Seen on the Street

[deleted account] ( 34 moms have responded )

Parental advisories abound these days.

Toys are toxic. Cold medicine is dangerous. Sesame Street has an adults-only warning.

Cowabunga! Is the letter of the day X, as in Rated?

The curious caveat appears on a DVD collection of shows originally broadcast from 1969-1979. “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups,” the disclaimer states, “and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

Yesteryear’s preschool child was apparently exposed to characters with habits that “modeled the wrong behavior,” the show’s executive producer told The New York Times.

Chief among the offenders is Cookie Monster, the beloved, blue binge-eater of cookies and anything else he could comically cram into his mouth. Cookie Monster earned the adults-only warning for smoking and eating his pipe in his “Monster Piece Theater” send-ups of pipe-smoking PBS host Alistair Cooke.

The 1960’s-style suggestion that Big Bird might have been hallucinating about seeing Snuffleupagus earned a caution as well. And as for chronically crabby, sarcastic, un-medicated Oscar the Grouch…well, the show’s executive producer sums up the warning against the moody malcontent this way: “We might not be able to create a character like Oscar now.”

Scram!

Is it OK for children to be exposed to fictional TV characters with personality flaws? By protecting kids from questionable traits and behavior, what effect do we have on their ability to discern and make their own sound decisions?

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34 Comments

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Jessica - posted on 04/11/2010

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I love watching nickelodean (sp?) channel or teletune retro! They actually have disclaimers before the Bugs Bunny and Tweety show that it may offend some veiwers...I swear that there are some people who sit at home and just think of things they can bitch about....seriously. My hubby and I have been buying/burning all the old classic cartoons and disney etc so that are kids will actually have good cartoons to watch...most of the stuff that comes out now is crap, or just creepy....Sponge Bob creeps me out, lol.

Kerrie - posted on 03/02/2010

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Lol, I just googled it and it says "In an episode of Sesame Street that aired on November 18th, 1985, Mr. Snuffleupagus finally met the adults that lived on Sesame Street. Before this, many of the adults believed that Mr. Snuffleupagus was an imaginary friend of Big Bird.

At the time, many shows like 60 Minutes were covering stories about children who were afraid to tell their parents about sexual molestation. These children believed that their parents would not believe them, and think that they made the story up.

The producers of Sesame Street took this opportunity to introduce Snuffy to the adults so that they would not accuse Big Bird of making the stories up. Many fans and critics believed that this was the moment that Sesame Street, "Jumped the Shark."

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article...

Kerrie - posted on 03/02/2010

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At the beginning of the series, I believe that all the other characters thought Big Bird was imagining Snuffleupagus, (not sure as I'm only 23) but then it somehow eventually evolved into the whole cast knowing that Snuffy was real. Anyone know how that came about? I'd be interested to know.

JL - posted on 02/22/2010

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Apparently there are a bunch of preschoolers on LSD or Acid.....otherwise how the heck would they correlate Big Bird seeing Snuffy as a drug hallucination. .

Charlene - posted on 02/21/2010

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Big Bird hallucinating Snuffleupagus is what really gets me here. How on earth is a kid going to know that Snuffy is a drug hallucination?!?! Any kid that I have known has had at least one imaginary friend, so my guess is that would be what they would think he is. That is, if they even come to the conclusion that he is not real. I never did, until I read this thread. Haha.

Sarah - posted on 02/21/2010

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OMG, seriously? An adults-only warning for Sesame street? rofl. That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Don't get me wrong, I don't think children should be encouraged to smoke, but really, how many families have a close family member or friend who smokes? It's our job as parents to teach our kids that smoking is not a good choice to make, and to give them the reasons why. (As a side note I think the new thing where they put an "R" rating on a movie that portrays someone as a smoker is ridiculous as well). And worrying that Big Bird was hallucinating Snuffalupagus? Can you say IMAGINATION?? Oscar was one of my favorite characters when I was growing up. Oh, maybe that's why I have an attitude! lol I firmly believe that legislators and overprotective parents would have our children grow up in a sterilized bubble with blinders on as well as earplugs in. If parents do their parenting then the kids will most likely turn out ok.... there are thousands of years of proof that this is the case. :)

[deleted account]

I found it...although this is a "remix." The first part is the actual commercial. I loved the old Sesame Street.

[deleted account]

Has anyone seen the commerical for the Elmo tickling hands? At the end the little kids cross their hands in front of them and Elmo says, "Yeah, boooyyyyyyyyy!" It's disturbing.

Krista - posted on 02/21/2010

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Sesame Street isn't anywhere close to what it was when I was a kid. It used to be really funky and cool, and they had great music and lots of diversity and fun. Now it just seems like it's been dumbed-down a lot, and I think the show has suffered as a result.

/end of bitter-old-woman rant. Get off my lawn!!!

Jocelyn - posted on 02/21/2010

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Lmao, ok well maybe that one section of the show isn't bad; but I saw one episode that involved "dancing the sillies out" and it was portrayed as worms coming out of the kid's bodies o_0. THAT disturbs me!
I miss the Power Rangers; was watching an old episode a few weeks ago and I only JUST realized that the yellow ranger was asian and the black ranger was black lmao. Kids just don't care about being PC :P

JL - posted on 02/21/2010

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OMG I LOOOVEE Yo Gabba Gabba. I love the idea that my kids are watching a show inspired by a band that I have seen in numeous concerts a band I still listen to. The Aquabats rock...they are a ska band that inspired the characters and the show. They dress up like super heros and have this whole fantasy about being from another land and fighting bad guys. It is like watching a bunch of guys who are totally obsessed with super hero comics live out their fantasy on stage while playing kick ass ska music. DJ Lance was and is a frequent character who comes on stage and most of the foes they fight on stage are what they characters on Yo Gabba Gabba are based on. Their music is fun and their shows whimsical. It is music a parent who likes Ska can listen to with their kids. They have songs called Super Rad, Pizza Day, Pool Party and so on. It's all fun, magical and about maintaining your imagination.



I think this over the top PC parental guidance ratings are stupid. How many shows anymore are actually PG hardly any. Almost everything is PG13 because gosh forbid our kids have to distinguish between reality and imperfect fantasy.I watched He-Man growing up and I have yet to pull out a sword and try to attack an evil overlord.



It' s music parents can skank with their kids to. It's SKASOME!

Jane - posted on 02/21/2010

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Well this explains why I'm so f-up! Should I bring a law suit against them? Sesame Street is pretty much all I watched when I was little.
The whole idea of all this just boggles my mind. No one is perfect including Sesame Street characters. If all the characters are perfect in our kids shows what does that teach them? It teaches them that they aren't good enough?

[deleted account]

I really want to get the pack of supposed "bad" shows and watch them to see if it is even an issue...I watched the shows in the early 90's but cant remember anything...

Johnny - posted on 02/20/2010

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Besides Hockey and ads, the only thing on television that has ever interested my daughter (18 mos.) is Sesame Street. She loves Elmo. We picked her up some of the vintage Sesame Street DVD's to watch when she is a bit older, and we laughed at the warning. I did not even take it the slightest bit seriously. Luckily for me, she has not gotten into Yo Gabba Gabba, In the Night Garden or Telebubbies. Those shows are so boring. Yesterday I popped on the tv for a few minutes and she did seem interested in this children's "news" program with ants as reporters catching up on what kids were doing around the neighbourhood. Seemed like a great show to me, has anyone heard of it because I didn't catch the name.

Charlene - posted on 02/20/2010

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My daughter is only 6 months, so she RARELY gets to watch TV, but I have to admit that she looooves Sesame Street and Elmo's World. She loves when Elmo talks to the baby!! :P

I grew up with Sesame Street and I turned out fine. I would much rather my daughter watch that as opposed to 'In the Night Garden'. That show gives me the creeps.

Lady - posted on 02/19/2010

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I have to say in thomas the tank engine the naughty charaters usually get their comeupance so I suppose they feel it's teaching children not to do the same if like you say it does wven register with them, and I agree with you about kids seeing differences in others.

Geralyn - posted on 02/19/2010

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My son loves Thomas the Train. They are always modeling bad behavior. Playing nasty tricks on each other. Not helping each other. Not speaking nicely to each other or about each other. Some of them are just down right grumpy and moody. I wonder how that registers with a little one, if it registers and when it does....

I loved the Sesame Street characters growing up. They were awesome. Adults only? Funny.... I actually think that its good for children to see different personality traits and flaws.... and how characters interrelate. They are not "unsuitable."

[deleted account]

We are so into Elmo right now. We watch his clips on sesamestreet.org all the time. (By we, I mean my daughter). In an interview with Jack Black, Jack said he liked bacon. Elmo said, "Well that's a sometimes food. I like brussel sprouts." I just had to laugh. Yes, I want my daughter to eat right, but Elmo is not the one who should be teaching her that.


We Love Elmo too... I should have bought stock in Elmo before my daughter was born haha!

Nicole - posted on 02/19/2010

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Oh don't me started on the Yo Gabba Gabba insanity of a show! I really like most of what the show is trying to teach our kids but does it have to be done in such a bizarre way???



I agree with you, too, Alison. I know this is not a kid show, but "The Drs" really irritate me a lot. I feel they are just as much in the pockets of the drug companies as most of the rest of the physicians out there. They just have a much more public forum to try to convince us that we are all going to die if we don't line the pockets of the drug companies by getting every new vaccine and medicine that comes off the assembly line!

[deleted account]

I agree to a certain extent. I would rather have my son watch these earlier shows with all the so-called character floors than some of the more modern episodes. Some of the recent shows tend to be used as vehicles for political correctness. My son has even been convinced that he needs a flu shot because Sid the Science Kid said so. Kids TV should be about fun, not about telling people what to do.

Carolee - posted on 02/19/2010

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Things are so PC nowadays! I can't believe it. This is why I worry about our future as a species... what are they going to ban or say is bad for you next?

Jocelyn - posted on 02/19/2010

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Omg, don't get me started on how f-ed up yo gabba gabba is... *shudders*
Anyways... I think it is totally ok for our kids to be exposed to characters with "personality flaws". Not everybody is the same/perfect so why should our tv characters be portrayed as any different? We (the sesame street generations) grew up just fine. We are not scarred for life, we have every ability to make our own decisions (both good and bad). Why would we think that our children are going to turn out any different if they watch the same shows we did? I would much rather let my son watch sesame street, the rescuers, dark wing duck (all those great older kids shows) than let him watch "in the night garden"!

[deleted account]

We are so into Elmo right now. We watch his clips on sesamestreet.org all the time. (By we, I mean my daughter). In an interview with Jack Black, Jack said he liked bacon. Elmo said, "Well that's a sometimes food. I like brussel sprouts." I just had to laugh. Yes, I want my daughter to eat right, but Elmo is not the one who should be teaching her that.

One of my favorite Gilmore Girls moments (yes, I watch GG) was when Mrs. Kim asked Lane when she started to rebel. She said, "When I was six. You told me that Cookie Monster portrayed one of the seven deadly sins." Mrs. Kim said, "Yes, glutony."

Erin - posted on 02/19/2010

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Yes it is Meghan. Yo gabba gabba is definately an acid trip........It's actually worse :o)

Jenny - posted on 02/19/2010

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Children do not need to live in a santised world, it is not doing them any favours. Pretty much the only thing I shield my child from is marketing. My 2 year old has starting saying "ba ba ba ba ba" everytime he sees a McDonald's sign, makes me cringe everytime.

[deleted account]

THAT'S my problem! My parents let me watch Sesame Street when I was little...... ;)



Yeah, um.... PC has gone insane!

Lady - posted on 02/19/2010

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OMG this is insane!! Have these people seen an episode of teletubbies now theres a trippy programme. Or a british programe called in the night garden, not to mention yo gaba gaba - if the people who created these programes weren't on some sort of acid trip then they have serious mental problems. Are we all deranged from watching sesame street - no! So why should our children be deprived of some of the most wonderful childhood veiwing I can remember?

[deleted account]

This is political correctness run amok. The characters they think are “unsuitable for today’s pre-schoolers” are the same beloved ones my generation grew up with. I used to see Cookie Monster cram tons of cookies in his mouth and I never once imitated. Big Bird was often accused of imagining Mr. Snuffleupagus, but I never thought Big Bird was tripping on acid. My interpretation: if your 3-year-old knows about tripping on acid, you’ve got much bigger problems than worrying about whether a fictional talking bird is an ideal role model.



PBS has been producing quality educational programming for decades. Sesame Street is responsible for teaching millions of children to count and read. Pokemon, Digimon, Dragon Ballz, Lucha Lucha and Power Rangers (and many others) glorify violence and have little or no educational value. To say that times change is an understatement, and of course there will be the necessity to update characters, but to denounce an American mainstay is just wrong.



There is a Dr. Phil character and a puppet that has HIV on the new Sesame Street. That is acceptable while the “flawed” characters are being written off. People are complicated and yes, flawed. There are many behaviors, temptations, and dangers that children will inevitably be introduced to, many of which can be found on daytime T.V., Prime time and our local news

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