Sesame Street: A revolutionary fifty years strong
The iconic children’s show, Sesame Street is celebrating 50 years as ABC shared a one hour special on Monday, April 26, 2021, as it highlighted the achievements and accomplishments that the show has given to millions of children over decades of TV Programming. The special is currently streaming with an active Hulu account.
The show, created by Jim Henson, centered around Muppets interacting with people of all ages and race and helped children to understand what was going in the world then and now. The show introduced children to tough topics including death, as one of the iconic characters, Mr. Hooper passed away. Shot only once, the show walked people through how to talk to kids about being sympathetic and letting kids know sometimes it’s okay to be sad.
The show also stays up to date on what is going on in the world and uses the Muppets to explain things including racial injustice as well as the pandemic. Through the years new Muppets have been added to help with this. Muppets like the Walker family, help explain race in children’s terms.
Sesame Street was revolutionary for bringing Maria as one of the first Hispanic woman to television. The producers wanted to let kids see people that look and sound like themselves and Maria did this. Through the introduction of Rosita, the idea of not being afraid to speak two languages helped show children that they should not be afraid to speak both languages.
Sesame Street broke boundaries by talking about Aids as the newest Muppet, Cami was created to help kids, specifically in Africa, know that it’s okay if you were born with it. This was welcomed in South Africa, however the United States pushed back against this Muppet.
Controversy also rose with the illusion of Burt and Ernie being gay, which Sesame Street was forced to come out with a statement that Puppets have no sexual orientation.
The short-lived Roosevelt Franklin Muppet was one of the first representations of an African American male as many people could relate to the culture that he brought. Unfortunately, the lack of representation in mainstream media, led to the producers to cut the character after a short run on-screen.
Music plays a vital role in the education that Sesame Street conveyed to the young audience. It made it fun and entertaining for them.
Still other Muppets including Julia are added to introduce and help kids identify with someone like them as Julia is the first Muppet with autism.
And after 50 years, New York City finally named 63rd and Broadway, Sesame Street. After 50 years, it’ll be interesting to see what Sesame Street will do next, but one can definitely say, it’s not going away anytime soon. Sesame Street reaches so many generations and it’s clear that it will continue through the producer’s vision.