In celebration of Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary (the show aired for the first time November 10th, 1969), all of everything this amazing show did for children’s education, and because I love making lists, here are some quick comments on my favorite Sesame Street characters.
1. Big Bird
I’m just around the right age to remember a time when Elmo wasn’t the end-all-be-all of Sesame Street characters. I don’t hate him as much as some other people (mostly older than me) do, but the fact that he is so far and away the most popular character on the show is simply ridiculous. It’s also a shame, since he is nowhere near to being as good at being the show’s “iconic” character as Big Bird.
It might be the fact that his gigantic self contrasts with his pure heart, but there is something about Big Bird, from his languid posture to his calmed voice, that makes him such an endearing character. It also makes him a little melancholic, which is a mood that I have always responded to (especially in children’s entertainment). Bottom line: He is adorable and want to give him a hug. Here is a heartbreaking video of him singing at Jim Henson’s memorial.
As I expected, any moment in which you reveal your favorite Sesame Street characters is going to turn into a revelation of your deepest fears and desires as a human being. Becuase you watch the show as a child, you respond to the characters that show the most basic and essential parts of your personality. Case in point, I have always responded to the underlying desperation and overall nervousness that is present in almost anything Grover does, especially when he is working in the serving industry, like in this clip, that has stuck with me from my childhood.
3. Oscar the Grouch
As a kid, I liked Oscar because he was green. As an adult, I love him because it’s incredibly easy to identify with him and his opinions. Actually, it’s not so much that I see myself reflected in Oscar, but that I wish I was more like him. That I could, as he puts it in this clip from Follow that Bird, “stand-up and complain” without thinking too much about what other people might think.
4. Cookie Monster
Truth be told, when I was a kid, I kind of was a little unsettled by Cookie Monster’s appearances on the show. There was something about the abundance of “id” in the character that made me a little uneasy, and yet, I kind of loved him nonetheless. It might have been the fact that he looks so funny. I’ve always thought he is one of the best designed characters, with those googly eyes, the blue fur, and the kind of non-shape of his body. Also, who doesn’t love cookies?
5. The “I Love My Hair” Girl
As far as I know, this character doesn’t even have a name, but that won’t stop me from including her on the list. Being the grown person that I am, it’s been a long time since I’ve actually seen any Sesame Street beyond the rare Youtube clip here and there. One of the most recent clips I’ve seen, however, is this amazing song about a girl loving her hair. Not only is this an amazing message to send out to little girls, but it’s actually quite a delightful video, not in small part thanks to the incredible enthusiasm the main character shows when dancing around and singing about… well, loving her hair.