February 25, 2008 6:31 AM
Sesame Street - not the same old neighborhood
From yesterday's Washington Times - which I didn't have time to read, but my hubby - who cares about my readers too! - wanted us to see:
February 24, 2008
By Karen Goldberg Goff
Ah, the good old days, when children played in vacant lots, ate trans fats and biked without helmets.
Those days may be gone for good, at least in the world of today's cautious parents and well-scheduled preschoolers. If you care to revisit them, though, check out Sesame Workshop's DVDs "Sesame Street Old School," Volumes 1 and 2. The compilations, the second of which was released in November, include more than a dozen hours of the best clips from the show's early years, 1969-1979.
Those were the days when Snuffleupagus was a trippy figment of Big Bird's imagination. Cookie Monster clearly was a binge eater. Cheery optimist Elmo did not yet exist. Oscar was in need of some mood elevators.
That's why "Old School" comes with a disclaimer â€” that the content is aimed at today's grown-ups and may not suit the needs of today's preschooler.
Say what? Yes, this "Sesame Street" is for adults â€” presumably those who survived childhood in the '70s without organic food and Baby Ballet lessons.
Sherrie Rollins Westin, chief marketing officer at Sesame Workshop, says, in hindsight, that perhaps the disclaimer was overkill. However, the workshop wanted to be clear that the "Sesame Street" today's adults watched is not the same that's on the air in 2008.
"When the videos were repackaged, we felt strongly that people should understand that this is not today's 'Sesame Street,' " Ms. Westin says. "It was meant as fairly tongue-in-cheek, but we wanted to err on the side of protecting children. Every single season of 'Sesame Street' is entirely new, and we are not the same as we were 40 years ago."
In some ways, the needs of today's preschoolers are the same as they were in the late 1960s. "Sesame Street" always has been aimed at teaching literacy skills and helping in the development of a child's social and emotional growth, Ms. Westin says.
What has changed drastically is the culture around us. Ms. Westin points out that themes such as the environment and childhood obesity are more pressing than they were a generation ago.
Take Cookie Monster, for instance. Poor Cookie, in the '70s (and on "Old School") he had free rein to gobble baked goods, all the while using poor language skills and atrocious table manners. Cookie has come a long way. His eating is under control â€” especially compared to the old "Monsterpiece Theatre" clips in which he not only smoked a pipe, but ate it, too. Cookie still eats cookies, but he has learned a bit about self-control and the USDA food pyramid.
"We didn't want Cookie to never eat a cookie," Ms. Westin says. "That is his persona. But we want to teach preschoolers that they need to eat well. That is why we have taught Cookie about 'sometimes foods' like cookies and 'anytime foods' like an apple. That is a very appropriate lesson for a preschooler."
Read entire article here.
How funny. I actually have the old school Sesame Streets in our Netflix Queue. I plan to watch them with my daughter.
Posted by: Angela | February 25, 2008 8:55 AM