As a child I absolutely adored Sesame Street but I never managed to interest Nico much in the show. Perhaps this was because we lived in Switzerland during his prime SS viewing time and in the French version of the show, Elmo always sounds incredibly depressed. Or maybe he was just exposed to too much Pixar too early on. I even ordered the “Sesame Street Old School” DVDs so that he could watch the exact same episodes that I watched as a child. All to no avail- he had no interest in vicariously visiting any 1970s doctors offices, construction sites or Chinese noodle factories. He was bored by the ongoing drama of whether or not Big Bird’s friend Snuffy was real or imaginary, and when the disco dancing typewriter showed up, he was utterly perplexed.
So I’m trying again with Luca and so far meeting with a mild degree of success. The other day I decided to branch out and put on an episode of The Muppet Show (another of my childhood favorites) during Luca’s daily pre-nap TV time. However, when I walked into the room and saw him staring at a skit of the actress Sandy Duncan dancing around in a leotard and binge drinking in a bar filled with large hairy muppets, singing a song called “What’s a Girl Like Me Doing in a Place Like This?”, I realized that perhaps I hadn’t quite understood The Muppet Show as well as I thought I had when I was a child. Which is probably for the best. This reminded me of another muppet that I really liked as a kid, the potty-mouthed “Madame” on the fabulous show “Solid Gold.”
“Madame” would say things like “I’ve been closer to rock stars than a spandex jumpsuit” and “I lived with Ted Nugent for 6 months, we swung on his vine every night.”
I think television really lost something when it abandoned the subversive muppet concept. Now our children love watching subversive sea sponges instead and although this has its virtues, it’s really not the same.