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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What’s your favorite childhood memory of ‘Sesame Street’ (or ‘Wallace and Gromit’)?

They’re not quite analogous, but a confluence of anniversaries this week resulted in dueling Google doodles on either side of the Atlantic, for the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street:


and the 20th anniversary of Wallace and Gromit:

Today, both Google.com and Google.co.uk share this doodle:

What’s your favorite childhood memory of Sesame Street (or Wallace and Gromit, or both)?

I loved Sesame Street as a kid — the show and I are the same age; it debuted just a few months after I was born — and to this day, I can’t see a police dog or a farm dog without singing in my head, “Dog, dog, I’m a workin’ dog, I’m a hard-workin’ dog.”

I was a grownup before Wallace and Gromit came along, but it still tickles me endlessly. (I have been known to say, in all earnestness, “Oo, I do like a nice bit of cheese.”) Somewhere around here I’ve got the new W&G DVD, A Matter of Loaf and Death, that I must get around to watching…

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • JT

    I have a lot of Sesame Street memories too but the “Farewell, Mr. Hooper” episode remains my favorite moment and it was really important to me.

    It was so sad to read that Sesame Street has become part of the secret communist agenda.

    Sorry, I just read that and had to share. Jayne Cobb, how could you?

  • With a 2-year-old, I have new memories of Sesame Street daily, and many of them help refresh the old.

    The one that is significant, and still lasts, and I think I have it in full on the Electric Company DVDs I won a while back on this very site, and Family Guy even did a riff on it, is (say it aloud)

    one-two-three FOUR FIVE six-seven eight-nine-ten E-LEV-EN TWELVE

    Doot doo-doo doo-doo…

  • amanohyo

    What JoshDM said. I was fascinated by pinball machines as a youngster, so the idea of some awesome disco pinball universe with catchy music (that always seemed a little different each time) was hypnotizing.

  • Just a quick bit of news about TT Animations show “What’s Your News”

    It was entered for the “Japan Prize”, which is an international competition for educational shows, organised by NHK (Japan’s equivalent of the BBC) in Tokyo.

    They had over 360 shows entered from 65 countries and “What’s Your News” not only won “Best Pre-School Show” but also the overall “Grand Prix Prize”. The last time a pre-school show did that was 12 years ago with “Teletubbies” and before that it was Sesame Street 25 years ago.

    We would love it if you would do a piece on our show.

    All the best

    Chris D.

  • Bluejay

    Favorite memories: so many.

    I’d say the Super Grover bits are way up there.

  • Mike

    As a kid it was Cookie Monster. I’m sure all us fat kids identified with his cute lack-of-control, and wished our diminished capacity to delay gratification could somehow become transformed from a source of disappointment and irritation for our parents, into a source of amusement as that adorable blue bastard had managed to do.

    Perhaps I’ve shared too much.

    As an adult, just about any thing which features people talking with muppets is captivating. No wait. MONSTER muppets. Excepting Bert and Ernie, the people muppets are a bore.

  • jakob1978

    the most vivid memory of Sesame street is the one mentioned above…the pinball machine.

    But my favourite Sesame Street scene is a song, sung by Ernie called “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIntrayvOlc

  • Orangutan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf-HBMq9ggg

    That’s always the first thing that springs to mind whenever anyone mentions Sesame Street.

  • Yip-yip-yip-yip… Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Not cow. Yip-yip-yipyipyip. Baaa-ring! Baaaaaa-ring! Yip-yip-yip-yip…

    Oh, you BETTER know this…

  • Lisa

    bank robber penguin toy train chase

  • @amanohyo

    I saw one video of the pinball machine that hit every number, showing all of them compiled together. I think it’s on the youtube.

    FOUND IT:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgocE-JfWFI

  • Kathy A

    Definitely Grover doing Near and Far. But my favorite rediscovered clip was one I saw on a PBS special about Sesame Street (maybe for the 25th anniversary?), with a little girl saying the alphabet with Kermit. She’s a bit obsessed with Cookie Monster, just like I was at that age!

    Here’s the clip:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptbp0pmcg3U

  • Isobel

    I don’t remember any episode particulary (which is because I have a rubbish memory, rather than any fault of Sesame Street’s), but I was a massive Grover fan. I had a stuffed Grover and I dragged it everywhere, and did the whole ‘is it a bird, is it a plane, noooo, it’s suuuuuper Grover!’ until my parents probably wanted to strangle me.

  • sophronia

    “We all live in a capital I, in the middle of the desert, in the center of the sky…”

  • Mark

    ‘Wallace and Gromit’

    I never really understood even as a young child the attraction of sesame street.But Wallace and Gromit is set in my home town of Wigan,i really do get that humour!:-).

  • bracyman

    To this day I have to restrain myself from running towards and away from people while yelling out my proximity to them.
    clomp clomp clomp
    Near!
    clomp clomp clomp
    clomp clomp clomp
    FAAAAAR!

  • Mark

    Why has Britain fallen out of live with Seasame Street?

    Cos it just isnt that good possibly?:-)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8340141.stm

  • Sesame Street came on the air at the time my sister was just a baby and i was about 12. my whole family loved it. it was a bit crazy, a bit chaotic, a bit anarchaic, a bit subversive, a lot colorful and a great deal of fun. little jokes like the “D Train” (where all the Ds get off the subway car) and “Monsterpiece Theatre” kept the whole family amused.

    when my nephews were small, we loved SS and watched it all the time. (and from that era, i remember the Elephant and the Man on the park bench, because we used to tell my nephew S he was just like the elephant — running off before instructions were complete).

    and even after the boys were older and away, i continued to watch SS just to see great routines like Patrick Stewart doing “A B, or not a B, that is the question” or Leontyne Price as Aida singing “C stands for Cookie, that’s good enough for me.”

    but these days, the whole smart, subversive element has gone — it’s all about conforming and cooperating and has practically become the Elmo show. i sort of equate it with Barney now — totally annoying to adults, mildly amusing and totally “harmless” to children. sad, really — there just isn’t enough chaos for children on television.

  • bats :[

    Right on, PaulW! (The characters were among the subversive Henson critters at their best.)

    SS was “after my time,” but I’ll occasionally watch it to see respectable actors, singers (Linda Ronstadt), and the like count or sing or just be silly.

    The growing presence of Elmo has really blandified the program. What a shame.

  • Brian

    Every so often, for no reason at all, I will bound around the house and boom out, “It is IIIII, Captain Vegetablllllleee! With my carrot and my ce-ler-yyyyyyy!” This alarms my fiancee to no end.

    Did anybody else own a copy of The Monster at the End of this Book when they were growing up? I loved that book.

  • Paul

    I had two Semame Street books when I was a kid, one I think was the monster, and the other was about some huge museum. I thought both were really cool.

    As for the show, it was “one cookie, two cookie, three cookies! hahahaha!” and the Grouch’s sarcasm. Practically prophetic of my TV viewing later: supernatural and sitcoms.

    And I think it’s interesting that SS was almost banned from Mississippi because of the interracial cast, and it got in trouble in Lousiana for it’s strong, single women characters, and with NOW for not making women strong enough (which was when Susan became a nurse).

    As for Adam Baldwin, I kept thinking, wow, this is why he’s an actor instead of a writer. Second thought, I agree with his basic premise, except I think those are good things instead of bad.

  • Bluejay

    Brian: *Love* “The Monster at the End of This Book.” Love it, love it.

    I’m surprised no one’s mentioned “The Ballad of Lowercase N” yet:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btVGz294X0w

    I still think that’s one of the most perfect songs I’ve ever heard.

    Agree with bronxbee – The show was so much smarter and more subversive way back when.

  • Brian

    @Paul – Yeah, I had the museum book too. A little Google/Wikipedia sleuthing reveals that it was called Grover and The Everything In The Whole Wide World Museum.

    Grover was the best. I love that all the original SS muppets were a bit neurotic. It made them so interesting, and made the neurotic behavior of adults a little easier to understand. I’ll take Grover or Oscar the Grouch any day over the chirpy idiocy of Elmo.

  • JoshDM

    Regarding Sesame Street, it’s been toned down to an even younger audience that it’s original intent and focuses more on Elmo and his peers (Zoey, Abby the *urgh* Fairy Godchild, and Telly Monster and Baby Bear (of the 3 Bears)) than the more adolescent characters. Occasionally Big Bird (who is quite condescending sometimes) gets a shot, but he seems to have been up-labeled to adolescent. Even most Ernie and Bert segments have been replaced with a clay-mation iteration of the pair going on fantastic adventures.

    Meanwhile, a separate show called “Play with Me, Sesame” has evolved featuring Ernie, Bert, Grover, and token female Prarie Dawn addressing non-toddlers. Many of the older segments featuring these characters have been relegated to this program, where they also feature newer segments including games like Simon-Says and Memory and Match-Pairing.

    Certainly some of the characters show up in the other programs, but it’s become more like how Kermit used to host the Muppet Show and occasionally drop by Sesame Street.

    Cookie Monster is featured equally on both shows.

  • CB

    It was so sad to read that Sesame Street has become part of the secret communist agenda.

    Sorry, I just read that and had to share. Jayne Cobb, how could you?

    I dunno… It was kinda refreshing to hear someone who isn’t criticizing American values come right out and say that multiculturalism is an anti-American value.

  • Jean

    While I have no doubt Adam Baldwin will tell us all about the horrifying side of cooperative gardening, this song never fails to make dish washing or laundry folding with my boyfriend more fun.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5exvfbnFMUg

    “Cooperation, makes it happen. Cooperation, working together.
    Dig it.”

  • Amy

    SS was a staple of my childhood, as were all things Henson. I could never narrow it down to a favorite bit. Anything with Grover was a win with me, he was my favorite SS Muppet.

    I still have my copy of “The Monster at the End of this Book”, and I plan to buy the DVDs of “classic” SS to show my kids one day rather than the watered down shadow it has become. Elmo is so annoying. They have really skewed the age down and taken away all of the edges. So sad. You’d never see an episode like “Farewell, Mr Hooper” these days. Heaven forbid we treat kids like the smart people they are and are trying to become.

    *getting off the soapbox now*

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    Four! Root beer! Floats! WHoaph! THUMPBUMPBUMP BUMP.

    The ball rolling down the metal construction counting 3 along the way

    Said the Alligator king to his seven sons…

    Lots of good memories!

    I also had “Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum”, as well as the Monster at the end of the book. There was also a hide and seek one, where he tried to hide in the blank pages of the book, “destroying” it in the process. :)

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