Sesame Street is the home to an an iconic group of characters that heavily influenced many growing up in the 80s, 90s, and 20s. However, Sesame Street has had an interesting and bumpy road from its 1969 debut to today.
Without a doubt, Sesame Street was one of my favorite shows growing up. It was something dependable that I always knew would be on television and would always put a smile on my face.
When this T.V show debuted in 1969, the goal was to teach generations of children how to count and read the alphabet. They were able to achieve these goals by incorporating short and funny segments that featured actors, puppets, and animations. These first years of episodes were lighthearted, fun, and active to the children growing up watching them and we all to a liking to characters, whether it be Elmo, Big Bird, the Muppets, or Oscar the Grouch- there was a character for everyone.
Why Sesame Street saw such success was the pureness of the message they were trying to achieve. However, in the 20s up until now in the present day, Sesame Street has drastically changed to try and address political issues and rather pointless celebrity phenomenons.
For example, a large part of the show used to be the celebrity guest appearance section which featured guests like Robin Williams, R2D2, and other characters that were legitimately trying to teach children a message. However, present day they have celebrities such as a Justin Bieber look-a-like and Katy Perry’s breasts? What are we really teaching children when we use Katy Perry’s breasts as a tool to teach young children?
Sesame Street has been riddled with scandals throughout the years. From scandals in the early days such as Bert and Ernie’s sexual orientation, Cookie Monster smoking a pipe in early episodes, to an African American puppet promoting negative racial stereotypes, and to an HIV positive puppet have led to scandals in the more present day. Some of these scandals include: the Cookie monster turning into a vegetable monster, the premier of an Arab puppet, and also the hack of sesame street which led to the showing of porn.
So my questions to you as readers is; has Sesame Street gone to far to try and relate to popular cultural issues? Is sesame street which originally started as a tool for children to read and learn, the write place for us to be featuring these political, social, and moral issues we face globally?