Have no idea what I'm talking about? I'm talking about a little 2-disc edition DVD that I purchased today:
That's right. The Sesame Street 40th anniversary DVD. The pinnacle of nineties ABC Kids, and it's in my possession. My moment has come. The day is mine, Trebek! To do this masterpiece of television engineering justice, I'm going to recap it for you in twenty-year intervals. Today, it's 1969-1989. Sit back, and enjoy.
Wow, old-school Gordon! I didn't realise that there were so many Gordons. I think I prefer to think of Gordon as Gordon number whatever-we're-at-now. He was my Gordon.
Hey, Oscar the Grouch was originally orange! He's still signing his 'I Love Trash' song, though. Old-School Gordon finds it extremely impressive, calling it a "sanitation serenade."
The next clip is Ernie's 'Rubber Duckie' song. I had no idea it was so old! I thought eighties, maybe seventies, but no. It's been around since the dawn of the Street. How informative.
Wait, hold on. Batman was on Sesame Street? I have no idea what is going on. He's trying to catch a robber with a bat-boomerang. Oh wait, here comes the education. A direct quote from Batman: "Understanding the meaning of 'up', through' and 'around' always leads us in the right direction, Robin." Robin's response: "Holy vocabulary, Batman!" PURE GOLD.
The Cookie Monster comes around to Ernie's place, demanding cookies. Ernie gets to sing a little ditty entitled 'If I Knew You Were Coming I'd Have Baked a Cake.' He bakes a cake anyway, and the Cookie Monster eats it while complaining that it's not cookies.
Now it's time for Kermit's 'It's Not Easy Being Green.' I always found it boring when I was younger, but I seem to have found an all-new appreciation for it. Plus, it makes me think of Monica from Friends and her creepy Kermit crush.
The next clip is, inexplicably, Ernie with a banana in his ear. Yeah. Bert comes in and actually says, "Ernie, you know that you have a banana in your ear?" and Ernie doesn't hear him, on account of the fact that he has a banana in his ear.
A bunch of hippie muppets perform a song about getting angry, like "when someone socks me in the eye and doesn't even tell me." Muppet-on-muppet violence being addressed on Sesame Street, really? Damn, the seventies were a wacky time.
"One of these things is not like the others" comes next, and we learn that the plate of three cookies isn't the same as the other three plates of two cookies. It's just basic maths, peeps.
Luis tries to teach us Spanish by singing a song with Bob. All I learn is, "Mi casa e su casa," but I think I might've known that one already. There appears to be a bit of a bromance going on with Bob and Luis. I would not be surprised if their encore is 'Guy Love.'
Some little kid and some blue monster (not of the Cookie or Grover variety) are practicing counting. The kid does very well until he forgets the number 16. I only mention this because I actually taught my little brother how to count, and he'd constantly forget the number 16. Is this a thing kids do? If you used to forget the number 16 when you were learning to count, I'd like to hear from you.
Hey, a Kermit the Frog News Flash! Wow, these went back a long time, too. This one's all about getting the exclusive on the Sleeping Beauty wake-up kiss. After all that, the prince kisses the princess, and falls asleep right next to her. Kermit's response is, "Stay tuned, and maybe in another couple hundred years, someone'll come and kiss 'em both." I love you, Kermit. In a skeevy, Monica Geller kind of way.
Ernie makes a sculpture of Bert and forgets the nose. He might actually be legally retarded. Also, Bert claims to have two eyebrows, so we know that he doesn't own a mirror anywhere in his house.
Bert's in the next clip as well. Did you know that his pigeon fetish dates all the way back to the seventies? Neither did I. Bert goes out and films pigeons with Ernie's camera. Then he sings a song about them. Then he does a dance inspired by them. Bert is a creepy monobrowed fucker.
Super Grover! It's Super Grover, you guys! I thought that was a new thing too, but apparently it's not. Today, Super Grover has to rescue a kid in a park. The first exchange is so fantastic, I need to quote it for you verbatim:
Narrator: "Little Freddie Smith has just discovered he is trapped."
Little Freddie Smith (deadpan): "I have just discovered I am trapped."
This kid totally rules. Then, when Super Grover comes to save him, Little Freddie Smith says, "Oh, it's only Super Grover" and continues looking for a way out of the park by himself. Seriously, how Little Freddie Smith never got his own show is beyond me, because this kid's snarktacularly awesome. Grover tries to bend the bars of the park gate, and when he fails: "Watch as I make a complete fool out of myself. My cute little arms are really in great pain." Little Freddie Smith gets out just as Super Grover bends the bars. Little Freddie Smith rocks the party.
Next, a shady muppet successfully sells Ernie an invisible ice-cream cone. Because Ernie is, as mentioned, legally retarded. Bonus fact: Ernie's favourite ice-cream flavour is banana royale tutsi fruitsi. Whatever the fuck that is.
A cartoon about pinball machine helps us count to twelve. I remember that from my Sesame Street watching days, so it must've been a popular one to have lasted at least ten years.
Hey, it's Deaf Linda! It's Deaf Linda, translating 'Who Are The People In Your Neighbourhood' into sign language while Bob sings it. She has a hard time translating "Oh, the elevator operator is a person in your neighbourhood" in a ten-syllable line. Poor Deaf Linda. Sometimes I think they did shit like that just to see how far they could push her.
Fonzie teaches us the difference between 'on' and 'off' using his jukebox technique. Eeey!
Snuffy is transported onto an island by helicopter for some inexplicable reason. Not sure why, considering he was a figment of Big Bird's imagination, and we haven't even met him yet. Seriously, though, this scene doesn't set up another. He's just...on an island.
The grown-up Sesame Street residents are at the beach. Mr. Hooper is swimming trunks. Shudder. Dude's hairier than Snuffy. He should've just done like Bob and worn a shirt. The fun comes when Mr. Hooper decides to go surfing, and we get this exchange:
Bob: "Hang ten, Mr. Hooper!"
Mr. Hooper: "Hang your own ten!"
Next, there's a short clip about how anvils are made, which is sure to come in handy whenever Wil E. Coyote drops by.
This season block starts with C3P0 and R2D2 teaching Big Bird about counting. What the shitting shit?! I daresay those two'd be happier meeting Bert and Ernie. You know 3P0, if Ernie knows you're coming, he'd bake you a cake. See, I'm learn-ding!
Another news flash -- Kermit visits Dr. Nobel Price, who has spent five long years inventing 'Foot Snuggies'. Who'd have known that thirty years later, someone would invent this in his honour?
Turns out that Foot Snuggies are actually common or garden variety socks. Kermit tells we the viewers to show Dr. Price our socks (and I totally do!), and Dr. Price is amazed at how they look just like his Foot Snuggies. Kermit says, "Just like your socks, dude. Those are socks." Passive aggression looks good on you, Kermie.
And now it's time for Monsterpiece Theatre, hosted by the Cookie Monster -- or should I say Alistair Cookie? This is probably one of my favourite segments of all time. Today's feature is Me Claudius, featuring a bunch of monsters claiming that they are, in fact, Claudius. Elmo features in the background, but he has a completely different, gruffer voice. Alistair Cookie ends the piece by saying, "Me still not know who Claudius."
There's yet another Cookie Monster clip, and this time he's singing "Me Lost Me Cookie at the Disco." That's what happens when you take your favourite cookie clubbing with you. Elmo's in the background again, even though he's only three and a half. He must have a fake ID.
Next is a short cartoon where a little boy goes to bed, and his dog pretends to be an alligator in the dark to scare him. What a cruel dog. Man's best friend my ass.
Some two-headed purple monster (with horns) work out what a telephone is. I actually remember this one. They yell gibberish at the lady on the other end of the phone, then hang up and walk off. So necessary.
Oh, Oscar the Grouch is green again. He tries to smuggle six people and a dog into a movie theatre by hiding them all in his trash can. Oscar is so awesome. The guy at the box office says, "My mommy warned me about working the night shift." Heh. Any other street in New York, and he'd have been shiv'd by a bunch of junkies by now...but not Sesame Street. On Sesame Street, a grouchy little green thing with a hand shoved up its ass is society's biggest problem.
Mr. Rogers psychoanalyses Big Bird. Seriously. That's all I can call it. He tries to teach him the difference between real and imaginary, which clearly works oh-so-well, considering Snuffy is still around. Fail, Mr. Rogers. Go back to your own neighbourhood.
There's a short film about how orange crayons are made that I recall from my kiddie days. It seems much more helpful than the anvil thing. I can't stop watching it; I keep having to rewind it. I remember it like it was yesterday. Holy shit, it was worth buying the entire DVD just to watch that frickin' crayon clip.
Big Bird is having an existential crisis, and Diana Ross helps him out. Yeah, that sentence happened. Diana Ross. They sing a song about believing in yourself, and Big Bird feels better about the fact that he hasn't really accomplished anything except willing a giant mammoth-type thing into existence.
Bert and Ernie have gone fishing. They're just getting more and more Brokeback, these two. Ernie catches fish by screaming, "Heeeeere FISHY FISHY FISHY!" Bert throws a shitfit because his legally retarded significant other does everything better than him. Kinda like this:
Leave the table, Bert!
Ernie leads the Honker Duckie Dinger Jamboree, where a bunch of nondescript monsters honk their horn noses and ding the bells they inexplicably have on their heads. Oh, and Rubber Ducky is leading the pack. Because he's that awesome.
A whole bunch of kids of different races and religions all sing about how they're really all the same, despite their physical differences. Trust Sesame Street to be the only 80s/90s kids show that actually gets multiculturalism right.
Whoah, it's Teeny Little Super Guy, the dude illustrated on a plastic cup who goes roaming around a house! Who didn't like Teeny Little Super Guy? Today he's in the bathroom, talking to a paper cup kid named Eugene. Eugene knows the capital of South Dakota, and Teeny Little Super Guy doesn't. Heh. Teeny Little Super Guy tells us about the importance of school, and Eugene's like, "Then how come you didn't know the capital of South Dakota?" Teeny Little Super Guy's getting pwn'd all over the place today. The point of the episode is, school is good. As Teeny Little Super Guy says, "I learned a lot, too...except the capital of South Dakota."
Okay, brace yourself. It's the moment you've been dreading. Get the tissues ready. The grown-ups are talking about politics, when Big Bird comes over and shows everyone the pictures he's drawn of them. He's especially proud of the Mr. Hooper drawing, and the adults all go quiet when Big Bird tells them he can't wait to see him. Maria reminds Big Bird that Mr. Hooper died. I am actually crying. I can't watch this. Bob says to Big Bird, "It won't be the same without him," and he gets all choked up and his voice catches. They talk about how they'll always have their memories of Mr. Hooper, but Big Bird can't understand why he's gone, and it makes him sad. Maria's crying too, now. They all hug Big Bird, but no one hugs me, so I'm still sitting here, crying. Damn you and your heartstring-tugging, Sesame Street! It's not normal for a 28-year-old Sesame Street clip to make a grown woman cry.
This segment begins with the awesome peanut butter song, which is not only catchy but also informative. It takes a lot of little nuts to make a jar of peanut butter, don't you know? It's making me feel better after all the Mr. Hooper death anguish.
Lionel Richie serenades the letter U by singing "U Really Got A Hold On Me." There's a giant letter U with a girl's face that literally has a hold on him. As in, she's practically raping him. It's fucking eepy-cray.
It's Elmo! He's annoying Luis while he's trying to fix a radio. Elmo goes on a make-believe trip to his grandmother's house, and packs a make-believe suitcase. Then he leaves, and comes back because he forgot his make-believe toothbrush.
And now it's time for the Count. He was awesome. I used to do a good impression of him when I was younger. The Cookie Monster as well. (In high school, we actually had an assignment that involved reading out a children's story to the class, and the ability to do the Cookie Monster voice served me well in my rendition of Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree. Easiest A-plus I ever got.)
All the humans in town finally see Snuffleupagus for the first time. Turns out he's not actually make-believe. Who knew? Bob even says, "Big Bird, from now on, I'll believe everything you tell us." Big Bird, you take that promise and you run with it. You fucking run with it.
Ernie wants to learn how to play the saxophone, but doesn't understand why there's a squeaking noise whenever he tries to play it. Of course, it becomes painfully clear that he's trying to play the sax with Rubber Duckie in his hand. Hey Ernie, your legal retardation is showing. John Candy even sings for Ernie to put down the duckie. John frickin' Candy. The New York Mets tell him to put down the duckie. Pee Wee Herman tells him to put down the duckie. Ladysmith Black Mumbazo tells him to put down the duckie! Paul Simon! Jeremy Irons! Peter Seeger! Danny DeVito! Rhea Perlman! The New York Giants! (Those guys are rather aggressive about it, too.) This is by far my favourite song EVER.
Ohh, flashbacks. The memories. Luis and Maria have just walked into an art gallery dressed to the nines, and already I remember this one. The other neighbourhood folk are hidden in the paintings (eg. Gordon and Susan have their heads sticking out of the Egyptian painting, and Telly Monster's head is replacing the Mona Lisa's.) They sing the Sesame Street version of 'Let's Call The Whole Thing Off'. Holy cow, I am in a nostalgia ocean right now. You know how you completely forget about something to the point where, even if someone had explained it to you, you wouldn't have remembered? Then all of a sudden you get a glimpse of it, and the whole thing comes flooding back? That is where I am emotionally right now.
Pee Wee Herman has his own alphabet segment. I don't want to spend too much time on it, because he totally gives me the willies. How the execs didn't realise how creepy he was right from the start is beyond me.
Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, It's Luis and Maria's wedding! Seriously awesome. Bob is even translating the minister's sermon to Deaf Linda. Suddenly, everyone breaks out into song...in their head. (Because otherwise that would be inappropriate?) Maria is having cold feet about getting married. Elmo's line is, "Don't drop the rings, please, Elmo, don't drop the rings!" David seems to be expressing some remorse at not tapping that fine Latino ass when he had the chance. Luis is getting cold feet now. Luis's dad is feeling old. Bob is crushing on Deaf Linda. Deaf Linda is crushing on Bob, but because she's deaf, she has to imagine herself singing the song in sign language in her own head. This is like a fricking soap opera. Elmo gets another don't drop-the-rings-verse. Oscar thinks about the shitty orca music that was playing at the start of the ceremony. Gordon and Susan think about their kid, which is nice and all, but this is Maria and Luis's motherfucking wedding, okay? Let's focus on them now. Of course, they get married, Elmo doesn't drop the rings, and all is well on the Street once more.
Kermit the Frog is directing a version of Oklahoma! I'm back in the nostalgia ocean. This clip right here is the reason I even knew about Oklahoma! The joke is that the star actor, Forgetful Bill, keeps singing the wrong thing. For those of you wondering, it's not pronounced Ay-klahoma. Or Eeeh-klahoma. And you'd better believe it's not Aii-klahoma. Kermit is absolutely shitting a mini green froggy brick.
Maria and Luis have a baby girl! Wow, that was fast! The whole neighbourhood comes to the hospital to see them. Maria looks super hot for a woman who just shot a human out of her parts. She and Luis keep calling each other 'honey' to a nauseating extent. Then Big Bird looks under Maria's blanket, and we get this:
Big Bird: I'm looking for the baby. You said she came out of you.
Maria: Believe me, Big Bird, she did.
Luis: I saw it!
Um, ew, Luis. The state of your wife's lady bits is not something I wanted to hear. Anyway, the nurse brings the baby in, and she's just the most adorable thing you've ever seen. They name her Gabriella. Naww, this is a much better ending to a season block that last time. Nobody died, Big Bird wasn't sad, and Lorelai's eyes remained tear-free.
Next time on ABC Not-Just-For-Kids: Seasons 20 through 40. I promise no more deaths or creepy little quips about Maria's vagina. (I hope.)