This morning (Saturday), the first episode of season 50 of Sesame Street aired. That is a freakin’ long time! Lots longer than The Simpsons!
Of course, “aired” might not be right word, since it’s now on HBO. Since they made the switch, I always kind of wondered about that. The unique thing about Sesame Street when it came out was that kids who live in normal city apartments could relate to it. Now kids whose parents don’t have HBO can’t see it.
Actually, that’s not true. PBS shows year-old episodes, and since there’s very little change in the alphabet or the numbering system, that’s probably not a problem.
I was in 6th grade when Sesame Street debuted — way too old to be watching it. But I had never seen anything like it! From the Muppets to the human characters to the rapid-fire animations, the show went way beyond its educational value. So I watched it anyway!
They even had the guts to deal with at least one tough issue — death — on a pre-school level. When Will Lee, one of the original cast members, who played general store owner Mr. Hooper, passed away in the early 80’s, they decided to actually have the Mr. Hooper character die! They dealt with the mourning and the sadness and how life does go on. These were not lily-livered producers!
So now the original target audience of Sesame Street has grandkids of their own that are probably also watching Sesame Street! Who knows, we may be looking at another 50 years.