Today Sesame Street turns 40 and once again, the show is making news and stirring controversy. It is so timely that critics now claim its storylines reflect bias. A recent re-airing of a two year old show featuring a news channel parody, today’s scheduled guest host, First Lady Michelle Obama, and this season’s emphasis on the environment are the reasons for this latest controversy.
Recently PBS re-aired an episode from two years ago where Oscar the Grouch started a news network called Grouchy News Network or GNN. A puppet character caller complained that GNN wasn’t grouchy enough and said, “From now on, I’m watching Pox News. Now there’s a trashy news show.” This is just another very clever parody that Sesame Street is famous for and not an attack against conservatives or Fox News as some might claim. It is a simply a fun and smart show. Sesame Street is famous for its parodies. Other clever parodies include Desperate Houseplants, A’s Anatomy, Law and Order: Special Letters Unit, Preschool Musical and 30 Rocks. Parents can look forward to newer parodies of Dancing with the Stars and even a Mad Men parody in which a Muppet Don Draper pitches an ad campaign that makes him feel mad, sad and eventually glad.
Today First Lady Michelle Obama will appear as a guest star on Sesame Street to help celebrate its birthday. Sesame Street has a history of inviting celebrities on the show to delight parents and children alike. Guest stars, like parodies, are another staple of the show. They serve two purposes. Guest stars make the show current and since co-viewing of parents and children is encouraged, featuring celebrity guests succeeds in entertaining parents along with their kids. Three other first ladies have also appeared on the show. In fact, this year more celebrity guests are scheduled than ever before. Watching them cut loose on Sesame Street is sure to be a treat.
Could it be that Sesame Street is promoting a liberal agenda by focusing on the environment this year? It’s more likely that Sesame Street is doing what its always done and that is incorporating trends into its shows. As we all know, the “green” movement is present in nearly every aspect of modern culture. It would be odd if Sesame Street didn’t follow suit.
Happy Birthday Sesame Street! I’ll be watching and hope you’ll be around for many more years to come.