Governor Mitt Romney recently announced that he would cut funding to the Public Broadcasting Service, specifically to shows like “Sesame Street,” which has been running for upwards of 40 years. As someone who has had the opportunity to visit the actual street (and yes, I can tell you how to get, how to get there), this remark was particularly painful because it was just so dumb. “Sesame Street,” with its memorable cast of Muppets, stays relevant because it continues to teach lessons that apply to people outside their target 2–5 year–old demographic. Lessons like…
It’s okay to go crazy every once in a while. On the surface, Cookie Monster is a hot mess. I mean, the guy goes insane for cookies. He’s the picture perfect glutton. Except…he’s not. At all. Although he’s never going to mutate into the “Vegetable Monster,” a main point with him is that cookies are a “sometimes food”— you shouldn’t eat them all the time, making those rare moments when you do even more exciting and fun and delicious. Honey Barbeque Fritos Twists, highballs, TLC — whatever your vice, it’s okay to indulge. Sometimes. Just don’t go all crazy about it.
Everyone makes mistakes. Hey you! Do you remember when “Sesame Street” was super racist? Well, it happened. Way back in the 70s, “Sesame Street” introduced a new Muppet named Roosevelt Franklin. He was supposed to give a voice to young black children. Unfortunately, that voice was that of a scatting, ill–behaved kid whose grammar was reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn’s Jim. But now “Sesame Street” continues to be the most racially– and culturally–inclusive show on television. Basically, if they can get away with creating the basis for Franklin Delano Bluth (and his greatest hit, “It’s Not Easy Being White or Brown”), you can get away with failing that one midterm.
You are somebody’s favorite. I’m going to make a broad analogy here, so stay with me. You know those kids who are in the most prestigious senior societies, chill with the Gutmann and get to be Egos of the Week? They’re the Elmos. They’re omnipresent, successful and completely loathsome to everyone else. But they also deserve their popularity, because (and you hate to admit it) they’re pretty cool people once you get to know them. However, not everyone’s an Elmo. “Sesame Street,” and Penn, has a cast of colorful characters. A place filled with only Elmos would get real insufferable, real quick. So embrace your quirks; someone likes you better for them.