Sesame Street Ep #115


Kermit sings “Bein’ Green”

Today’s episode of Sesame Street aired on April 17, 1970, and is available on Netflix and for sale on iTunes under the name “Kermit Croons Being Green,” which technically isn’t the name of the song (the “g” shouldn’t be there), but what can you do?


This is probably the strangest episode I’ve watched thus far, mainly because it contains at least one landmark moment for the series and some extremely fun sketches but also starts off with a practically interminable sequence that seems to stretch on forever, something not helped by the fact that not a single Muppet appears on camera for the first 12 minutes, which is a lot of time to have to sit through humans on the street acting out virtally plotless tedium. I have to admit that I actually ended up skimming a bit and even with that, it dragged to the point that I almost worried it would take up the entire episode.


And what is taking up so much time? Why, Susan arrives home from a day of work, energized due to what a beautiful day it is outside. She meets Gordon outside their apartment, and the two agree that it would be a great idea to do something fun. She tells him that what she really wants to do more than anything is to take a nice long, fun drive, but that’s not possible because they don’t have a car. He responds that she’s wrong. They do have a car! She seems suspicious but willing to play along, and then he leads her to the courtyard, where he proceeds to take 4 chairs, put 2 in a line, and another 2 behind, and to tell her that this is their car.


A "drive".

A “drive”.

He then encourages her to go back to the apartment and make up a picnic basket, and I’m sorry but come on, Gordon. Your wife–who, by the way, if you haven’t noticed, is a grown woman–tells you she’d like a nice drive, and your response is to line up a bunch of chairs on the sidewalk and tell her to pretend? And on top of that, make her prepare lunch for you, too?! Sheesh. Cheap and chauvinistic! No wonder she’ll trade you in twice more till she finally upgrades to a better model.


And, ok, yes, this is Sesame Street and I’m being facetious, but the scenario as it plays out is really strange. Gordon enlists two kids to join in the play with them. He and a boy sit in the front, Susan and a girl in the back, because of course that’s where women sit. Oh, and before they sit down, he has Susan put the picnic basket–full of real food that she made–in the “trunk,” which just seems to add insult to injury. But while I’m sure this wasn’t intended as such, Susan throws some great shade at Gordon when he asks her what she likes most about the drive. She tells him it’s seeing all the sights go by and feeling the wind in her hair. The odds are that she wasn’t meant to be actually giving him a hint there but rather engaging in imagination, but I like to think that she was making a very pointed criticism.


If only because it makes this scenario more interesting. Because otherwise I just spent 12 minutes–minus a few short cartoon intermissions–watching 2 adults and 2 kids sitting on chairs, and pretending to look out windows, stop at stop signs and lights, look both ways, and so on and so forth. Or would have if I hadn’t wisely fast-forwarded through some of this. Did kids in 1970 actually enjoy this? And, as with the previous installment, this segment is the closest the episode comes to having a plot, other than a brief follow-up later on, when the still-dopey Big Bird tells Susan he missed them when they were on their trip, and even after she explains it was pretend, he’s still happy to hear they didn’t run out of gas.


Susan talks to Big Bird.

Susan talks to Big Bird.

I’ll admit, that part’s cute, but it’s followed up by a slow sequence where Susan helps Big Bird put sequential pictures in order, a pretty uninspired scene that plays off of something the show did much better in the Bert and Ernie sketch in the previous episode. Basically, despite the episode’s good bits, there’s far too much boring stuff throwing the whole thing off balance. I shouldn’t be bored during a Big Bird sketch!


But back to earlier on in the episode, as soon as the “drive” sequence is mercifully finished, we are treated to Bob singing a rendition of “The People in Your Neighborhood,” one of my favorite Sesame Street songs as a kid, which apparently premiered in episode 45, this one containing verses about the garbageman and the barber, and really, by this point, I was just so grateful to see Muppets that I can practically feel the tears in my eyes. And then I basically started crying for real when we go back to Gordon doing a segment on the letter V, using various license plates as examples. We get it, Gordon, you like pretend driving. God. Shortly after, however, he brings out an adorable honey bear, or kinkajou, eating a banana, and while his boring description could practically drive (ha, get it?!) you to drink, the animal is so freaking cute that I was actually able to tune him out and just flail over the creature. I need one!


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