Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Five Favorite Sesame Street Muppets

It's the 40th anniversary of "Sesame Street," which means the show has been around for almost as long as I can remember. I do remember its being a new show, which we watched instead of our previous favorite, "The Banana Splits Club." In fact, because "The Banana Splits Club" featured actors in giant puppet-like suits, I think I must have just figured that "Sesame Street" was a grittier, more urban version of the same kind of show. It too had cartoons and short films, and if those happened to be about numbers and letters, I didn't see that as being so different from the cartoons about pirates and monsters. Which I guess was the point.

Anyway, I am still very fond of the Muppets on Sesame Street, and these are my favorites. You will not find Elmo on this list. Vote for your own in the comments section.

1. The Count. I still know all the words to "The Song of the Count," and most of the words to the "Transylvania Polka." So much to admire about the Count: he's suave, he's debonair, he's got that great accent, he's a really interesting pink/purple color. Of course, my passion for the Count might explain why I never really learned to count past 10. "Ten, ten, wonderful ten! Then I start again."

2. Snuffleupagus. In the early years, Snuffleupagus was visible only to Big Bird, and the rest of Sesame Street thought he was Big Bird's imaginary friend. I don't know who made the decision to make him "real," or why. The humans' unwillingness to believe Big Bird made me horribly anxious, and must have done the same to other children, but I still think that was a valuable lesson for kids. In the name of safety, today's society doesn't allow children to have secrets. I guess that's a necessary trade-off, but it's also a loss.

3. Guy Smiley. "America's Favorite Game Show Host." Not all of Jim Henson's characters survived him, and Guy Smiley disappeared for a while. I heard they were bringing him back, but I haven't watched "Sesame Street" in a long time.

4. Grover. "It is I, your lovable, furry friend Grover." Did you ever notice that Grover speaks in complete, grammatically correct sentences, without contractions? Well, he does. How could you not love him? My brother James had a book called The Monster at the End of this Book, featuring Grover, who ran in fear from page to page pleading with kids to stop turning the pages — until he and the reader realized that the monster at the end of the book was Grover himself. Heavy-duty metaphysical stuff to be laying on kids, if you ask me. I applaud that.

5. Oscar. Moody? Me? Personality is hardwired; the child was the mother of the woman, and I was an irritable kid. I was (and am) also a terrible slob. It's why Oscar lives alone, and so do I. Oscar was much crankier when I was a kid than he is now; these days he's more likely to show his heart of gold, and we've learned that he has a whole Grouch family and various Grouch activities. Oscar and I disagree on anchovies; he likes them, I don't. Also, I have a dog instead of a worm for a pet. Other than that . . .

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where's Sam the Eagle?

-- Ed

AnswerGirl said...

I've never seen him on "Sesame Street," only on "The Muppet Show"!

He reminds me of my friend John Erath.

Claire said...

We also had The Monster at the End of this Book! Plus this really great collection of Sesame Street "stories" which I think were largely brainteasers, but I can't quite recall.

I have always loved Cookie Monster, mostly for Monsterpiece Theater. Also I loved the Yip Yips. Chris was terrified of Captain Vegetable growing up, but I think he's retired now.

AnswerGirl said...

I will have to look up both the Yip Yips and Captain Vegetable — after my time!

But the Cookie Monster is awesome. Every so often you hear alarmists suggesting he's being forced into a more healthy diet, but he has made repeated public statements that he is not giving up the cookies.

steve said...

Kermit the Frog was and is my all-time favorite. His News Flashes were the best. Who doesn't love a frog in a trench coat and fedora?

We also lived for the Twiddlebugs who took up residence in Ernie's window box. We laughed so hard at those dumb bugs. Ernie was another favorite.

But, I really, really DON'T like Telly Bear. Why don't they have his speech evaluated?????


Kris

Anna said...

I'm with Kris on Telly Bear. Also, have you noticed, those of you with small children, that they've cleaned the puppets up a little. The count's eyebrows are rather trim, as are Bert's. Even Elmo has undergone a transition and his fur has been trimmed. You can easily tell this because the shows are made up of old and new clips. Someone even had a unibrow that they divided in two. Who was that? Hmmm, I'll have to pay better attention tomorrow, and the next day, and the next....

norby said...

I loved Oscar myself. I really liked his little worm too, but I can't remember his name!

AnswerGirl said...

Oscar's worm is Slimey! I too can't stand Telly Bear.

I met Zoe in person once; she's not as tall as she looks on TV . . .