Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The mean Sesame Streets.

Many dresses are up over many hysterical heads over the news that Sesame Street will be first-run on HBO (of all places) before running on PBS. I can't imagine why this is considered a good move by HBO, which has celebrated its gross inappropriateness (to say the least) for decades.

People have reacted as if this is the equivalent of the Bada Bing opening next to the Hundred Acre Wood. I say, not quite.

When I was a kid the Great Society was in full swing. That meant all kinds of things that would have today's well-meaning youngsters soiling their Underoos. Busing, enormous housing projects, and tremendous amounts of concrete were everywhere, and (not coincidentally) lunatics literally being let loose from asylums. White people, who had been enticed to suburban living with the advent of the automobile, now ran screaming to the suburbs. Fun times!

When Sesame Street debuted in 1969 it was a typical hippie project of the era. It seemed to be intended to connect to urban kids, who prior to this were only seeing children on TV living in whitebread suburbs. No problem with that---except that the cities were falling into the crapper, and cheerful idiots like New York's Mayor John Lindsay were pulling the handle. So forget the Muppets---episodes were full of street scenes from the city that probably looked funky and cool  to the producers, and looked like an absolute horror show to small children at home.

Dumpy, dreary housing projects!
Of course, they looked even worse on our old black-and-white TV.

Gritty, dreary housing projects!
We learned that the show's city clips were a good time to go to the bathroom or try to wheedle a snack out of Mom.

So don't tell me that Sesame Street doesn't belong on the mean streets of HBO. It had a bird with a hallucinatory "friend"; an unemployable blue hairball with the perma-munchies; and a con artist who was selling shady or possibly stolen goods. For decades it has featured a cranky bum living in a garbage can! What the hell was the idea? I mean, I like Oscar just fine, because I am now a cranky bum, but was this supposed to teach children that the alcoholic nutcase living on the street could be their pal? The more I think of this, the more I think it should have been on HBO in the first place.

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