Sesame Street Season 44 Reviews, Part 1

Shane Keating – Sesame Street’s groundbreaking 44th season is finally here it is! As one of the site’s resident Sesame experts and fanatics, here’s what I thought on the first week of shows.
The season premiere, “Telly Gets Jealous,” was absolutely lovely. Telly and Baby Bear do usually have the best storylines of the season and this did not disappoint. Telly’s freak-out at Baby Bear was a wonderful piece of Muppeteer acting. The story also featured one of the last pieces Jerry Nelson recorded before his passing. I think the “self-regulation” episodes will be better than the STEM ones, as these are based around the characters and their emotions; that’s where good plots come from.

“Don’t Get Pushy” wasn’t as good as the first episode, but entertaining nonetheless. We got a nice appearance by Gordon, and song neat songs by The Safety Chickens, including a “Safety Dance” spoof. Why wasn’t this mentioned in the spoof section of the press kit?

Next we have “The Flower Show.” We kinda saw another side to the character Stinky the Stinkweed, especially when he was clearly bothered by the neighboring, show-offy plant who could grow better than him. This episode also had some neat songs. I kind of wish the songs were more than a minute long, but I suppose they need to keep them short to allow for more story, and more songs if necessary. Oh, and Susan made her annual appearance in this episode, albeit mostly in the background.

“Latino Festival” introduced us to Mando and they did it rather matter of factly; there was no street tour or reintroduction to the characters, they just threw him as if he’s always been there. I liked the lesson of the episode too, trying to keep kids from stereotyping Latinos while celebrating what they have in common.

The last show of the week was “Simon Says,” featuring Peter Dinklage as Simon. I really liked Peter, as well as Joey Mazzarino as his brother who has been living in Simon’s shadow for all their lives. The song (“Whatever Simon Says”) was great too. There was also plenty of great Telly freak outs to boot.
So, the biggest new insert to talk about is “Cookie’s Crumby Pictures.” They’re almost like a re-imagining of Monsterpiece Theater, except more catered to Cookie’s character (having everything pertaining to snacks and food). The segments themselves are very funny, with great backgrounds and character designs, as well as the traditional Muppety puns (Ladyfinger from “The Spy Who Loved Cookies” kills me.). It’s a shame we’ll have to wait until late November before another new one is added to the rotation.
We got one new “Elmo the Musical,” one of five new episodes appearing this season. It used virtually the Workshop’s entire stock of bird puppets. It’s too bad that the mini-show segments only focus on one character; this would’ve been the perfect segment for a Big Bird appearance.
There were the usual new Celebrity Word of the Day segments, including the first appearance of Ryan Dillon’s Elmo on the show. He’s doing a fantastic job. Other celeb appearances include a great segment with Dave Matthews and Grover, “I Need a Word,” which was so poignant and well-done. There was also some new cartoons, films and a new Two-Headed Monster sketch; I don’t like Chris as the narrator that much (they don’t need one), but I can deal with it. There was also a great new sketch about the number 0 with Oscar and the Count, performed by Matt Vogel, who totally gets the character. We also got our first spoof segment, “Sons of Poetry,” which was quite entertaining even though I don’t watch “Sons of Anarchy.
“Murray Has a Little Lamb” came back surprisingly, re-envisioned through the tune-in segments. This wasn’t a bad idea actually and with Murray struggling with the task each school presents, it gives the segments a pseudo-story, which is a great step forward in making those scenes more than just introducing the next segment.
My favorite segment by far this week is “Rhymes for Mando.” Ismael’s singing voice is awesome and the song is insanely catchy. And it was composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who I really like, so that’s a plus.

So, that’s how the first week went for me. The schedule seems to be that there’s a new episode each Thursday, so rather than just write up something for each one, I’ll wait until the end of the month to cover them. So, see you in October with some more new Sesame episodes!

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier,

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