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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sunny Days

Before I begin this entry in earnest, it would really help if you watched part or all of the following video of Stevie Wonder and his band absolutely demolishing 'Superstition' circa '76.



Now that you've done that, I can tell you that the performance was filmed for an episode of frigging Sesame Street. Hells yeah.

A few years ago I wrote an entry for another blog I had about staying up way too late watching American satellite and stumbling across a show called 'Bug Juice' [think 'The Real World' at summer camp] which was followed by something called 'Sesame Street Unpaved'. 'Unpaved' was nothing more than old reruns of Sesame Street from the late seventies. And they were awesome, because what most people forget is that in its early days, Sesame Street was rough! Like, concrete jungle kids playing on empty oil drums tough. Forget this whole 'Elmo's World' nonsense, Big Bird used to live in filth, and Oscar wasn't lovably grouchy, he was just an asshole. I mean, these new kids shows like Pancake Mountain and Yo Gabba Gabba, they get all this hype for being so edgy and fresh, when they're just rehashing things Jim Henson was doing 30 years ago.

So it's with no small amount of excitement that I discovered the existence of Sesame Street Old School. Over 800 minutes on two 3-disc sets of all your favourite skits from your youth. We're talking the pinball counter, the typewriter with wheels, Richard Pryor teaching the ABC's, Cookie Monster on the fast track to diabetes, the works.

And apparently, these episodes of Sesame Street are not for children. According to that NYTimes article, the early purpose of Sesame Street was to let its "target child" [read: black, according to a 1979 Times article], know that "[t]he harshness of existence was a given, and no one was proposing that numbers and letters would lead you “out” of your inner city to Elysian suburbs. Instead, “Sesame Street” suggested that learning might merely make our days more bearable, more interesting, funnier. It encouraged us, above all, to be nice to our neighbors and to cultivate the safer pleasures that take the edge off — taking baths, eating cookies, reading."

In conclusion, a weird an somewhat terrifying clip from volume 2 of the Old School collection, a charming ditty on riding the subway, complete with warnings to the children to watch for muggers. I remember as a child being very worried for Bert.



I mean, we saw this as kids and turned out fine, right?

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