Sesame St S5: Highlights #2

Today, we continue on with more Season 5 highlights, beginning with a classic Sesame Street story-song by Joe Raposo, “The Ballad of Casey McPhee,” in which Cookie portrays a brave, stalwart train conductor delivering 6 carloads of cookies and ice cream through a snowy mountain pass in order to deliver them to children on the other side who need them for their birthday parties, the fact that he actually manages to avoid eating them a testament both to his impressive resolve and the fact that he’s playing a role here because the real Cookie might have had a great deal more trouble remaining focused on the task at hand and putting his own hunger aside for the sake of kids he doesn’t even know:



But, of course, as you see, when a snowy avalanche completely blocks the pass, Cookie at least gets to have a meal of another sort: the snow itself, which he voraciously chomps through in order to clear the path for the train to get through to the cookie-and-ice-cream-deprived children! Think The Little Engine That Could meets a very hungry monster. I also have to wonder if they drew inspiration from Cookie hijacking the train in his Beat the Time appearance.


Next, we have “Only Five,” (which you can watch here) one of a series of sketches in which Grover takes on the role of elevator operator for an office building. This one amusingly starts off with Mr. Johnson from the Grover waiter sketches acting his typically pessimistic self when he sees that the elevator is still on the 10th floor while he’s on the ground level, woefully declaring, “10th floor?! That elevator will take forever!” And then a moment later, when it starts to move and arrives in seconds, he lets out a surprised “That wasn’t so bad.” No, it really wasn’t, was it, Mr. Johnson?


Of course, when the door opens, there’s Grover in his cute little suit, but he can’t let all of the interested parties board until he’s counted them, because only 5 people are allowed to ride the elevator at once. He counts all of the potential passengers twice and, sure enough, there are 5. When he’s about to get on himself, however, Mr. Johnson blocks his way, because Grover hadn’t clarified that it was 5 plus him, just 5, and he would make 6. The door shuts and up the elevator goes!


And speaking of counting, next up we have yet another early sketch with Sesame Street‘s resident expert/obsessive on the topic, the Count!



Possibly my favorite part of the entire sketch is the very beginning, in which the Count gazes into his mirror, which is entirely black and delivers the brilliantly punnish line, “You are a terrible mirror! No reflection on you, of course.” 10 points to Gryffindor! Shortly afterwards, the mailman arrives at the door, once again played by the Mr. Johnson Muppet also known as “Fat Blue” by fans. This time around, however, unusually, Jim Henson rather than Jerry Nelson provides his voice. And he brings with him 3 full bags of mail for the Count. “You must have a lot of friends,” he says. The Count responds that actually he has none. He wrote them all himself. And when the mailman dares to wonder why he would want to read letters he wrote himself, you can probably guess the Count’s response: “I’m not going to read them! I’m going to COUNT them!” which he begins to do as soon as the befuddled mailman leaves.


The Count actually becomes so overcome with excitement that after only getting through a mere 12 letters, he throws the others up in the air. You’d think he’d want to savor every last one, but I’m sure after a nice nap, he’ll delight in counting them again as he picks them each off the floor.


Next up, another Harvey Kneeslapper gag that goes just as badly for him as his attempted “mirror joke” did. This time around, he rigs a pail full of confetti at the top of a door to fall on whoever walks through and pulls the rope. His intended victim, however, hears him explaining the trick and instead sneaks up on him as he’s standing under it and dumps the confetti on him. You can watch it here.


Yet another Harvey Kneeslapper prank failure!

Yet another Harvey Kneeslapper prank failure!

And the very next one is even more epic, because this time around, we see 3 failed attempts of his to pull off a similar gag. For, you see, he’s stuffed a closet full of toys and put an OPEN sign on the door and plans on watching as some hapless person comes by and follows its instructions, only to have the toys fall on top of him or her. It naturally never goes according to his plan, however, this time eventually reaching positively Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner heights. The first person to open the door is a little girl, and she certainly does find a closet full of toys but none of them fall on her, so she simply shrugs and walks away. Of course, when Harvey himself tries it a second later to see what went wrong, they all fall on him.


At the start of Part 2, he’s already rigged it up again, and this time it’s a little boy who comes by. The boy, however, can’t get the knob to turn. The door is clearly stuck, so he also shrugs and leaves. And, of course, when Harvey tests it a second later, the door swings wide open and all the toys fall on him. The best twist, occurs, in Part 3, however, when a boy and girl both open the door, which has magically transformed into a portal to the outside, just like one of Wile E. Coyote’s paintings of a tunnel on a brick wall that the Road Runner can run right through, leaving him to bash his face on the bricks when he attempts it. And sure enough, after the door closes, and Harvey attempts to follow them out, the closet is once again restored to what it was, and the toys crash down again! And you can watch the entire thing here.


It’s another interesting example of a sketch that doesn’t seem to have any educational value at all, really, other than amusing the children viewers. I mean, maybe there’s something there about patterns or just encouraging them to not be jerks? But, anyway, it’s nice to see the clearly educational stuff balanced with pure fun. And here’s one that blends both:



What’s great about this one is that when it starts with two kids fighting over a cookie, it seems like we’re in for a lesson about sharing, but then it turns into something else entirely when Cookie enters. I love how both of the kids are instantly reticent to accept his help. “We weren’t born yesterday!” the boy says and quite wisely too! But then Cookie tells them that he’s not trying to take the cookie for himself. He is simply going to suggest that the smallest one get the cookie.


And so the two begin to size one another up, each one trying to squat lower in order to be the champion, but then Cookie reveals his ultimate evil plan, magically shrinking into a tiny, bite-sized version of himself! “I do anything for cookie!” he squeaks, dragging the cookie–which is now much larger than him–away with him! And so we have a bit of a squabbling-kids-get-comeuppance-for-not-sharing-with-one-another messsage along with a small, smaller, smallest definition lesson, but even more significantly, it’s just plain hilarious.


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