' play shortstop! I wanna' play shortstop!" I hate that.

25:54...Big Bird runs into the actual Little Bo Peep, and guess what. Ernie's dressed as one of her sheep. Perhaps they knew that their viewers would confuse the three little kittens and Little Bo Peep, and it was an attempt at foreshadowing.

27:30...Question: How old are Bert and Ernie? Ernie plays with a rubber duck and stuff, so he's probably pretty young, but they live on their own. And they sleep in the same room, separate beds. Probably confusing for kids.

28:20...Ernie's dancing himself to sleep. Classic Sesame Street moment.

29:15...A lot of star power in this little montage. Here's a list of the people who are dancing to "I Dance Myself To Sleep": Martina McBride, Venus Williams, Doris Roberts, Gloria Estefan, some violin player, someone who may or may not be Danica Patrick, the guy from Law & Order, Julianne Moore, Julianne Moore's daughter, a woman dressed as a fairy who looks vaguely familiar, Seth Green (!), a guy from The Sopranos, the women from The West Wing (who are inexplicably dancing in a doctor's office), Larry King, and Dr. Phil. Nice.

32:33...We're playing Who Lives On Sesame Street?, which only bears mentioning because my sister-in-law's favorite part of the show is when they say, "Does George Washington live on Sesame Street? No!"

36:00...Elmo wants to watch the Grover, Maria, Big Bird, and All of Elmo's Friends Channel. DISCUSSION QUESTION: What do you do in your private life that you would stop doing if you knew that there was a possibility that it would be broadcast to all of your friends?

36:32...Sesame Street Fun Fact: Big Bird is 8'2".

41:12...Grover takes Elmo on a cab ride through time so they can see some of the events that shaped Sesame Street: Luis and Maria's wedding, Maria giving birth to Gabby, Gordon and Susan adopting Miles, etc. When all is said and done, Elmo is feeling nostalgic, so he gathers all of his friends to deliver a special message: He loves Sesame Street and his friends very much.

45:41...Time to sing "This Is The Street I Live On." Are we worried about the effect that Elmo and Cookie Monster are having on the grammar of our young people? Elmo always talks in 3rd-person. Cookie says things like, "This is where me eat me cookies." This is a critical stage for language development, and we have millions of kids listening to this. Am I the only one that's concerned here?

48:23...Dorothy (Elmo's goldfish) would like to tell us that today's episode was brought to us by the number 10 and the letter C. I can understand 10, but I'm not so sure about C. They sang "C Is For Cookie," but that was about it. I think C could have been better represented.

That's all, boys and girls. It's a fine program, but it almost raises more questions than it answers. Tune in next week for an in-depth look at The Life and Times of Jimmy Neutron.

Until then, later gators.


panykattack said...

How much do I love Sesame Street? I cannot express it in words.
Also, I found a video of Michael dancing himself to sleep.

I also found a video about the joys of brushing that I clearly remember from my childhood. It's very Cyndi Lauper-esque. Yay!

Stacy said...

When I saw the title of the blog for today I thought, "Does George Washington live on Sesame Street? No!!" And, then you mentioned it. And me. :)

Thanks for the diversion from writing an essay assignment about 17th century poets who are anxious about salvation. Journey to Ernie is way cooler.

Claire said...

1) Maria and Luis! I was completely obsessed with them getting married.

2) About the Beatles allusions - when I used to watch the Winnie the Pooh cartoon (so, you know, in high school) there were always jokes that would've gone way over a child's head. It was a much snarkier show than I remember. Maybe they know that they've gotta keep parents (and dorky high schoolers) entertained too.

3) I always thought Bert and Ernie were pretty old. Mostly for the living alone thing, I think. That and there's no age limit on playing with rubber duckies.

4) I can explain the West Wing women/doctors office thing. There was an episode (I could name it, but shhh) where Stockard Channing needed some media help to seem more likeable, so CJ had her go on Sesame Street and she gave Elmo a check-up. (And there was a very funny sight gag involving Big Bird and Allison Janney. And lots of "CJ's so tall that..." jokes.)

5) C does sound like it needs better representation. They have not done right by my initial.