The Muppet Mindset welcomes fellow Muppet blogger D.W. McKim with his report on Sesame Street’s appearances at the 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards this past Sunday night where they were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their landmark 40th Season (debuting this November). Big Bird, Elmo, Bob, Gordon, and the gang put on a medley of classic Sesame Street songs and caused other mayhem throughout the night.
By D.W. McKim – I love the Daytime Emmys! Since I’ve never been into sports, I always joke that the Daytime Emmys are my personal version of the Super Bowl – the time of year that I anticipate months beforehand, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors, keeping up with critics’ picks and then parking myself in front of the television set during the broadcast with my freshly ordered pizza and cheering on my favorite “teams”, screaming at the screen all the while!
The reason I get so into them is because the event combines two of my biggest areas of fandom – Muppets and One Life to Live–as they’re both (hopefully!) honored for their recent achievements. While most Muppet fans tune in to see Sesame Street represented, my excitement is doubled as I’m also cheering on my fictional friends from Llanview.
Before the awards themselves, the traditional Pre-Awards Show aired where red-carpet interviews were conducted amidst the typical media spectacle of the arriving nominees and presenters’ fashion parade. This was largely done on a split-screen format with interviews occurring on the right-hand side and shots of arriving celebrities viewed on the left. After about 15 minutes, the Muppet performers were shown walking down the red carpet in their evening finery with their Muppet characters on their hands waving and shaking hands with the crowd. Shortly after, Big Bird and Elmo were interviewed together (Big Bird was wearing a “Joan Ganz Cooney” while Elmo was sporting a “Barney – not the dinosaur”).
The award show itself began with a comedy bit involving Oscar the Grouch checking tickets and keeping Gordon and Elmo from entering, a positive sign that no matter what else might follow during the next two hours, the evening would be very Muppety! This was followed by an opening number with host Vanessa Williams intercut with video footage of her superimposed Forrest Gump-style interacting with various daytime show personalities including appearing in Big Bird’s nest. Between the comedic open and the musical number, the show was off to a strong start and seemed as if it was determined to show that much like its primetime counterpart, this would be an entertaining program with something for everyone.
Thankfully the Sesame Street content wasn’t too affected. Besides the Oscar/Gordon/Elmo running gag, the next appearance was the handing out of the Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series award with FOUR of the five nominations coming from Sesame Street (Leslie Carrera-Rudolph as Abby Cadabby, Chris Knowings as Chris Robinson, Martin P. Robinson as Telly Monster and winner Kevin Clash as Elmo). Unlike the drama awards, this category’s nominees were granted the courtesy of having clips showing the work they were nominated for shown. Even though it may not have been equally spread among the genres and shows, at least Sesame Street was given much respect throughout the evening.
Once Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente came up on stage to give the acceptance speech, the Muppeteers came out of “hiding” holding up their characters allowing human cast members, Muppets, and the performers who bring them to life to bask in the glory of their honor. Of course, in typical Muppet fashion, Cookie Monster ate the award before everyone left the stage (“This taste even better than Latin Grammy!”) Besides being a hilarious final touch, it was also a very brave performance by David Rudman (who looked incredibly dashing) allowing himself to be fully seen performing Cookie when most people out there think Frank Oz still does the character. Rudman’s performance was spot-on perfect though so now half of America probably thinks Frank had an incredible Hollywood makeover!
The tribute was not at all affected by the show’s time problems which may have left some viewers who didn’t understand or appreciate the importance of the Lifetime Achievement Award going to a groundbreaking children’s show that has lasted for four decades and won hundreds of Emmys thinking they were given too much time. But anyone who truly felt this way has an open invite to Oscar’s Grouch Celebration After-Party.
Since the Creative Arts Awards were glossed over due to the time problems, here’s the final rundown on how well Sesame Street did this year:
– Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition
– Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction/Electronic Camera/Video
In addition to the aforementioned Lifetime Achievement Award and Kevin Clash’s Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series win (along with Carrera-Rudolph’s, Knowings’, and Robinson’s nominations), Sesame Street also won awards for:
– Outstanding Direction in a Children’s Series
– Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling
– New Approaches – Daytime Children’s Entertainment
Truly a great appearance and an amazing honor for Sesame Street. The Lifetime Achievement Emmy is one of the most coveted awards in the television industry, and only a select group of people (Caroll Spinney included) have one to their name. Sesame Street truly recieved the honor and recognition it deserves after 40 years of entertaining, teaching, and caring for the world that has allowed it to flourish.
View more pictures from the night on The Muppet Newsflash’s TwitPic page!