Sesame StreetLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 10/17/18 at 9:37PM EDT
In praise of Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch
Source: The New York Times
In Caroll Spinney's Sesame Street retirement announcement Wednesday morning, Big Bird got many of the headlines. But in addition to playing Big Bird, Spinning also voiced the famously grumpy, trash can-dwelling Oscar the Grouch. "He hates talking to people, complains all the time and treasures an old fish wrapped in newspaper and his pet, Slimey the Worm," Karen Zraick writes of Oscar. "But Oscar’s curmudgeonly nature and his dirty, matted green fur make him all the more endearing to his admirers. And with his constant kvetching, he offers kids lessons about how to handle conflict or negative emotions, like annoyance or anger." ALSO: Watch Sesame Street's tribute to Caroll Spinney.
Posted Wednesday 10/17/18 at 10:21AM EDT
Caroll Spinney exiting Sesame Street after nearly 50 years of playing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch
Source: The New York Times
This week is the 84-year-old Spinney's last on the beloved children's TV show. The puppeteer, who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since Sesame Street's 1969 launch, will formally retire on Thursday. “I always thought, How fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets? Playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life," Spinney told The New York Times of his exit. Asked if he had long been contemplating his departure from Sesame Street, Spinney answered, “No, not at all.” Spinney said the physical requirements of performing the characters had taken a toll. He gave up on puppeteering Big Bird in 2015 and has only provided the voices for him and Oscar in recent years. Spinney felt the impending 50th anniversary of Sesame Street was the perfect time to retire. Spinney will be succeeded by Matt Vogel, who has been his Big Bird apprentice since 1996. Vogel, who also voices Kermit the Frog and Count von Count, saw succeeding Spinney as “daunting and important." “The more I do the character, the more that I try to preserve what I think Caroll’s intentions were,” said Vogel. “Inevitably, part of our own personality starts to creep into those characters. But that’s the way they live on.”
Posted Wednesday 9/19/18 at 10:06PM EDT
Sesame Street posts video titled “Bert and Ernie Sing the Ding Along Song!” after hubbub over whether they're gay
As Slate points out, "Sesame Street’s latest move in a controversy over whether Bert and Ernie are gay was to passive-aggressively post a music video containing the two characters titled, 'Bert and Ernie Sing the Ding Along Song!' on their YouTube channel." ALSO: Ex-Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman's Queerty interview included insights into how the Muppets covered a myriad of LGBTQ issues.
Posted Wednesday 9/19/18 at 2:34PM EDT
Ex-Sesame Street writer says his comments about Bert and Ernie being gay were misinterpreted
Source: The New York Times
Mark Saltzman told Queerty he always saw Bert and Ernie as a "loving couple" inspired by his relationship with his partner Arnold Glassman, who died in 2003. Saltzman says he was trying to say that Bert and Ernie were like his real-life relationship -- opposites who found a way to love each other. “As a writer, you just bring what you know into your work,” he told The New York Times. “Somehow, in the uproar, that turned into Bert and Ernie being gay,” he added. “There is a difference.”
Posted Tuesday 9/18/18 at 10:47PM EDT
Sesame Street is wrong to say Bert and Ernie can't have a sexual orientation because they're puppets
Sesame Workshop quickly refuted ex-Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman's apparent confirmation to Queerty that Bert and Ernie are gay, saying in a statement: “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.” As Kathryn VanArendonk argues, "this is poppycock," pointing to the Sesame Street characters Mama, Papa, Baby and Curly Bear. "If Muppets don’t have sex, then how does reproduction work? Where would Baby and Curly Bear even come from?" she asks. "Sesame Street Muppets," she adds, "share a universe with Muppet Show Muppets: Kermit has appeared on Sesame Street, Big Bird makes a cameo in The Muppet Movie, and Rowlf appeared in the pilot pitch reel for the Sesame Street series. This makes their shared universe canon. And if the Muppets of Sesame Street cannot have a sexual orientation because they’re puppets, that same argument would have to go for the Muppets of The Muppet Show. Postulating that puppet-ness prevents beings like Elmo or Cookie Monster from having a sexual orientation is one thing. It feels nonthreatening. They’re so sweet and cuddly! But extending that same puppet-ness as a foundational argument for the absent sexuality of characters like Sam the Eagle? Miss Piggy? Pepe the King Prawn? Rowlf?! That borders on insanity."
- Sesame Street bungled the chance to say "Yep, Bert and Ernie are gay. So what?"
- Why are Bert and Ernie without sexual orientation when Miss Piggy is so lustfully sex-crazed for Kermit?
- Frank Oz, the voice of Bert, tweeted: "Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only gay?"
- Why Oz should realize that it does matter to question whether Bert and Ernie are gay: "When you’re the isolated gay kid in your own desert, why not look to the oasis of Bert and Ernie, not fitting in to the established order in their own way, and ask some questions of them and maybe yourself," says Tim Teeman. "Such questions can be liberating and nourishing."
- "Look: Saltzman affirming the idea of Bert and Ernie being lovers has nothing to do with their sex lives," says Charles Pulliam-Moore, "and everything to do with the fact that theirs is one of the most stable, healthy, and caring relationships in television history—on a show that’s meant for children, no less."
- Bert is still trending on Twitter above Ernie
Posted Tuesday 9/18/18 at 3:13PM EDT
Sesame Street responds after ex-writer says Bert and Ernie are a gay couple: They "do not have a sexual orientation"
Mark Saltzman, who began writing for Sesame Street in 1984, said in an interview with Queerty the duo are a reflection of his same-sex relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman, joking that he's Ernie while Arnold is Bert. "I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked 'are Bert & Ernie lovers?' And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were," Saltzman told Queerty. "I didn't have any other way to contextualize them." Sesame Workshop responded to the interview via a Twitter statement, saying: "As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation." ALSO: Why is Bert trending higher on Twitter than Ernie?
Posted Tuesday 9/18/18 at 8:17AM EDT
Pampers gets rid of Sesame Street characters amid gender concerns
Source: New York Post
Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch no longer appear on Pampers diapers after complaints that Sesame Street characters lack female representation.
Posted Wednesday 8/22/18 at 1:56PM EDT
Sesame Street re-creates The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air opening with Bert and Ernie
“Won’t take long, just a minute you see. We’ll tell you how we became Bert and Ernie.”
Posted Wednesday 7/18/18 at 1:42PM EDT
Jimmy Kimmel enlists Sesame Street's Grover to explain to President Trump the difference between "would" and "wouldn't"
Kimmel showed an educational clip featuring Grover in response to Trump's would/wouldn't Putin press conference explanation.
Posted Wednesday 6/20/18 at 1:32PM EDT
Sesame Workshop teams with Apple to develop kids' programming
The nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street will create live-action and animated series plus a new puppet series for Apple. The pact, however, does not include Sesame Street, which has a separate deal with HBO and PBS.
Posted Wednesday 5/30/18 at 9:55PM EDT
Judge rejects Sesame Street producers' lawsuit against Melissa McCarthy puppet movie
Source: USA Today
A U.S. District judge ruled against Sesame Street Workshop, saying The Happytime Murders can continue using the "No Sesame. All Street" tagline.
Posted Friday 5/25/18 at 7:45PM EDT
Sesame Street producers sue over Melissa McCarthy's The Happytime Murders, featuring "ejaculating puppets"
Source: The Blast
Sesame Workshop isn't happy with the upcoming film's puppet-themed tagline "No Sesame, All Street," claiming that the trailer for the film “deliberately confuses consumers into mistakenly believing that Sesame is associated with, has allowed, or has even endorsed or produced the movie and tarnishes Sesame’s brand.” They add that the film producers have “diluted and defiled Sesame’s beloved Sesame Street children’s television show" with a trailer that is "explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating, and even ejaculating puppets.” ALSO: The Happytime Murders producer responds, noting the film is directed by Jim Henson's son Brian Henson.
Posted Friday 4/06/18 at 4:27AM EDT
Sesame Street theme park is the first to receive a certification for autism and awareness training
Sesame Place staffers have been trained to interact with children with autism. The park also has quiet rooms for kids with sensory processing disorders.
Posted Sunday 3/04/18 at 2:12PM EST
Jimmy Kimmel celebrated Oscar Sunday by making an Oscar the Grouch-themed pancake for his daughter
Kimmel posted yet another photo to Instgram of his artistic pancake creations, which his wife Molly McNearney complained about this past week in a Washington Post article.
Posted Thursday 1/18/18 at 9:48PM EST
Sesame Street’s HBO evolution includes cutting down on pop-culture parodies
Source: The New Yorker
“Because fewer adults actually pay attention to Sesame Street these days, the series has turned down the dial on pop-culture parodies, such as one spoofing Mad Men, from 2009, with an advertising executive thanking his staff for making him happy," says Troy Patterson.