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August 28, 2015

Sesame Street's 40th: Five biggest controversies

by Danny Gallagher, posted Nov 12th 2009 11:01AM
Sit a kid in front of a TV for an hour a day and a parent is bound to find something that offends them, other than the fact that plopping impressionable minds in front of a TV unsupervised is considered "good parenting."

Sesame Street
is no stranger to controversy. Critics, cynics and crybabies have called out the show on everything from questionable behavior to the ambiguous situations...of puppets. Of course, all of these complaints and cackling criticisms just scratch the surface of a much bigger issue that has largely gone unaddressed: the total loss of our sanity and grasp on reality.

So as we look back at the last 40 years of television's greatest children's show, we see some speed bumps along the way. These are the ones that caused the greatest loss of tire pressure.

5. Grundgetta's "Pox News" joke
Just as Sesame Street was about to celebrate their big 40th, a notable conservative blogger spotted this old clip of Oscar. His girlfriend, Grundgetta, disgusted with the "Trash News Network" announces she's going to watch "Pox News" and exclaims "Now there's a trashy news show." PBS' ombudsman called the show out for making the joke and everyone on the right including their self-appointed culture czar and fellow television puppet Bill O'Reilly jumped all over it.

4. Abby Cadabby
Sesame Street may have many colorful characters on the rosters of puppets, but there's one category that seems strangely short: women. The show corrected this by adding a new character that made up for a 13-year absence by being the most female thing in the history of the universe, short of putting a talking face on a uterus.

3. Kami
Sesame Street is one of the most copied shows in the world. Versions are produced in just about every corner of the globe including in South Africa where 28 percent of the population has HIV. So Takalani Sesame added Kam to their casti, a muppet that suffers from the deadly sexually transmitted disease to educate children on prevention and the affects it has on the human body. Pro-family groups flipped out and some Republicans on Capitol Hill threatened to pull funding from the network.

2. Cookie Monster stops eating cookies?
The world stopped on a dime when it learned that one of Sesame Street's most beloved and iconic characters, the Cookie Monster, had finally gotten that cookie monkey off of his back, kicked his habit and said to a group of strangers, "Hello, me Cookie Monster and me have cookie problem. Yeah, yeah, yeah." Of course, it was just a rumor and has been since he started eating healthy foods and considered cookies a "sometimes food." The rumor got so bad that the Muppet himself had to address the rumors on The Colbert Report because Rachel Maddow could not make room on her show the same night after she booked all four of the Banana Splits.

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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1. Bert and Ernie's, um, relationship
It's been rumored since the show first the airwaves in 1969. They live in the same apartment together, sleep in the same room and do just about everything together but never seem to have a wife or a girlfriend. Could it be that they are (gulp) gay? Some thought they were enough of a couple to try and get the show banned. The Sesame Workshop (formerly The Children's Television Workshop) has denied ever implying or designing them as "homosexual Muppets," a two word phrase that makes all of my college journalism professor cry until the whiskey kicks in.

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Man they made the HIV/AIDs clip sound like they pull out condoms, and penis and vagina models and taught kids how things work. (that would be insane btw) All that could cause is a very akward(but still funny) moment in you childs life. -_- its a sad world

November 18 2009 at 7:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The "Pox" News bit was a JOKE. It was just a joke. It was intended to make fun of people who scream that all other media not on "Fox" News is ridiculous liberal bias...I am not sure, also, why they didn't originally make Bert and Ernie brothers so there would be no controversy and even if they are just best friends who live in the same apartment, haven't we seen that before with the Odd Couple? It's not a big deal. If they DID have Bert and Ernie dating women then the parents would just complain that "oh no, they're teaching my children about sex!" So it's a lose/lose situation. BTW, isn't Big Bird rumored to be gay too? Also parents getting upset that Sesame Street is teaching children in a country where 1 in 4 people have HIV/AIDS about the disease is just moronic.

November 14 2009 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was absolutely ridiculous when they changed Cookie Monster. The "America's overweight " thing didn't start until the 80s, Cookie's been around since 69.

Could they have found a more horrendous muppet to be suffering from a communicable disease? Nothing like sending the message "if you are contagious you will look the part". Kids are judgmental enough with their peers.

November 12 2009 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The whole "POX News" brouhaha was overblown. Perhaps PBS's ombudsman should find more important things to do that facilitate right wing hysteria over so-called liberal bias.

No matter what Sesame Street does there will always be some person or group who thinks the show is trying to brainwash the world's children. Because as we all know, "1, 2, 3...4, 5, 6...7, 8, 9...10, 11, 12...we all sat down to the ladybug picnic" is sign that the End Times approach.

November 12 2009 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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