Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My GPS Doesn't Recognize This Sesame Street

Dear Children's Television Workshop (or, as you like to be referred to now, the Sesame Workshop),

Can we talk? Do you have a moment? Your franchise show, Sesame Street has been on my mind this morning, and I have a couple questions.

First, you know that I have an issue with Elmo and your incessant use of him on your show. I will not delve into those concerns right now, but please see my previous complaints. I am eagerly awaiting your response.

I have also filed complaints about the discovery of Snuffleupagus. This is especially disconcerting to me based on the fact that there is at least one other "imaginary" friend (Hero Guy) on your block. The fact that this other imaginary friend is a cartoon, and not a muppet, might be your argument, but that is very animationist of you. Uncool.

We have discussed the lack of screen time for quality Muppet actors, such as Grover, Ernie and Bert (who are often replaced with cartoon versions of themselves... are cartoons your slaves or something...), Big Bird, Count von Count, Oscar the Grouch, and others. As a collective, we have considered filing a lawsuit against your company on the basis of ageism. So far, we have not taken these legal measures, but it is still a possibility.

Now, so you do not think I am being unreasonable, I welcome and enjoy the characters of Telly, Murray, and Abby Cadabby. I am not an old curmudgeon just wishing for the "good old days." While I may not be a huge fan of the new remixed theme song or the extended animated sequences on the show (only because they take away jobs from good, hard-working Muppets), I can understand tweaking your show for today's youth.

On that subject, it is obvious that today's youth is not as bright as you were as a child. Therefore, there is no need to keep the level of quality high on your show. It is in the best interest to be able to lower the standards of your programming to the lowest possible denominator (see Elmo). You have to keep ratings high, right?

I have also heard rumors of a study that goldfish are now the second largest demographic in television viewership. Perhaps because they are limited in their field of vision in their bowls, but that is not important. I do not think it is impossible that you have heard of this study as well and are now focusing your programming on the goldfish market. (That would explain the prominence of Elmo's fish Dorothy...)

Those are the only things I can conceive of at the moment which would explain the lowering of your flagship show's quality and the radical changes you have undertaken. I hope neither is the case, and I hope you see the error of your ways soon.

Also, while parody has always been a strong point of emphasis on Sesame Street, and normally well done, these parodies often last a segment or two. The parodies could be of movies, television shows, or even nursery rhymes. The parodies of nursery rhymes were often the most humorous, I must say (Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary being too contrary for even Oscar to handle is one of my favorites). However, these parodies serve their purpose and move along. They do not become recurring characters.

If someone is going to become a recurring character, at least make sure we know it. For example, I would recognize this character - Little Jack Horner. I know his backstory and can immediately bring him into my Sesame Street construct. However, I may not recognize this character - Jack. Is that Jill's love? Is he the poor bean trader who enjoys beanstalk climbing? I don't know at first, so it will take a while to figure it out. I may miss some of the subtleties in the humor while I am deciphering this character. Oh... right... this is the NEW Sesame Street where subtlety is scarce.

So with all this said, and with the mention of Hero Guy earlier, it has taken me months, and several Google searches to answer this one simple question:

Who the hell is this Baby Bear on my TV?

From my exhaustive research, Baby Bear is part of the Bear family who Goldilocks terrorizes with her breaking and entering, porridge-eating, and infecting their beds with cooties. OoooooooKkkkkkkkkk. So why is Baby Bear hanging out on Sesame Street? I understand that he became friends with Telly, but doesn't he have a home? Go home already, Baby Bear.

Plus, according to the Muppet Wiki, you aren't even the baby any more. You have a baby sister named Curly. (Why your parents would name a baby girl cub after a Stooge is another issue entirely.) So you are no longer the baby in your family. Maybe you should start using your real name. What? You don't have a real name? Your parents just named you "Baby" Bear? Like David Duchovny and Tea Leoni naming their child "Kyd?" Okay, I understand. Sorry about that.

Also, I have discovered from my research that the Bear family is Jewish. Why is this important? I honestly couldn't tell you. But apparently the Bears' religious affiliation is integral to understanding them. Sounds a little discriminatory to me, but whatever. The most intriguing aspect of the Bears' Judaism is that in addition to not considering Jesus to be their Messiah, they celebrate Easter! Huh? Wha???? They are Jewish, but they celebrate the resurrection of Christ? This hurts my head. Way to help educate children about different religions, Sesame Workshop!

Finally, Baby Bear's mom has apparently been brainwashed. "Mama" Bear used to be a famous writer known as Flo Bear. Her name was a play on the French novelist Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary anyone?). No need to continue to mention that, right? We don't need children knowing who Gustave Flaubert was. Nor do we need to know that a female bear can be a famous writer. Her stereotypical role as a homemaker and mother is enough. Again, great teaching, Sesame Workshop!

So, maybe a better question might be:

Why is this Baby Bear on my TV? And why is he mimicking Elmer Fudd?

It is not nice to make fun of someone's speech impediment! You better watch out, because Mr. Fudd knows when it is Bear Season!

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