This week marks the last week of the year–and the decade. In accordance, The Muppet Mindset is dedicating the rest of the week to celebrating the greatest Muppet and Sesame Street moments of the year and of the decade.
Today, our good friend Michael Wermuth, Jr. brings us his thoughts on The Best Sesame Street of the Decade.
Sesame Street: The Best of the Last Decade
Michael Wermuth, Jr. – This past decade has brought us many changes to Sesame Street, some good, some bad. The 2000s brought us a reformatted show using a structured block format. It was the decade where the number of episodes per season was reduced significantly to 26 per season. It was the decade that Sesame Workshop purchased the rights to the Sesame Street Muppet characters. The decade has had it’s ups and downs. We have been introduced to great new characters (Abby Cadabby, Murray Monster) and great daily segments (The Letter, Number, and Spanish Word of the Day, Trash Gordon). The street stories have changed from being split into multiple scenes with insert interruptions to being single-stories in the middle of the show, to being single-stories at the beginning of the show, to just being at the beginning of the episodes. But it’s still a good show and there have been a lot of great moments. I’ll present the best moments from the past decade, in no particular order.
Super K Cereal:
One of the funniest segments from the recent season was this parody of Special K commercials, with Anything Muppet kids (performed by Leslie Cararra and Joey Mazzarino) looking through their “ordinary Alphabet Cereal” for the letter K. The announcer tells them that they’d need to eat from many bowls to make words like Kangaroo, Kitten, and King (man, all of those only use one K… Could Lefty the Salesman have a job for the company that makes this cereal?). In my opinion, I feel like Leslie Cararra steals the show as the fat blue daughter, who suggests giving the cereal a kiss. If there’s a new Sesame Street alphabet-related DVD in the next few years then I sure hope that this one makes the cut.
: Another highlight of the recent 40th season, and it includes Frank Oz’s first original character in who-knows-how-long. This parody of the TV show of the same title invovles two ad executives showing pitches to their boss for a “Happy Honey” advertisement, with the pictures making them feel mad, sad, and happy (all treated equeally, despite the title). Though the boss seems to get emotional easily… I wouldn’t get mad just because a picture of a bears honey getting stolen. But it is one of the season’s best sketches. Seriously, Sesame Workshop needs to release a DVD about television production, as an excuse to have a DVD collection of it’s best television parodies (and Sesame Street News… and Guy Smiley’s non-parody game shows).
A Cookie is a Sometimes Food:
Sure, news of this song helped cause rumors that Cookie Monster would give up cookies and become “Veggie Monster”, but it’s still one of season 36’s best. The song is real catchy, and it’s one of Hoots’ best songs (I prefer this to Put Down the Duckie).
Outrageous Makeover: Home Addition:
When the format changed in 2002, Mr. Johnson was seen less frequently. Then in season 36 he started making at least one new appearance a year (plus his older segment appearances were shown again). His best appearance since then was in this parody of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, in which Grover comes to Johnson’s apartment to add doors. Outrageous, indeed!
Oscar sings Bein’ Green
: While not as good as Kermit’s performances, Oscar’s version with alternate lyrics is hysterical. It’s pretty much got the same message as the original song but Oscar’s reasons for it not being easy being green are different from Kermit’s (and the various non-green people who have sung the song since).
I feel like this was the highlight of the 39th season, and I already liked the song (and music video) of the original from Feist before it was spoofed by her on the show.
: Ernie watches Bert sleep, leading to the two singing a song about sleep… And eventually leading to Ernie sleeping while Bert stays awake. In my eye it’s the duo’s best from this decade.
Six Feet Under:
Perhaps the standout “Number of the Day” sketch, The Count watches his favorite show, a parody of the HBO series of the same name, featuring the feet of three of the Monster Clubhouse monsters (in their only decent appearance).
Everybody Be Yo’Self:
Keb Mo sings a song about being yourself with several Sesame Street characters, including Elmo, Grover, Frazzle, a Honker, and Kermit the Frog, who appears in one of his last original appearances on Sesame Street, and also introduces Keb Mo like he would introduce acts on The Muppet Show (one of the few times he actually introduced an act on Sesame Street).
A Song About Elmo
: Adam Sandler’s appearance this year has also been a highlight, but maybe I’m biased because I’m a fan of the comedian. He sings a song about Elmo (duh!), making up many interestign rhymes, and beign joined by a variety of Muppet animals (including a dragon who resembles the one seen in the Imagine That! song).
Don’t Know Y
: Okay, I also like Nora Jones, but her parody of her own song, “Don’t Know Why”, was THE highlight of the 35th season, and it’s been repeated in just about every episode since then that was sponsored by the letter Y.
Because We’re Friends
: Abby Cadayy, Rosita, and Zoe sing a song about being friends, after talking about the time they met Abby. Honestly, I feel like this is Abby Cadabby’s best insert from the show.
And I suppose I should take the time to talk about some of the best street stories this decade had to offer. I should probably mention the two most important stories of the decade, the five-part hurricane episodes from season 32, and Elmo’s trip to the fire department in season 33.
Season 34 brought us the very funny episode in which Cookie Monster and the cast meet Cookie Hood, who is basically a Cookie Monster version of Robin Hood, and that season also brought us the great karaoke night episode.
Season 35 brought us an epsiode where Miles and Elmo learn that Gordon was once in a band with Luis and Bob (which included a very funny flashback), who then subsequently learn that Gordon’s father was once a professional singer, and the season gave us a great episode with Seth Green, who delivers the “letter of the month” to Telly (the letter of EVERY month in one day!).
Season 36 gave us the episode where Big Bird and Alan prepare birdseed cookies for Granny Bird, and it was either season 36 or 37 that gave us “Cookie’s World”, in which Cookie Monster hosts his own version of Elmo’s World. I can’t think of any particularly great street stories from season 38, but season 39 gave us the episode where Neil Patrick Harris played the role of the Fairy Shoeperson.
All these moments are great, proving that the show still has a lot of great material, long after the early years have ended. Though the early years are the best (and it helps that the early years had more episodes and therefore more inserts).
Are there any moments you felt like should have been included on this list? Let us know and we would love to feature them!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier