Sesame St S6: News Flash

Finally, in a hilarious ending, Lamont simply grabs the third item, a phone, and dials up the local Chinese restaurant. As it so happens, although he had only communicated through barks and howls before, he can indeed speak perfect English. He orders food for Mother Hubbard and himself, but then in an amazingly dark ending, the poor old lady falls down the hole too, and without missing a beat, Lamont tells the guy that he’ll have to cut the order down to one, until Kermit chimes in that he’d happily share with him. All I can say to that is wow. While I doubt the implication is that she’s actually died, the dog’s utter lack of concern for her–she’s probably been driving him crazy for years–along with Kermit’s is savagely funny in an entirely low-key way. Other children’s shows don’t do things like this!


And we have one more nursery rhyme, “Hickory Dickory Dock”:



Like “Little Miss Muffet,” this is another nursery rhyme that doesn’t work out as it’s supposed to through no fault of Kermit’s. Kermit patiently waits for the mouse to appear at the strike of 1 to run up the clock, but instead, a cow shows up, declaring that she’s much too large to climb the clock. “No one asked you to!” Kermit calls back, already beginning to lose his froggy cool. Next, a duck appears…because Hickory Dickory DuckAhhhhhh! Gotta love Jim Henson’s love of punnery. Finally, a horse arrives, and when Kermit asks him what’s going on, he replies, “The mouse couldn’t make it!” so he’s filling in. And so he does his horsey best, running at and through the clock, which splits right down the middle!


Next, we have an example of yet another series of News Flashes, these ones covering historical events and this one being the day that Columbus set off to discover America (let’s just pretend, for the sake of this sketch, that he actually did this):



I don’t have much to say about this one, since it’s pretty straightforward, the best bit being when Columbus asks Kermit the time, he responds “1492,” and Columbus says in a rush, “Gotta hurry or we’ll be late!” The main gist is counting off the 3 boats, and it finishes with the third one still being tied to the dock when it leaves, pulling a chunk of it away on which Kermit happens to be standing, so now he’s on his way to the New World, as well!


Finally, we have three more sketches that don’t fit the typical News Flash mold. In the first, Kermit attempts to interview Santa Claus, but things end up getting just as mixed up as when Rowlf tried to read the fairy tale in The Muppets on Puppets:



This is just a wonderful, wonderful slice of Muppety madness, a classic example of Kermit being surrounded by chaos and insanity but with the imaginative twists of the misappropriated holiday gear. Firstly, when Kermit announces he’s going to interview Santa, he’s greeted by a bunny who claims to be the Big Guy and even says his catchphrases to boot. But not only is he the wrong species but he has a basket full of jack o’ lanterns, scary masks, black cats, and broomsticks! Kermit attempts to correct him, insisting that he’s conflated two incorrect holidays, and that he is, in fact, the Easter Bunny, meant to be delivering chocolate eggs to children, at which point who should literally hop in but the Muppet witch who we last saw in the “Magic Mirror” sketch, claiming to be “the little old Easter Witch, hippity hoppitting all over the land, hiding eggs hither and yon, here and there…”?!


Naturally, Kermit has had it by this point. Or thought he has. Just as he’s trying to explain to the two of them that Santa has a red outfit and says “Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas,” etc., who should wander in but a white-bearded, red-suited spitting image of Santa…who also seems to be having an identity crisis, for as soon as he hears what Kermit said, he declares, “You’re Santa!” and attempts to climb on the poor frog’s lap to ask him for Christmas presents?! This sketch is just beyond-words amazing.


The next one is a three-part-sketch called “Man in Snowstorm” which although it takes quite a while to get to the twist punchline, justifies it with a genuine surprise, which is I believe the only time one particular character ever succeeds in his quest in his entire Sesame Street run. Through all three parts, Kermit is standing outside in a snowstorm, due to a tip called into the station that there was someone simply standing out in the snow for a long time. Kermit asks person after person if they are that person, and each responds that, no, they’d only been out for a short time. As the day goes on, Kermit becomes completely covered in snow, yet still stands outside there, trying to get his story–a really sharp gag on the poor news reporters sent outside during blizzards seemingly just to get confirm for the viewers at home what it’s like to be snowed on.


Now, I did guess that Kermit would eventually realize that he was the nut standing in the snow for such a long time, but I hadn’t guessed the reveal: that the caller was actually Harvey Kneeslapper, who specifically set up this elaborate prank just so that when Kermit finally asked him if he knew who was standing in the snow for a long time, he could point and laugh at him, “YOU!!” thus proving correct the old adage that even a broken clock works twice a day. It’s also just such a great surprise, because of course no one would think that it could be him, because his pranks never work! Not to mention, of course, the fact that the Newsflashes usually don’t incorporate regular Sesame Street characters other than Kermit, leaving us totally unprepared to guess that Harvey of all people might appear.


And we finish on Kermit losing his cool once more:



The idea of Kermit trying to get an interview with anyone who will discuss with him what makes them angry, and each one’s refusal to speak with him in turn causing him to lose his temper feels like watching all of the Kermit-gets-angry sketches boiled down into one brief scene, and as always, Jim’s performance is just so wonderful–perfectly modulated so that the escalation of exasperation leads to such a flawless, beautiful eruption at the end that it’s practically cathartic. We are all Kermit, being driven up the wall by an insane world, ultimately collapsing into a screaming fit.


Come back next week for another huge slew of Season 6 clips!


Pages: 1 2 3