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Sesame Street ‘original 69 monster’ T-shirt fail
11:44 am


Sesame Street
Cookie Monster

This T-shirt featuring Cookie Monster is commemorating the birth of Sesame Street in 1969.

But something is a little bit off about this.

This had to have been intentional, right? Right?

I know none of our readers need this fail explained. Quite simply, your humble Dangerous Minds correspondent is a giggling 12-year-old boy.

The shirt is available as part of a package of Sesame Street commemorative shirts being sold through Amazon.

H/T: Marc Masters

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
‘Game of Chairs’: ‘Sesame Street’ takes on ‘Game of Thrones’

With a week to go before Game of Thrones returns to our screens, Sesame Street have produced a parody of the hit TV series—where the bloody feuds and wars are settled not by sword, sorcery, or dragon but by playing a game of musical chairs…

It’s certainly fun—with Muppet versions of Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon all battling it out, as a typically lustrous-locked Tyrion Lannister and (the unfortunately named) Grover Bluejoy look on.
While Sesame Street have brought some knowing humor to proceedings, there is an interesting article by Paul Mason over at the Guardian which asks “Can Marxist theory predict the end of Game of Thrones?”:

If you apply historical materialism to Westeros, the plot of season five and six becomes possible to predict. What happened with feudalism, when kings found themselves in hock to bankers, is that – at first – they tried to sort it out with naked power. The real-life Edward III had his Italian bankers locked up in the Tower of London until they waived his debts.

But eventually the power of commerce began to squash the power of kings. Feudalism gave way to a capitalism based on merchants, bankers, colonial plunder and the slave trade. Paper money emerged, as did a complex banking system for assuaging problems like your gold mine running dry….

There is a reason so much fantasy fiction adopts the conceit of a feudalism that is always in crisis but never overthrown. It forms the ideal landscape in which to dramatise the secret desires of people who live under modern capitalism…

Future social historians, as they look back on the popularity of Game of Thrones, will not have much trouble deciphering the inner desires of the generation addicted to it. They are: “all of the above” plus multipartner sex.

Trapped in a system based on economic rationality, we all want the power to be something bigger than our credit card limit, or our job function. Nobody sits at home watching the these dramas imagining they are a mere slave, peasant or serving girl: we are invited to fantasise that we are one of the characters with agency – Daenerys Targaryen, a beautiful woman with tame dragons, or the unkillable stubbly hunk that is Jon Snow.

You can read the full article here.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Meet Frank Underwolf: ‘Sesame Street’ did an amazing ‘House of Cards’ skit
12:00 pm


Sesame Street
House of Cards

Well, this was unexpected. I can’t imagine any youngsters getting any of the references here (that is, unless they’re diehard House of Cards fans).

The premise is basic, it’s the The Three Little Pigs as told by “Frank Underwolf” a Muppet stand-in for Kevin Spacey’s cutthroat character Frank Underwood.

Some people say there’s too much pork in this town. I could not agree more.

Frank Underwolf even talks to the camera, a nice touch.

Just watch it…

Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Psychedelic ‘Sesame Street’: Grace Slick’s free-jazz counting songs & ‘The Tomato’
11:33 am


Grace Slick
Sesame Street

Years of evolution has all-but-erased Sesame Street‘s psychedelic foundations. It was conceived as a much, much weirder show than its current incarnation, which is so often merely a vehicle for that cloying furry menace, Elmo and whatever flavor-of-the-week celebrity is looking to expand their fanbase to the preschool demographic. This is not to say Sesame Street never trafficked in star power—from the very first season in 1969, the show boasted among its visitors Burt Lancaster, James Earl Jones, Carol Burnett and… Grace Slick.

Yes, the voice of Grace Slick, of Jefferson Airplane (and other, less noble projects) was featured in nearly every episode of Sesame Street‘s debut season in 1969, singing absolutely deranged counting songs over psychedelic free jazz and groovy animation. I’m not sure if it taught any kids their numbers, but it’s sure as hell hypnotic. Slick’s role in the show was preceded by her recent participation in the Jim Henson-produced documentary, Youth 68—a study on the exploding 60’s counterculture.

Something even weirder after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Crack Master’: Rarely seen 1975 ‘Sesame Street’ cartoon supposedly too dark for kids
04:39 pm


Sesame Street

The Crack Master watches you as you sleep…
The premise of the 1975 Sesame Street cartoon “Crack Master” AKA “Cracks” sounds like a bad trip. A girl lays on her bed staring at cracks on the wall. She imagines them into a menagerie of playmates—a camel, a monkey and a hen become her new friends. But wait—there is another animated crack—The Crack Master—who bears only ill will towards our protagonist and her comrades! The Crack Master eventually collapses from his own hatred, but it’s hardly a resolution that inspires optimism. A girl lives in a dilapidated building full of animated, sometimes malevolent indicators of rot, and her only hope for defeating these monsters is the further deterioration of her home? What the hell?

The short developed an infamous reputation, due to both the impression it made on a myriad of distressed young viewers, and the early withdrawal of the cartoon—it was only shown eleven times before disappearing from public view for years, breeding rumors that it had been banned. In 2009, a dedicated citizen named Jon Armond managed to get a copy from a very anonymous source under two conditions: the source’s identity must be kept an absolute secret, and the cartoon must never be distributed. In a (pretty funny) audio narrative Armond says the source claimed the cartoon wasn’t banned for its ominousness, merely retired. Sesame Street has a bit of a reputation for litigiousness when it comes to copyright, but they’re a product of public television, so why all the cloak and dagger? It’s possible the show is still a little embarrassed by the short’s inadvertently dark tone.

Now of course, the infamous is available on YouTube, so watch—if you dare.

Via Watch This Thing

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Ernest & Bertram’: Banned short on the Sesame Street love that dare not speak its name
06:18 pm


Sesame Street

Look, we’ve all had our suspicions about Bert and Ernie. It’s hardly nosey to question the nature of their relationship—right? They live together, take baths together and they bicker like an old married couple. We’re all adults here!

The 2002 short, Ernest and Bertram does a little bit of speculative fiction on their very special relationship—lifting dialogue from Lillian Hellman’s 1934 play The Children’s Hour, in which two two boarding school headmistresses are accused of having a lesbian affair. Bert has been outed by the tabloids—who are guessing, but it’s enough to put him in a terror, and motivate his girlfriend (Miss Piggy), to pack her bags. What follows is a confrontation and confession by Ernie, who questions the truth in the rumors—it ends in a (strangely moving) tragedy!

Sadly, the (surprisingly litigious) folks at Sesame Street served filmmaker Peter Spears with a cease and desist order for copyright violation. It’s a real bummer, because the film is funny (the Spartacus poster in Bert’s home is a nice touch), and Sesame Street is such a gay-friendly institution at this point it’s silly not to acknowledge this parody as a valid cultural contribution—the film was a hit at Sundance! You can compare it with the scene from The Children’s Hour here.

Don’t worry, this homoerotic Muppet contraband is all psychological and safe for work—we’re not that sick!

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Einstein on The Street: Philip Glass and ‘Sesame Street’ introduce kids to geometry and Minimalism!
12:30 pm


Sesame Street
Philip Glass

“Geometry of Circles” is a series of animated shorts created for Sesame Street in 1979 with music by Philip Glass.

From the Muppet Wiki:

The shorts consist of the movement of six circles (each with a different color of the rainbow) that are formed by and split up into various geometric patterns. Glass’s music underscores the animation in a style that closely resembles the “Dance” numbers and the North Star vignettes written during the same time period as his Einstein on the Beach opera.

Below, all four of the “Geometry of Circles” animations produced by Glass and The Children’s Television Workshop:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Right-winger accuses ‘Sesame Street’ of corrupting America’s youth with self-esteem
01:05 pm

Class War

Sesame Street

Sesame Street
Sesame Street has always dealt with social realities with a frank and sympathetic voice, from folksinger Buffy Sainte-Marie explaining breastfeeding to Big Bird, to Jesse Jackson’s impassioned “I am Somebody” speech (seriously, that one’s a kick right in the old working-class ovaries). A few days ago the beloved children’s institution released an online toolkit for educators and families to help children deal with having a parent who is incarcerated.

The American Prison Industrial Complex (which is becoming quite a cash cow for a select few 1%ers) holds 25% of the world’s prisoners, though we only make up 5% of the world’s population. We jail more people than any other country in the world. One out of 28 children in America have a parent in prison, and it goes without saying that it’s both traumatic and difficult for a child to understand.

It would seem that helping a child deal with that sort of trauma would be a completely unobjectionable project, but Meredith Jessup at Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze, seems to think Sesame Street failed by not explicitly portraying law-breakers as wrong-doers.

As Liz reported yesterday, PBS’ “Sesame Street” is moving on from ABCs and 123s to offer its young audience bigger life lessons, including coping strategies for when mom and/or dad winds up in the slammer.

At the show’s site, “tool kits” offer tips for caregivers, including explaining the concept of incarceration in a kid-friendly way.  I was particularly struck by this one:

    “When explaining where an incarcerated parent is, you can say, “Daddy is in a place called prison (or jail) for a while. Grownups sometimes go to prison when they break a rule called a law.”

Is it me or does this make it seem like jail time is par for the course?

It’s nice that Sesame Street has stepped forward to try and help kids left behind by parents serving time. Being removed from a parent can be seriously traumatic for kids and lend itself to developmental problems of their own.  These are kids who need support.

That said, however, I’ve watched each of the videos produced by Sesame Workshop for the campaign.  It strikes me that there’s no real advice offered for teaching kids lessons in right vs. wrong; there’s no guide for driving conversations about what crime has been committed and/or how mommy or daddy could have acted differently.  Instead, the focus seems to be on alleviating the stigma attached to having a parent in prison.

Which would be absolutely terrible, wouldn’t it?

It’s essential to be supportive of innocent kids caught in these terrible situations, but I think it’s just as important to make sure they have the tools needed to avoid the same fate as their parents — a moral education and established expectations of responsibility. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like we’re doing this kids any great service.

Oh, for sure. Discussing a complex and incredibly unjust legal system that disproportionately jails black, Latino, and/or poor men is totally appropriate for an eight-year-old. Destigmatizing incarceration would simply make the child feel better about themselves and their family, and we can’t possibly have that, now can we? We should really be pulling children aside and calmly explain to them that their Daddy is a terrible person because he got caught with a baggie of weed.

Congratulations, Meredith Jessup, you are officially the worst person in the world (at least for this morning).

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Waiting for Elmo: ‘Sesame Street’ meets Samuel Beckett
06:14 pm


Samuel Beckett
Sesame Street

Sesame Street’s fantastic Samuel Beckett parody, “Waiting for Elmo”:

“A modern masterpiece, a play so modern and so brilliant that it makes absolutely no sense to anybody.”

—Alastair Cookie


Via Open Culture

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Herbie Hancock demonstrates a Fairlight CMI synth on Sesame Street in the early 1980s

Herbie Hancock demonstrates his Fairlight CMI on Sesame Street circa 1983.

The Fairlight Computer Music Instrument (CMI) was a state-of-the-art Synthesizer/Sampler workstation when it hit the market in 1979 and its rep has endured. Finding one today for sale is nearly impossible. They’re highly collectible among people who collect such things.

The little girl whose voice is being sampled, Tatyana Ali, went on to star on The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Three Primary Colors: New OK Go music video (and game) from ‘Sesame Street’
06:23 pm

Pop Culture

Sesame Street
Al Jarnow

Usually their videos have millions of views on day one, but this one seems to have slipped out unnoticed, relatively speaking. There is also an OK Go color game at Sesame

Directed by Al Jarnow, the animator responsible for the iconic “Cosmic Clock” short. This is his first new work for Sesame Street in over 25 years.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Cosmic Clock: The Passing of Time Visualized

Thank you Jesse Jarnow!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
James Earl Jones recites the Alphabet on Sesame Street
01:36 pm


Sesame Street
Darth Vader
James Earl Jones

In other words, “Darth Vader recites the alphabet on Sesame Street.” Who knew the alphabet could be so intense?

And if that wasn’t enough for you, here’s James Earl Jones counting to 10.

(via IHC)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Stop-motion of Sesame Street’s ‘Pinball Number Count’



Nice stop-motion recreation of classic Sesame Street segment, the “Pinball Number Count.” I really wished they had retained the original, ultra funky theme song sung by The Pointer Sisters, though.

(via BuzzFeed)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Sesame Street crew covers The Beastie Boys

The Sesame Street crew get crazy with the Beastie Boys’ “Sure Shot.”

This was put together by British branding and graphics company Wonderful Creations.

Grover is groovin’.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Yip Yips discover Dubstep
01:45 pm


Sesame Street
Yip Yips

According to the YouTube comments this genre of music is called Drumstep, not Dubstep. It’s hard to keep track these days.

(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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