Will the Sesame Street Movie Appeal to or Annoy the Crap Out of Adults?
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Will the Sesame Street Movie Appeal to or Annoy the Crap Out of Adults?

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 20, 2012 | Comments ()


If you haven't watched "Sesame Street" since you were a kid, you'd probably be disappointed by the (de)evolution of the show. The biggest change over the years is that, with the exception of some fairly great celebrity cameos (Paul Rudd and John Legend have been my favorites) and a stellar "Mad Men" parody, "Sesame Street" doesn't hold a secret allure for adults like it once did.

The humor and pop-culture riffs are not as sophisticated, and that's not because "Sesame Street" has dumbed down over the years; it's because it's geared its content toward younger children. It used to be a show targeted at kindergarteners and early grade-schoolers, but what they found was that parents were plunking their kids down in front of "Sesame Street" at an earlier and earlier age. So, now "Sesame Street" blends in considerably more cartoon animation, spends less time with Henson's muppet creations and more time with their computer-animated counterparts, and -- of course -- Elmo has become a dominant fixture on the show. Originally introduced to appeal to two and three years old, "Elmo's World" now fills the last 15-20 minutes of each episode with the grating, high-pitched squeals.

That sucks for parents stuck in the same room with their kids, but on the other hand, it's better to have your three-year-old watching "Elmo's World" than having his brain scrambled by "Spongebob Squarepants" (no offense to "Spongebob," who can be funny, but that type of non-sequitur humor Swiss-cheeses the brain of a toddler trying to make logical connections in the world). The question is, now that 20th Century Fox has picked up the film rights to "Sesame Street," will the eventual movie appeal to adults -- like Jason Segel's Muppet Movie -- or will it continue "Sesame Street's" trend toward appealing to younger and younger kids? The fact that Shawn Levy -- the director behind the Night at the Museum movies -- is set to produce probably means low-brow comedy, but lots of adult celebrities.

But then, if they can reprise Ricky Gervais' cameo and song, all will be forgiven.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • stardust

    I'll admit to loving Sesame Street. My daughter is 1 1/2 and she looks forward to her nightly routine of an episode of Sesame Street before bed. That said, fuck the idea of a movie. What is it with Hollywood that they want to expand on something that is great in small doses to water in down over 90 minutes? I have no faith that a Sesame Street movie will be good at all. AND, since my kid isn't even two yet, she'll have no idea when it even comes out because we won't tell her, and we don't watch commercials. So, problem solved at least for my immediate household, though my general exasperation at Hollywood is still there.

    On another note, as much as I still like Sesame Street now, it is definitely not the same show as when I was a kid. It's a shame, really. The characters are all so great. It's supremely stupid to have a regular segment with Abby Cadabby that is computer animated. They have the fucking Muppet right there! Use it!! And The Count is barely on anymore. I guess an essentially de-fanged vampire was deemed too scary for kids. Bah.

    Oh, and in response to Shakedown Ratio, my husband and I think Mr. Noodle (original flavor) is brilliant. It takes a lot of talent and training to be able to clown like that. He's one of the best clowns I've seen (the lack of freaky-ass clown makeup helps).

  • ,

    Inversely proportional, done visually:

    >Elmo, <appeal. <elmo,="">appeal.

  • ,

    Well, the letter for today is "F."

    "F." Fucked up.

  • Lauri

    Elmo is toddler crack. My son is now turning 4 and not really interested in it so much (like they said, the show got "younger"). But at 2...obsessed! I did get some of the older stuff on DVD and we watched a lot of old school SS YouTube videos, at least.

  • Pete

    You guys are expending an awful lot of vitriol over a children's show. Toddlers love Elmo, but if you're that afraid of the "hyperactive hemmorhoid's" influence on your precious rugrat, there are literally hundreds of other options.

    Sorry to interrupt. Hey, you know who else sucks? That fucking purple genital wart Barney.

  • Shakedown Ratio

    I have a 1 1/2 year old and Elmo has recently become a big part of my life. Don't ask me how...Elmo is in the goddamn toddler ether or something.

    And I can't even act like I am the kind of parent who doesn't sometimes just give in and let her watch Elmo youtube videos on my phone...because that shit happens and I feel sort of bad about it but...fuck it. It's like negotiating with a terrorist and that sort of high level deal-making is not something that I am particularly good at.

    But there is something worse than Elmo - Mr. Noodle. MR. GODDAMN NOODLE. Who is he? Oh, just the friendly, mustachioed pedophile who lives behind the window shade in Elmo's apartment. NO BIG DEAL.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Call me crazy, but I don't think Sesame Street ever offered much to adults. I remember much of it fondly AS an adult, but I don't think it was ever entertaining to my parents and older siblings the way The Muppet Show was/is. Follow that Bird was a pretty decent movie. Not terrible for adults, but not much there for them, either.

  • hapl0

    You don't want to pick a fight with Elmo.


  • POINGjam

    I much prefer the interview where Elmo talks down to Ricky Gervais. "It's called acting, Mr. Gervais."

  • Guest

    Sesame Street was partly ravaged by 1990s helicopter parents who thought the great vintage stuff was too weird or "scary" even for 6-year-olds. Tragic. Some of this stuff was so beautiful and affective (yes, with an A in this case).

    "Behind your face
    There is a place
    That's called your brain and your mind."


  • Guest
  • Green Lantern

    You go, RanyIt. That speaks my language.

    (though I admit a preference for The Electric Company, but this is not the place for that discussion)

  • bleujayone

    FUCKING ELMO! That's been the biggest problem. Forget that he is THE most annoying Muppet ever. The problem has become that Sesame Street has become lazy and resorted to making it virtually all about the squeely scarlet herpe. All the Muppet productions were about the integration of all sorts of felt-based creatures. If one didn't care for a particular character, have no fear, in a few minutes a new sketch would come by cast with different ones. I think that was always part of the point Jim Henson had in mind with the Muppets; that no one character was more important than another and that they learned to get along with their diversity. Sure some were more popular than others, but everyone was still important to the whole.

    And then Kevin Clash got his goddamn Goriddles all over this one fuzzy shingle with that voice.

    I HATE Elmo. I really hate him. Before, he just annoyed me. But then the little fucker wouldn't go away. And what was worse, other characters suffered for it. Either he stomped all over them on screen, making it still all about him, or worse yet they were omitted altogether to give the hyperactive hemorrhoid MORE screentime! If Henson were alive today, I have no doubt he'd give the red menace a sabbatical and tell Clash to go strap on a different puppet. But Henson is gone and Clash is now the show's co-executive producer, so if he wants he probably could do a segment on Elmo crapping Skittles while screaming in third person.

    You want a feature about Sesame Street, guess what? It's gonna star Elmo and everyone else will be lucky if they get a group chorus five second cameo. About the only way I could tolerate watching Elmo for 90 minutes is if it were nothing but various ways of destroying him a la the Mr. Bill sketches meets Looney Tunes on acid. Set him ablaze, shoot him out of a cannon, run him through a wood chipper, pack him full of meat and toss him into a lion exhibit at the zoo...all perferably with Clash's hand still up his ass. Just get him the fuck off Sesame Street so that I can enjoy all the characters I grew up loving and hope to enjoy with my offspring.

  • Green Lantern

    Here here, Jay! I'm with you...Elmo began the dumbing down of Sesame Street, and we're never going back.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    I don't have quite the overriding hatred for Elmo that you seem to have, but I agree he is annoying and way overexposed. My question is, what happened to Big Bird? It used to be, if you thought about Sesame Street, you thought about the Undisputed King of the Street, the Big Bird. Now it seems he plays second fiddle to a squeaky voiced sock puppet with ADD. And that is just wrong. The only good that could come from a Sesame Street feature would be the Return of Big Bird to his rightful place on the Street.

  • PaddyDog

    Brava BJ, Brava! Just don't get me started on whole marginalization of Bert. It hurts too much.

  • Guest

    An epic rant about Elmo. This is why I love the internet.

  • Make the Sesame Street movie for kids, then make a big budget Jim Henson biopic for adults.

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