Happy 40th, Sesame Street! Yes, everyone’s favorite kids’ show — and this is one show about which I feel comfortable making such grand generalizations — is officially the new 30 today. The big 4-0 has inspired lots of hype, from Google’s design incorporating Big Bird feet to Michelle Obama doing a guest spot to mark the occasion. And for good reason: It’s such good children’s viewing, still, that I’m pretty sure that American children are required by law to watch it between ages 0 and 9. It’s the reason every person currently under 40 can count to 10 in Spanish. Its reference points are practically genetically encoded in kids when they’re born — it’s hard to imagine having to explain a Cookie Monster or Bert and Ernie joke. (Okay, maybe Bert and Ernie have gotten a little complicated at times, but we’re past that.) For most of us, it was our first pop culture — and it was smart pop culture, with song parodies and even the occasional controversial joke (see: Pox News, the “trashy news network”). Besides, how can you argue with a show that teaches kids to count while introducing them to indie rock?:
There will always be complaints about kids watching too much TV, but there will never be complaints about kids watching too much Sesame Street (not from anyone with a soul, anyway). So thanks, Big Bird and company, for making the airwaves safe for all of us future pop culture fanatics. And for teaching us a thing or two.
What’s your favorite Sesame Street moment of the last four decades, PopWatchers? What did you learn that you’ll never forget?