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As I see it

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 17th, 2009

Sunny days — even in the middle of winter

I bought the 40 years of Sesame Street DVD pack last week, figuring it would keep the grandkids quiet for a while.

It did, but the biggest fans were my almost 30-something daughter and son-in-law, Lena and Derrick.

The two of them sat on the sofa with the three grandkids, sharing memories and laughs.

I guess I was cooking or reading a book when my kids were little and watching the show, but I thought Oscar the Grouch was always green. Nope, he started out a kind of yellowish color. Elmo wasn’t always red, either — he was green and later morphed into a muppet that became his mother when he turned red and became the Elmo loved by kids today. And apparently Snuffleupagus started out as Big Bird’s invisible imaginary friend.

There were debates on the differences between the “old” and “new” Sesame Street shows, and the grandkids loved watching the same shows mom and dad watched when they were little.

The only complaints I heard from my Sesame Street aficionados was the show’s descent into political correctness.

Grover, they informed me, started out as a rude, pushy muppet. No pleases and thank yous, just cheerful rudeness, and they loved him that way. For them the new and improved Grover is not as good.

And what’s with Cookie Monster’s new appreciation of fruit—apples and oranges instead of handfuls of cookies? There it was in full color and on the screen. And then, after he ate the fruit, he limited himself to just one cookie. Even to me that just didn’t seem right. (The muppet’s restraint did not register with the two- and seven-year-old grandchildren who now want to eat cookies, chips, and all sorts of other foods just like the cookie monster of old with crumbs flying everywhere.)

Judging from my grandkids’ reactions, the muppet shows from long ago resonate just as well to kids today as they did with the original Sesame Street “generation.” My grandson laughed just as hard as Lena and Derrick at the Bert and Ernie “banana in the ear” skit. Granted, he didn’t shriek “Hurry up, Derrick, this is a classic!,” but he was still giggling about it when he went to bed (considering their mimicking of Cookie Monster, I have been a bit reluctant to buy bananas).

But the most interesting for me was listening to the more in depth discussions from the “almost 30-something” fans. Their thoughts on how the show handled the death of Mr. Hooper, a human character that had been on the show from day one, and the show about a hurricane that aired after Katrina hit New Orleans. With maturity the show has taken on a new depth that they did not appreciate as children.

But that didn’t last for long. Soon I heard another yell: “Hey Lena, come look at this-it’s a classic!”

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