Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sesame Street: The Best Show You're Not Watching

Please don't look at me with that same look the other mothers gave me at Chuck E. Cheese when I was partaking in the Chuck E. version of Dance Dance Revolution, shaking my thang to B-I-N-G-O. I'm really not crazy, just me out. 

If you're like me, you often put on PBS and let your child watch, knowing that shows like Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood are appropriate viewing material for your children. The times that Bambina watches television are when I have housework or cooking to get done. (When I clean the bathroom she likes to bring the iPad and watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood while helping me wipe the counters with her own rag. Hopefully this will last through the teen years. The cleaning part, not the watching Daniel Tiger.) I usually just keep my ear to the television to listen to what is going on, but don't fully pay 100% attention.

It wasn't until Bambina got into the Sesame Street that I felt such amazement for the show. Somewhere around 18 months to 2 years old Bambina started memorizing the choreography of the skits on the show and was acting, dancing and singing to the tunes. I was finding that the songs were so catchy that even after she went to bed I was singing them, and they weren't obnoxious songs like Miss Mary Mack! (Lets be honest, I love to sing and dance with my kids but Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack All Dressed in Black Black Black? Really, what are you singing about?)

Not only are they catchy, but you've got celebrities like Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars singing these songs too. Sometimes they make kid friendly, educational parodies of their own hit songs and sometimes they write new songs just for the show. Oh and the parodies aren't just of songs, but of actual television shows too!

In case you are wondering, Sesame Street is filled with skits, both cartoon and real. There are also short dialogues between celebrities and Sesame Street characters where they discuss words of the day such as backwards or stubborn. While there are regulars on the show such as Maria, Leela and Chris (Some have even been there since I was a child), in every episode there is at least one celebrity.

So the epiphany that I've had is that the intent of the show is to be entertaining and educational to children yet also entertaining to the parents to entertain them through the doldrums of life. Again, would I sit with my child watching a black and white stick figure sing Ms. Mary Mack? No, but if you put someone relevant in pop culture today, say Usher, singing a parody of the song to a funky beat (Did I just type that? Forgive me.), then I'm going to pay attention. (Although, I can't imagine a parody to Confessions, how could you turn a song about cheating and getting another women pregnant into something kid friendly?)

Explaining this to you will never get you hooked, rather let me show you some videos of how much I love this show.

Here's a parody of the show Glee while teaching children about the sounds of the letter G.
They get every aspect of this show down from the large ego of Lea Michele to the fabulosity of Chris Colfer. They even end the skit with a G parody of Don't Stop Believing!

And the Iron Chef parody with Jason Schwartzmen is a favorite around the Tiffin Girl household...

And most importantly, lets not forget the great music on Sesame Street! After dinner the kids and I participate in Dance Party. It's where we play Sesame Street tunes on you tube and dance around the living room. (Bambino crawls.) This is where mommy gets in a mini workout at the same time because dancing with a toddler more resembles a Jane Fonda aerobic video rather than dancing in the club to "It's my birthday, we gonna party like it's my birthday..."  (You're giving me that look again, the Chuck E. Cheese look.) 

My favorite is Will I Am's song What I Am (Hey, I just got that!)
And Bruno Mars's Don't Give Up...

And of course, the first Elvis Costello song I ever heard (Don't judge. At least I knew who he was!)

Oh! And Train's parody of Drive By...

And no, it's not all sappy and cutesy, Ricky Gervais made sure to bring his bag of wit when he stopped by to visit Elmo...

If watching these clips didn't get you pumped on all things monster, then you must be one of those that watches Honey Boo Boo and I'm never going to convince you of watching more scholastic entertainment. (I know, I'm addicted to Bravo, but I can be cerebral at times!)

To end on an 1980's Afterschool Special note, if you have a child and aren't watching Sesame Street, this is definitely something that's great family bonding. 


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