Sesame Street Turns 40, and My Kids Aren't Watching

What Women Really Think
Nov. 6 2009 12:33 PM

Sesame Street Turns 40, and My Kids Aren't Watching

I admit it-I wanted my kids to watch Sesame Street because I knew it was at worst harmless, and at best educational-although I've never believed watching TV could make kids smarter , I'm willing to accept that it can teach them to recognize a rectangle. But from the first, it held little interest for them. My oldest preferred Baby Einstein, although with proper maneuvering, I could get in a shower during "Elmo's World"-although not necessarily without tears. He moved on to Blue's Clues , while his younger sisters both preferred Dora and his little brother remains a fan of Little Einsteins . I kept trying, but if Sesame Street was playing, they gradually drifted away. (Not that that's a bad thing, but presumably some children actually watch the show.)

Besides Sesame Street, none would sit still for the various educational interludes networks like PBS and Discovery Kids used to start off their programming-treacly adults, singing children. They didn't want humans on their small screen, doing all of the boring things humans do-they wanted cartoons, often devoid of any background, facial expression or ability to speak (Joe and Steve were the exceptions who proved the rule). Sesame Street had too many grown-ups, too many scene changes, too many intervening videos of kids getting dressed or going about their day-or at least, that's what I thought. Some at Sesame Street seem to have felt the same way-they recently added more regular Muppet segments and " smoother transitions ," but it still never took in our house.

Advertisement

So I'll watch Michelle Obama on Sesame Street via YouTube , and if the TV's on today, someone will surely choose one of the usual cartoons on the roster. Sesame Street will just have to turn 40 without us. Will you be watching-or do your kids, like mine, clamor for livelier fare?

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.