Sesame St S2: Songs, Etc.

And then we have a fun song performed by the hippie Muppet rock group, Little Jerry and the Monotones, called “Mad Song,” which illustrates the emotion in the title and is a bit of a riff on The Silhouettes’ “Get a Job,” which you can watch/listen to here, and finally Cookie Monster singing a slightly different version of “One of These Things,” about various plates of, you guessed it, cookies. It also features Cookie contining to use the word “I” instead of “me,” so clearly they haven’t yet standardized his grammatical quirks:



Once I was done with all of the official compilations, I tracked down some other classic clips that weren’t represented on them, such as the classic, beloved Sesame Street song, “Sing,” which premiered in Season 2, and which most of you will recognize by the lyrics, “Sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong…” I wasn’t able to locate the very first version, but you can watch an early one here. This is slightly cheating, because Luis didn’t join the show until Season 3, but close enough.


Then we have what I believe to be the first iteration of a running series of sketches in which a Sesame Street human tells a fairy tale which various Muppets act out. This time around, it’s a story called “The Magic Apple,” narrated by Bob and starring Ernie as a “poor but honest farmboy” whose one wish is to marry a princess and live in a palace. Instantly, however, we begin to get the Muppets’ particular brand of chaotic off-stage-antics-intruding-on-stage when Ernie makes it clear that he’d much rather have either a banana milkshake or a rubber duckie, but Bob reassures him that the palace will likely have these things in it, so he agrees to the former once his Fairy Godmother appears. Speaking of which, Ernie then goes on to comment on how loud both her entrance and then exit is. Before she leaves, however, she shows him a magic apple at the top of the tree and tells him that once he picks it, he’ll have his wish. Which is all well and good but he has no clue how to get to it.


The "poor but honest farmboy" and the latest Princess Gwendolinda.

The “poor but honest farmboy” and the latest Princess Gwendolinda.

But who should come along then but a helpful farmer, who agrees to assist him in getting yon magic apple down. At first, he suggests they shake the tree, which they do with all of their might but to no avail. Then he offers to let Ernie lift him to reach the apple but that ends with them toppling to the ground, at which point he suggests Ernie just give up. So Ernie goes to sleep and then what should happen but the apple falls of its own accord from its perch and lands directly in his mouth? Now, at the start of the story, Bob had told us that the story includes a problem and solution, and here he comments that that was the solution: just waiting for the apple to fall. Which seems kind of a lame lesson to me. I mean, you have people cooperating to fix a problem, they fail to fix it, and then it just fixes itself, and Bob kind of implies here that they should’ve just waited after all and not bothered with all the attempts? This seems to be one of those sketches that has a greater entertainment value than an educational one, but that’s absolutely fine.


Particularly when the king comes along, lets Ernie know that his palace is filled with milkshakes and rubber duckies, and then calls for his daughter, who like the princess in Tales of the Tinkerdee and The Muppets on Puppets sketch before her, is called Gwendolinda (a name that Jim really must have gotten a kick out of), and who complains off-stage that she doesn’t want to come out at all. For, you see, she is actually a very reluctant Bert in drag, namely a lovely princess dress and blonde wig with pigtails–a great moment for Bert/Ernie shippers everywhere! Ernie eventually has to drag (heh heh) him on stage, Bert complaining “Why me?” all the way. “Oh my pretty one,” Ernie sighs. Bert tells him to cut it out, and he replies, “Oh my plain old ordinary…” which also infuriates Bert. Finally, Ernie dips his new “bride,” but then drops “her” to the floor as soon as he remembers the milkshakes and rubber duckies at the palace! Besides hilariously sprinkling some camp into Sesame Street, this bit also foreshadows many future times when Ernie will force Bert into ridiculous costumes for various plays and sketches. You can watch this amazingness here.


From one meta sketch to another, “Grover Shows Us Back and Front” follows in the tradition of character-tries-to-give-a-lecture-which-fate-conspires-to-ruin-but-which-actually-helps-the-lecturer-illustrate-the-opposite-point, but in this case, it’s actually the off-screen camera man messing with our lecturer! Grover is desperately trying to explain what “front” means, while the mischievous camera keeps switching to a shot of his back, Grover practically twisting himself into knots to demonstrate his front side. Then, of course, once he’s accepted that he’ll need to focus on the back, it tricksily switches to the front again. As with the above Grover song, the poor little guy really does his best, and by the end has to collapse to the floor, out of breath:



And speaking of Grover and lecturers, my final clip for today revolves around Herbert Birdsfoot, the mustachioed, bespectacled human Muppet who replaced Kermit as lecturer in Season 2, when Jim put the frog on hiatus. Played by Jerry Nelson, Herbert’s a bright, friendly sort of fellow, but you can see why he never really caught on. As affable as he might be, a Muppet man in a suit just can’t compete with our frog! This series of 3 sketches is actually more interesting as another illustration of Grover and his can-do spirit.


Here, Herbert is teaching us about the “an” family, showing various words you can make by adding to that letter group, and Grover happily volunteers to illustrate each. The first time, through, he tires himself out, showing us “ran”–and what I love about this one is it shows how Grover would often make things unnecessarily difficult for himself in his neverending quest to help out–“can,” for which he carries on, then knocks over a huge pile of cans–which, unlike the first time, shows him taking on more than he can do himself and irritating Herbert in the process–and then finally “fan,” in which he brings a fan on, but then turns it on so high, it ends up blowing Herbert and him right off the screen! And you can watch it here.


Tomorrow: more assorted Season 2 clips!


Pages: 1 2