1 The Muppet Mindset: Sesame Street Season 44 Reviews, Part 2

Nov 5, 2013

Sesame Street Season 44 Reviews, Part 2

Shane Keating - Hello, and welcome back Sesame fans! It’s time to go over the several, latest episodes from Sesame Street’s 44th, including a very special episode...

STREET STORIES

The first “new” episode since my last review was actually a repeat of the season 39 episode, “The Help-O-Bots.” Just the story is reused, the rest of the show is different material. It’s still an entertaining storyline, and gave birth to that awesome Rico the Robot puppet.

Next comes “Still Life with Cookie.” Cookie had a lot of great lines in the episode and it was nice to have Big Bird in it, as it seems he’s not too present this season (even if his appearance in this episode was quite brief). The story seemed like a combination of “Don’t Eat the Pictures” and the song, “If Moon Was Cookie” (the ending portion especially).

“Mi Amiguita Rosita” was a sweet story, another in the season’s Hispanic Heritage sub-curriculum. Rosita’s heritage hasn’t really been touched upon as of late, so this was a great story to teach kids to be proud of who they are and what’s made them the way they are. We got Mando again, who’s proved he’s a great addition already, and several main Muppets. And I’ll admit, I did not see the “Hamazon” joke coming (I totally knew one was coming with the pig delivery man. There had to be one.).

“Leela’s Cell Phone Addiction” was a very funny story, and another example of the show staying current without the use of celebrities or TV/film parodies. Oscar appeared for a good portion of it, and he was perfectly nasty as ever, as well as funny (“There’s nothing more annoying than texting!”). It also had two rather funny characters: Detective Ramone Bone, a dog who finds rhymes instead of the actual object, and Leela’s cell phone-turned-chicken, who’s silly concept became all the more funnier when it vibrated like an actual phone.

“Firefly Show” was another repeated storyline from season 39, but it’s still a quality street story full of great Telly and Baby Bear antics (Telly: “I just had an idea.” Baby Bear: “Hey! I can tell by the cartoonish lightbulb above your head!”).

Finally, we have “Count Tribute,” aka the long-awaited tribute episode to the late Jerry Nelson. And man, it was beautiful. When Telly said, “[The Count]’s taught millions of people how to count! His counting’s made millions of people...happy!,” you knew they meant Jerry, 100%. Plus the line we can all see the meaning behind: “It’s less important to have prizes to count than it is to have friends to count who care about you when you’re not there.” (Followed by a perfect moment of silence). Although only two of his characters appeared in the story (The Count and Two-Headed Monster), it was nice that they put Jerry’s image on the Noble Prize logo. And what was even more beautiful was that Jerry himself voiced the Count during his brief appearance at the end. All in all, a perfect episode and a fitting tribute to one of the best Muppeteers they ever had. One final note, I found it hysterical the world’s second greatest counter was a hand-held calculator in Beijing.

INSERTS

In celebrity-related segments, we got some great ones outside of the usual Word on the Street segments. “ABCs Are Moving You” by Usher was a great, funky number and Romeo Santo’s “Quiero Ser” was a nice number too (both featuring Ryan Dillon as Elmo). J.R. Martinez appeared in a nice short bit with Elmo that talked about his injury in a classic, matter-of-fact way (think back to the other disability-type segments they’ve done). In terms of the Word on the Street segments, Kunal Nayar and Hank Azaria’s were great; Kunal’s for some classic Grover comedy and Hank because, well, he’s funny all on his own. Give him some Sesame characters to impersonate and you’ve struck gold.

Amongst some new films and animations, including a fantastically animated P-food segment, we got the second and final spoof segment of the season (excluding Crumby Pictures): “Homelamb,” which was filled with more sheep-puns than Homeland jokes, so I got a big kick out it. A big surprise was a new game show sketch with Cookie Monster and good ol’ Guy Smiley, which so was reminiscent of the classic game show sketches, if it weren’t in HD, you probably would’ve thought it was old.

We got a new Elmo the Musical (“Repair Monster the Musical”), and I think it may be one of my favorite ones so far. I love the more show-tune numbers they include and this segment was full of them. And it introduced the Great Halfini, who was a masterwork of puppetry design. Also an unexpected new “format” segment was a new Cookie’s Crumby Pictures: “Les Mousserables,” which wasn’t scheduled to air for weeks. It was really entertaining (I can’t get the “Do You Hear the People Sing” spoof out of my head), though I wished there was a “Master of the House” spoof (my favorite song from that musical).

My favorite bit from this portion of episodes was Big Bird’s “That’s Cooperation” song. A totally-classic feeling bit that gave Big Bird some much-needed screen time and a gem of a song to be added to his catalog. The character-based songs and sketches this season are some of the best in years and I hope there’s more to come.

So that covers October in terms of episodes, including what will go down as one of the best in recent memory. Stay tuned when I return soon to cover the next new episodes. See you next time on the street!






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

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