When I saw the news report about Volumes One and Two of “Sesame Street: Old School” being released on DVD with the warning that the episodes are intended for “grown-ups,” and may not “suit the needs of today’s preschool child,” I thought I’d caught an old SNL clip of Chevy Chase’s Weekend Update.
I grew up watching animated animals annihilate one another only to spawn and start again; Popeye the Sailor storm around muttering stuff I didn’t quite understand while beating the shit out of anybody who crossed him; and a prehistoric baby with a bone in her hair selling Welch’s Grape Juice in primetime. Now, that’s “Old School.” And if you really want a kid’s show for “grown-ups,” check out Betty Boop prancing around in her lacey slip and garter belt. Hubba-hubba!
Both my kids, even though they’re 20 years apart, grew up watching Sesame Street with their mom. And although I can’t remember ever needing to have a conversation about it, I’m sure neither would credit Alistair Cookie of “Monsterpiece Theater” with any pipe-smoking or pipe-eating addictions and then attempt to sue Sesame Street because of it. But the producers’ lawyers must have felt the need, fearful that there’s gotta be somebody out here who would.
No need to sing PBS’s praises. You can take their programming or change the channel (especially during a Ken Burns marathon.) But the real, non-litigated damage is the tens-of-thousands of parents who will mindlessly buy into that laughable CYA disclaimer and now view the show with suspicious eyes. They may even add Sesame Street to their Cable TV’s Parental Block list along with Nip/Tuck and reruns of Jackass.
Too bad, because I’m pretty sure seeing grown men go airborne in metal shopping carts would suit the needs of today’s preschool child pretty well.