Sesame St S6: News Flash

Here, Kermit is appearing not in a typical Sesame Street News Flash but as part of Sesame Street Sports, and what’s nifty about it is that, for the majority of the sketch, it seems to be a fairly straightforward depiction of the classic story, the only difference being that Kermit is interviewing both the extremely slow tortoise and the mega-fast hare, who nonetheless decides to relax rather than run, confident that he can make up for “lost” time in an instant. But in the end, this time around, it isn’t either of the competitors who wins but rather Kermit, who, in simply walking over to the finish line in order to be ready to nab the first exit interview with whoever happens to be the winner ends up beating the glacially-paced tortoise and the still-relaxing hare, to the elation of numerous other fairy tale characters, including one of the 3 little pigs (who beams, “Look at the legs on that frog! So powerful!”) and the 3 bears! Slow and steady may win most races, but apparently, Kermit’s regularly paced walk beats both! The danger of journalists becoming the story.


And in some ways, the next is the most fractured fairy tale of all, with not Kermit but the Count apparently interrupting the flow of two stories!



And, if you’re wondering if you might be experiencing deja vu, yes, Kermit has already found himself within The 3 Little Pigs before, however, being such a popular story, it was one of the few, along with Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, that provided fodder for numerous sketches. This time around, though, Kermit is at the wooden rather than brick house and never actually gets around to an interview due to the Count popping up and demanding on counting the 3 pigs, who declare them both weirdos and slam the door in their faces. Trying to shake the Count, an increasingly out-of-patience Kermit knocks on their next door neighbors’ door in an attempt to save his story, but unfortunately, it turns out to be the 7 dwarves’ cottage, at which point the obsessive Count (who had been so jonesing for a fix, he bothered counting 1 solitary pussy willow in the meantime) goes full-on bat-guano cuckoonuts, barging into their house and counting each dwarf, grabbing various ones desperately trying to escape for their lives and dragging them back inside until he’s done. Sheesh! Someone might need to talk to this guy.


Now, one thing all of the previous stories had in common is that they generally all start out as their original stories did with Kermit’s presence causing the twist (I guess it’s true that the very act of observation can change the outcomes of an experiment!). This next one, a spin on The Princess and the Mattress, is different because it begins fractured, with 10 mattresses instead of 100, a cookie being exchanged for the pea, and Cookie Monster in drag playing the princess, just as he did in “The King’s Nose”:



As you might notice, this sketch is a bit more obviously educationally-minded than the others, with much of the scene being devoted to counting each of the mattresses one by one–which I would guess is the main reason they cut the number down to 10. 100 just might have taken a bit longer. Because of this, it’s also not the most fun News Flash, though it is hilarious to hear Jerry Nelson’s mattress delivery guy complain that lifting them all has thrown his “sacroiliac out of whack”–an inherently funny, complexly rhymed phrase that gets bonus points for using a word that most adults rarely hear in conversation, let alone children. It also, of course, offers another opportunity to see lovely Princess Cookie in all her glory, as well as has a fun button, when “she” begins to devour the mattresses underneath her. Presumably, she’ll reach the cookie eventually and have a terrific surprise, though having had a preternatural sense for the cookie’s presence from the start probably would have been funnier/more character-appropriate.


Next up, we have a few more nursery rhyme News Flashes, starting with “Little Miss Muffet”, the major gag in this one being the various ways in which Miss Muffet doesn’t live up to her famous poem, to Kermit’s increasing exasperation (also fun to note: this one is actually labeled as a “news bulletin!” rather than with the typical title card). And so, rather than a tuffet, this Little Miss M has a water bed, and she certainly doesn’t eat curds and whey (“Have you ever tasted curds and whey?” she asks Kermit, disgust dripping from her voice. “Then don’t tell me I’ve gotta eat ’em!”), instead opting for crunchy granola. Also, as it turns out, “us little girls aren’t frightened by spiders anymore,” in another nice undercutting of gender norms. Kermit, on the other hand, is terrified of this enormous one, Charlie, possibly because being a frog, it’s something he would generally eat that’s instead large enough to eat him. So Charlie chases him away, leaving the girl to sigh, “Too bad they left. There was plenty of crunchy granola for everyone.”


The next one is “Hey Diddle Diddle”, with Kermit interviewing the famous cow (and her “agent”, the cat with the fiddle) moments before she jumps over the moon. The best parts of this bit are the numerous references to manned NASA space missions, which would have still been a relatively recent, timely thing only 5 years after the first moon landing. For example, the cow preens that she is making the leap “Because it is there…Because I want to prove that we cows can do anything we set our minds to,” at first quoting the famous English mountaineer, George Mallory (who died in 1924 while trying to scale Everest), but also echoing the sentiments of countless astronauts (with likely more than a touch of women’s lib thrown in for good measure, as well). And once she actually jumps, Kermit’s play-by-play reporting is sprinkled with rocket take-off language: “G-forces are decreasing…wind velocity…Lunar gravity is taking over…” And when she finishes, crashing to the ground and knocking both Kermit and the cat over into the tub of water waiting to catch her. “Splashdown!” he excitedly announces. And the cow concludes by saying, “One small jump for cow, one giant leap for cowdom!” misquoting Neil Armstrong.


And then we have Old Mother Hubbard, who naturally fails to fetch her poor doggie a bone from the cupboard:



I have two minor complaints about this sketch: (a) Lamont the dog is visually very strange compared to the typical Muppet dog, looking more like they took a round, blue, human Anything Muppet and just attached fur and a dog nose; (b) although Mother Hubbard going off and instead accidentally fetching things that rhyme with “bone” is funny, it’s thrown off a bit by the fact that, unlike, say the sketch where Maria played a genie, it can’t be chalked up to her mishearing the dog’s request. She herself says “bone” numerous times, but then proceeds to get the wrong thing over and over, which I guess just means she’s a bit batty? With that said, again, the rhymed mistakes are great. The first, a huge stone, crashes through the floor, creating a hole, through which the second, a heavy throne, falls, as well.


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