1 The Muppet Mindset: Best of Sesame Street in the 1990s

Sep 10, 2013

Best of Sesame Street in the 1990s

Michael Wermuth - A few years ago as 2009 was ending I did an article on the best Sesame Street segments from the past decade (2000-2009). Since then, I thought it'd be nice to do ones on the other decades. Well, after a few years, I'm finally getting around to it. And although I like the first two decades of Sesame Street a lot better, today I'm going to write about some of my favorite Sesame Street segments from the 1990s (which might include a little bit of the 1989 half of season 21), segments I haven't really talked about in other Mindset articles or lists.

Monsterpiece Theater: The Old Man and the C 
In this Monsterpiece Theater segment, Grover plays the titular old man, who appears to be  sailing... only he's sailing on a letter C instead of on the sea. I predicted the ending the first time I saw this segment, but it's still a very funny gag.

"Lambaba"
In this song, The Count gets ready for bed and counts sheep... But he has so much fun that he ends up staying up all night, counting and dancing. In each verse the Count sings about other animals besides sheep. Mary and her little lamb come by, and Little Bo Peep brings a ram to the party. It's such a fun song.

"I Wonder About the World Above Up There"
This song starts with several kids in the park looking down and commenting on the neat stuff you can find by looking down, but Kermit is instead looking up at the sky, singing about all the great things you can see looking up, like clouds, the sun, and a kite. Kermit's singing here sounds especially great, as does the back-up singing of the kids. This song is also notable for being Jim Henson's last Kermit song on Sesame Street.

"In Your Imagination"
In this song, Elmo sings about imagination. He's joined by two other Kevin Clash characters, Hoots the Owl and Wolfgang the Seal, and the segment itself has such great visuals. We see many Elmo's (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on the fan), in many different sizes, and Elmo's vocals are very nice in this. It's such a magical scene.

"This Song's for the Birds"
This song was sung by Biff at the Birdland. jazz club Actually, he's part of a group--Biff and Sully and the Hardhats, including a female construction worker named Stella. Biff's introduction is very funny, in which he constantly mentions himself and Sully and the Hardhats and Stella, as Sully keeps trying to tell Biff that Stella hadn't shown up. When they play the actual song, Sully plays the piano and Stella hits Sully's helmet with drum sticks, while the Hardhats make many bird calls. Stella kind of steals the show here.

"Barn in the USA"
A parody of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA," sung by Bruce Stringbean (who also sang "Born to Add") and a chorus of barnyard animals. This song has such an epic sound, with all those barnyard animals making their sounds. The show should have had more Bruce Springsteen parodies.

"Just Happy to be Me"
This song was sung by Kingston Livingston III, who mentions he was named after his father and grandfather, but prefers to be an original and do things the way he feels like doing, as opposed to doing what's popular for the sake of popularity. He sings about how proud he is to be himself, and talks about wearing a baseball cap the correct way instead of backwards, and dancing differently from all the other kids. This song was my first exposure to the character, and I first saw it when the character was on his way out the door (if he hadn't already been retired), but Kingston seems like a cool character who should have stuck around.

Superhero School
In this segment, Super Grover teaches a Superhero School, where his class consists of Elmo, Rosita, Zoe, Telly, Herry, and Merry Monster. Super Grover teaches the class to raise their hands before talking, and then gives a lesson in flying, which include two important lessons: Never fly when there's a ceiling nearby, and you can't "yay" and fly at the same time. Good lessons, Super Grover!

"Bubble on my Snuffle"
This fun song was sung by Mr. Snuffleupagus as he took a bath. And I must wonder how much work was put into this, putting Snuffy into a big bathtub and having him scrub with his snuffle.

"Baby, You Can Count on Me"
In this song The Count sings to Baby Natasha as she sits on his lap The Count sings about the various body parts one can count. Natasha seems to be having a fun time learning from The Count, and one thing's for sure, you can always count on The Count to keep us entertained.

"Girls of the World"
This song is a parody of "I'm a Woman," a song you might recognize from when Raquel Welch was a guest star on... Oh, what's the name of that one puppet show with the frog and the pig? Anyway, this song was sung by Prairie Dawn, Betty Lou (see? they ARE different people!), Zoe, and Rosita, as they sing about the many things that girls can do. It's such a positive song for girls.

"Furry Happy Monsters"
In this song R.E.M. sings a parody of their hit song "Shiny Happy People," joined by a group of monsters, including the Two-Headed Monster. It seems like they're having a good time performing with all those monsters. Ya know... I don't think I've ever heard the song this is a parody of.






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this article. I hate to admit that as the 2000s creeped in, I was not as loyal a Sesame watcher (and still so to this day) but back in the 90s, throughout my college years, I was eagerly catching it pretty religiously, and I think this was a great era for the show as far as musical numbers, etc. You definitely listed some of my favorites. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane this afternoon.

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  2. Elmo with the Goo Goo Dolls was pretty epic as well.

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