As a child born in the 1970s and raised in the 1980s, the “golden era” of Sesame Street is a huge part of my upbringing. This was back when it was still uncommon to see a racially integrated cast being nice to people, before people could see Snuffalupagus, and before Mr. Hooper passed away and taught a generation of kids how to grieve.
But as with any show that’s been around for 50 years, times change and our perceptions of what is and is not acceptable to show to kids has also changed. The early years of Sesame Street could actually be described as somewhat edgy and even radical, and there were numerous sketches, films, and movies that were poured into my eyeballs back then that would NEVER fly today. Today, we’re going to look at some of those.
And why not? Does anyone really want to discuss another Tottenham Hotspur loss in great detail? Let’s instead look back at some old clips of a puppet show and wonder how it was that my generation didn’t end up even more f—ked up than we already are.
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings for their match against Manchester United to the theme of Sesame Street sketches that probably couldn’t be aired on today’s show.
5 stars: The Counting Baker
Oh my goodness. Where to begin with this one? These films, featuring the numbers 1-10, were all over the place in Sesame Street episodes in the 70s and 80s. Not only do they feature kids tonelessly scream-singing about numbers, the animation at certain points was enough to possibly invoke a seizure. The coup-de-grace, of course, was the Baker, who capped off the celebration of a particular number by falling down a flight of stairs holding baked goods. Hilarious to kids? Absolutely. But if you think that my brother and I didn’t pretend to (and sometimes actually attempt to) fall down stairs imitating this sketch when we were kids, you’re kidding yourself. I sometimes wonder how many broken arms these films directly led to.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as good (bad? good?) as this category.
4 stars: The Mad Painter
The premise of these films, again a series designed to teach kids numbers, was a bearded hippie dude with a can of paint and a paintbrush who would go around painting numbers on random things. Cute yes, but also kinda disturbing — who’s this creepy rando dude in a raincoat and why’s he painting the number 4 on that lady’s umbrella? Hey mom, can I do that TOO?
Nobody in this category either.
3.5 stars: Don Music
Don Music was a tortured Muppet musician with a severe lack of confidence and the inability to remember the ends of nursery rhymes. He would emphasize his ongoing ennui through interviews with Muppet News reporter Kermit by lapsing into despair and banging his head against the keyboard. Sounds like a great role model, right? As a young musician who struggled through piano lessons early in life, was this something I did to the astonishment and dismay of my mother? You bet it was.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 3.5): His goal was well taken and a lot more difficult than it looked in real time. I won’t give him credit for getting United’s first goal called back as he got hit in the face and it was a foul. Faded along with the rest of the team in the 2nd half but was one of the only offensive sparks.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.0): Had a key pass in the buildup for Spurs’ goal. I was perhaps as impressed with his first half performance as anyone in the side. Got shifted around in the second half which reduced his effectiveness and was subbed.