Sesame St S4: Highlights #2

Today, I finish my coverage of Sesame Street Season 4 with a number of clips that I found via the show’s official YouTube channel. First off, another Martians clip, this time with our two intrepid explorers happening upon a grandfather clock:



As with the previous sketch in which they try to communicate with a telephone, it revolves around a miscommunication that has the Martians confusing an inanimate object for a living, breathing Earth creature and consulting their book to help them attempt to identify it, and ends with the two being frightened when said object begins to make a loud noise. For the phone, it was a ring; for the clock, the BONG! of a new hour being announced. And whereas with the phone, they mistook the object for a variety of Earth animals, here they’re pretty convinced from the start that the clock is just one creature, namely an “Earth person”.


Like an Earth person, the clock is tall. “Yip yip yip yip yip!” Like an Earth person, it has a face. “Yip yip yip yip yip!” It also has hands, and even talks…or technically ticks rather (one of them even says “Tick talk!” in response!). And I love how it actually gives kids a very subtle lesson that’s in some ways the opposite of one of Sesame Street‘s more common ones. Rather than presenting two things and showing them to either be the same or different by comparing their obviously similar or disparate surface details, this is an interesting case that shows how two things can be entirely different even if they share numerous surface details. Context can change everything. And this lesson is completely and very skillfully embedded in a primarily comedic sketch that seems to just be meant to encourage laughter based on those silly aliens’ goofiness!


Next, another Sesame Street Newsflash, and furthermore another one based around Sleeping Beauty! Whereas last time, however, when the Prince (now looking again more like Guy Smiley) kissed her, he fell under the sleeping spell himself, this time, he does indeed break the spell…sort of:



But, as you see, while his kiss does wake her up, it also enacts another spell, namely turning her into a frog! Unless she was always a frog all along and both the sleep and the human princess form were both aspects of the curse…Anyway, another great twist on the fairy tale norm which once again references The Frog Prince tale which recurs throughout Kermit’s career, while also subverting it by having the princess, not the prince, become a frog, and at the end rather than the beginning of her tale!


Additionally, she has the same abrasive New Yawk voice as their Rapunzel, again undercutting the fairy tale ingenue ideal, and, most amusingly, ends the sketch by basically lusting after Kermit! “Hi there, handsome,” she says. “Where can we get some breakfast?” And off they go, as Kermit clearly hasn’t yet discovered his attraction to pigs.


And now, our next clip, in which Cookie Monster and the Count cooperate in their favorite pursuits, which are, of course, eating cookies and counting, respectively:



Just as Ernie realized that he and Bert could share the peanut butter and bread in order to make sandwiches, here, after squabbling over a plate of cookies, the Count realizes that he can count each cookie right before Cookie shoves it down his gullet! The best part about this sketch is the very end, however, in which the Count still has his Bela Lugosi pose going for him, and right after he stalks off, Cookie mirrors his actions, using his blue furry arm to block his face, mimicking the Count’s cape motion. Classic.


Next, another Sam the Robot sketch that again seems to largely reiterate why the character didn’t last long:



At least this one doesn’t simply recycle his “machines are better than people” rhetoric from the previous sketch, but there’s no getting around that the crush he develops on the toaster Luis is fixing comes across as more weird than funny, especially when he nearly malfunctions at the sight of it. And it’s also oddly sexist? “Hubba hubba!”… “Fix her good…or you’ll have me to answer to!” Ooookay…keep your pants on, Sam. On the plus side, it’s our first glimpse of Luis’ Fix-It Shop, so that’s pretty cool, although it actually opened in Season 3. This was just the first clip I was able to find of it. So, another interesting look at the rare Sesame Street character who didn’t quite hit the mark.


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