13. Sesame Street
Sesame Street is a widely recognized and perpetually daring experiment in educational children's programming. This show has taken popular-culture and turned it upside-down. The fast-paced advertisements that had parents of the new era worrying for their children were the basis for the original format of this show. The show has often satirized pop culture, and made itself easier for parents to watch along too.
And thus, the positive impact this show has had on modern society is beyond another. No show is more recognized the world over by as many generations and walks of life. Shown in its original format or with changes to reflect a regional education focus, Sesame Street is now seen in over 140 countries. The show that Entertainment Weekly named the "20th Best Ever Show" has changed the education scene to focus on "entertainment." This has turned out to be a valuable theory that not only helps the medicinal learning go down easier, but it also increases the effectiveness of the information being taught.
In an almost backwards sense, the show stays fresh by recycling programming ideas every three years, by which time a new group of kids is watching. Unlike most PBS Kids shows, which have an original run, then go into continuous repeats until getting dropped by PBS or sold to another network, Sesame Street has created many new episodes every season since its debut Nov. 10, 1969. American teachers now expect children to arrive on the first day of school knowing the basics about letters, numbers, and language. "Kindergarten now does what first grade used to do," creator Joan Ganz Cooney has said, "and I think that's directly due to Sesame Street." International versions have changed Sesame Street to be more relevant to their culture and environments. They adjust the unique American inner city, with a cast made up mainly of Muppets, African-Americans, Spaniards and Chinese to reflect their own lifestyles. For example, Canada's Sesame Park features a small suburban town inhabited by folks like an otter and a bear, a bush pilot, a disabled child in a wheel-chair and her cat and Russia's Ulitsa Sesame set in a Russian dvor (courtyard) has a 9-foot tall tree spirit who has his joyous and problem-solving Muppet friends. No show can help in tumultuous or troubled times like Sesame Street. For example:
• The Israelis and the Palestinians have now merged their independent spin-offs, to help teach the fighting cultures to accept each other for who they are, not what they have done in the past.
• The original American Sesame Street helped children deal with the incidents of 9-11 • On the week of October 4-8, 2004, Sesame Workshop actually dug up reruns of Sesame Street episodes from its 32nd season, in which a hurricane plundered the neighborhood. This move was to come to grips with those disabused by the four hurricanes that struck Florida in a six-week span the previous August and September. It also sent a message about the news' propensity for covering violent acts.
• The current South African government has not taken much action on the matters of HIV and AIDS, so in 2003, the South African version of Sesame Street added in a 5-year-old girl monster who manages to go about daily life with ease, even though she intercepted HIV through a blood transfusion shortly after birth. This led to an American backlash, even though her exposure in the States has always been restricted to sesameworkshop.org. Undoubtedly, she is the hardest-edged Muppet since Jim Henson's ill-fated "Creatures from the Planet Gorch" on Saturday Night Live's first season.
• No other puppet than a Muppet, namely Elmo, could be taken seriously when asking America's congressional Education Appropriations Subcommittee for more funding to school music programs, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play." (Unfortunately, Newt Gingrich's Congress chose instead to divert to Sesame Street production funds from other PBS series. Among the casualties was one of Sesame Street's godchildren, Ghostwriter.)
•In the mid-70s, they introduced Linda Bove, a deaf actress playing a deaf librarian that lives a life equal to all the rest of the area's inhabitants. Please note that Sesame Street's air time varies between various PBS stations in America. In recent years, a few PBS stations have dropped the show (including WNYE in New York, whose last airing was in June 2003). sesame street even had a touring show, SESAME STREET LIVE,which has just recently celebrated 25 years of performing.
Cookie Monster Cookie Monster has always had a passion for cookies, gobbling them up whenever he can. However, in order to promote healthy eating habits, Cookie Monster recently learned that cookies are a "sometime" food. So now, Cookie Monster also eats fruits and vegetables in addition to his trademark snack.
Elmo is a cute little red monster, who wants to know more about the world he is growing up in.
Oscar the Grouch
Oscar lives in a dustbin, sure its not the most hygienic of places, but Oscar isn't the most hygienic of creatures. He likes to cause mischief but also enjoys learning.
Ernie and Bert
Best friends and room-mates, both showing us how people get along with each other and how sometimes you may even fall-out with your best friend.
The Count, would teaches us to count, whether it be really difficult numbers or easy numbers, the Counts thing is maths and counting, and he sure is good at it.
A huge yellow bird, who's everyone's friend. No matter what species, color or race you are.