Ryan Dosier – It’s another month, and that means another exciting DVD release from Lionsgate that spans the history of The Jim Henson Company. We’ve had The Song of the Cloud Forest, The Animal Show, and Dog City: The Movie. This month, we get Sesame Street: 20 Years…and Still Counting, the fantastic 1989 TV special hosted by Bill Cosby that showcases everything that had made Sesame Street fantastic for the 20 years leading up to this special.
I’ll come right out and say that this is my favorite Sesame Street anniversary special ever (followed closely behind by Elmopalooza!), so my review will probably reflect that. Everything about this special works brilliantly. From Bill Cosby asking Big Bird why he’s still six after 20 years on TV, to Placido Flamingo meeting and singing with his namesake, Placido Domingo, this special is awesome at every turn.
My favorite part of the special is when Bob, Susan, and Gordon sit around a counter and talk, as Bob McGrath, Loretta Long, and Roscoe Orman, about the show. This is where we get Susan saying, “Well, I’m up for 20 more years, how about you guys?” which is eerie since they all stuck it out for 20 more years.
I’m thrilled to note that the special is entirely uncut. Kermit the Frog remains to ask folks the Question of the Day (“Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?”), The Count continues counting the commercial breaks, even though there aren’t any on the DVD, and, probably most exciting of all, the original introduction by Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog remains entirely intact and is just as awesome as you’d expect.
In the way of bonus features, there are virtually none. There aren’t even trailers for Lionsgate’s other DVD releases, which is also odd. There is a fully-functional DVD menu that features rotating clips from the show, a chapter selection menu, and a set-up menu. Beyond that, this is a strictly bare-bones release, which is the only thing holding it back from a 5-Fozzie rating. I’m wondering if maybe there were legality issues between Lionsgate, Sesame Workshop, and The Muppets Studio that prevented any further bonus features from being added.
Even though there’s nothing to the DVD beyond the special, it’s still a DVD that all Muppet fans must own. This is the best Sesame Street special that has been produced and it contains countless priceless moments. Elmo and Bill Cosby discuss the show’s curriculum (“What curriculum mean?”), Jim Henson and Joan Ganz Cooney discuss the show’s success, and the whole cast sings the best version of “Sing” you’ll ever find.
This is an amazing instance of all three of the big Muppet-divisions; The Muppets Studio, Sesame Workshop, and The Jim Henson Company; working together and putting aside legality issues to release a fantastic DVD. Here’s hoping this could mean big things (*cough* Muppet Family Christmas *cough*) in the near future!
This DVD is not supposed to be released until next Tuesday, July 13th, but I was lucky enough to find it released early at my Wal-Mart store, so it might be worth checking it out now to see if your Wal-Mart made the same mistake. The DVD was only $10.00 at Wal-Mart, making this an even more fantastic deal.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier