.... Cookie Monster.
December 12, 2022 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Fifty years ago yesterday, Kermit and Joey said the alphabet together.

While Sesame Street has seen many notable alphabet collaborations over the years including Patti Labelle, Bobbi McFerrin, Lena Horne, Ruben Studdard, Usher, Tilly and the Wall and Ray Charles (in collaboration with Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart, Michael Jeter, David Robinson, Ellen Degeneres, Awadagin Pratt, Tony Bennett, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Harry Belafonte, Chris Barron and Lamb Chop?) I believe Kermit and Joey's was the best of them.
posted by mhoye (28 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cookie Monster is my favorite letter in every alphabet and deserves its own symbol in the IPA.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 6:49 PM on December 12, 2022 [22 favorites]


It never fails to impress me how adults and kids alike automatically tune out the puppeteers.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:51 PM on December 12, 2022 [14 favorites]


(Bursts into tears)
posted by aramaic at 7:15 PM on December 12, 2022 [21 favorites]


The way, when Kermit appears annoyed and says "I'm leaving," Joey gets anxious. She was big and boisterous and laughing and then she gets so small and says "I love you." You just know that Jim Henson felt badly and handled it beautifully.
posted by nushustu at 7:28 PM on December 12, 2022 [22 favorites]


Henson was an amazing man, and frog.
posted by The otter lady at 7:33 PM on December 12, 2022 [21 favorites]


"Cookie Monster" is for Cookie Monster Is The Greatest, that's good enough for me

I'm pretty sure that's how the song went.
posted by allegedly at 7:34 PM on December 12, 2022 [4 favorites]


Such perfection
posted by blurker at 7:38 PM on December 12, 2022 [1 favorite]


Little Joey is a little bit older than I am, but I looked slightly like her at a similar age (and definitely had a wardrobe full of striped 70's shirts like the one she is wearing in this clip) so various family members as well as my husband are *quite* familiar with this moment and refer to her as "Little.....41swans." :-)
posted by 41swans at 7:38 PM on December 12, 2022 [4 favorites]


This is just wonderful. Thank you!

(Cookie Monster)
posted by kristi at 7:52 PM on December 12, 2022


🍪🍪🍪🍪🍪
posted by clavdivs at 8:10 PM on December 12, 2022 [2 favorites]


I need to start randomly inserting "Cookie Monster" into my sentences at work. Keep my coworkers on their toes.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:15 PM on December 12, 2022 [8 favorites]


I still cannot get used to seeing (even if it's just the online version of "seeing") so many adults being ... in no way, shape or form less of an audience of these shows than toddlers, the actual target audience.

It seems to be a cultural thing, a US (+/- UK, Canada ... ) thing - or is it just me not being normal again?
posted by Green-eyed grenade at 8:30 PM on December 12, 2022


Eh, it’s reasonable, because one of the many very significant developments of that program (and allied subsequent programs) was in being able to target toddlers without making their parents want to die. Not to say it was the only one, but it was a big one, and long-running, and it never tried to convince you that Smooth Enjoyment was the name Winchester Cigarettes.

…like, I mean literally part of their genius was in being able to bridge that gap so that kids would be mesmerized while the adults could catch a laugh at the implied criticism of, I dunno, John Dean or some such asshole.

My mother was, in a pointless (zero power over the outcome) way, desperately hoping for a few years that the show wouldn’t get canceled before her kids could enjoy it because it was the only kids show she could tolerate for more than a few minutes, as most of the competition was entirely vacuous. Here was a show that she could sit, and watch, with the kids and most importantly interact with the kids about the content without feeling like someone had stuck an ice pick in her brain.

My father is still irrationally agitated by The New Zoo Revue, for example, lo these decades later.

...but that does still tend to require a background same-culture awareness. If you don’t know who Placido Domingo is, you won’t quite get Placido Flamingo even if you nevertheless find him amusing, and I’m quite sure there are still jokes I don’t get, but that’s ok.
posted by aramaic at 9:07 PM on December 12, 2022 [11 favorites]


Little Joey is a little bit older than I am, but I looked slightly like her at a similar age (and definitely had a wardrobe full of striped 70's shirts like the one she is wearing in this clip)

Yeah, she's a bit older than me, too, but she could definitely be cast as little praemunire in the biopic.
posted by praemunire at 9:10 PM on December 12, 2022 [1 favorite]


Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
(C.S. Lewis)
posted by praemunire at 9:14 PM on December 12, 2022 [15 favorites]


My mom has been watching her newest grandchild a lot lately. She threw some modern Sesame Street on cause she knew her kids loved it when we were younger. It didn't draw his attention whatsoever. So she found some 70s/80s Sesame Street and he was hyperfocused on it. Kids aren't different now. Especially under 3. But they were able to make kids care back then that they aren't able to now. It's not the kids. It's how they tell it.
posted by downtohisturtles at 10:02 PM on December 12, 2022 [10 favorites]


The original Sesame Street was designed to take advantage of the fact that preschoolers were already watching a lot of TV, and not necessarily stuff that was specifically made for children, like commercials and the news.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:19 PM on December 12, 2022 [3 favorites]


This was and will always be my favorite Sesame Street sketch.

What really nails it is the little stylized Cookie Monster glyph which appears in place of the letters when Joey calls out his name. It shows that she's not some kid being lectured to, she's a full participant in the sketch, able to summon superimposed letters (or monsters) just like Kermit. Like any member of a good comedic team, she has agency and it makes her quiet "I love you" and Kermit's response that much more sincere.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:08 AM on December 13, 2022 [11 favorites]


We moved to New York in 1974, after the coup in my native Chile. My dad went to Fordham University for his masters, my brother went to P.S. 046 Edgar Allan Poe School, and I stayed at home with my mom for the first year. I spent a lot of time watching Sesame Street. A lot.
At the end of the year, I started going to school as well. I came back after one week speaking English.
It wasn't the school, it was Sesame Street.
So this video, and all of that era, feels like home to me in a way not a lot of things do.
posted by signal at 5:25 AM on December 13, 2022 [29 favorites]


I absolutely love this bit with Joey, for all the reasons stated above. Kermit is the best.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, gets me in the feels like John John counting to 20 with Herry Monster (watch all the way to the end for a surprise).
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:22 AM on December 13, 2022 [33 favorites]


The original Sesame Street was designed to take advantage of the fact that preschoolers were already watching a lot of TV, and not necessarily stuff that was specifically made for children, like commercials and the news.

Merging advertising techniques with educational content was the secret formula of Sesame Street. Henson had a sharpened set of tools when it came to presenting things quickly, clearly, and with visual interest.

All those coffee commercials paid off.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:38 AM on December 13, 2022 [4 favorites]


If you haven't already, and if you have access to HBOMax (or you know, even if you don't), please watch Street Gang. It goes into how Sesame Street was created, and how they tested it with little kids to make it what it was (and not, sadly, what it is now).
posted by tzikeh at 8:59 AM on December 13, 2022 [6 favorites]


It's Kermit's little "aww" when she kisses him that gets me every time.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 11:19 AM on December 13, 2022 [3 favorites]


But nothing, and I mean nothing, gets me in the feels like John John counting to 20 with Herry Monster (watch all the way to the end for a surprise).

posted by Ben Trismegistus at 10:22 AM on December 13


AH MAI GAWD SQUEEEEEEEEEEEAAAALLLL!!!
posted by magstheaxe at 12:26 PM on December 13, 2022 [1 favorite]


It never fails to impress me how adults and kids alike automatically tune out the puppeteers.

That's down to the Muppeteers' skills. I have interacted with a Muppet - it was Herry being performed by Jerry Nelson when they did a museum/seminar tour in the mid-2000s - and like everybody else I completely tuned out everybody but the Muppet, because Nelson, like all of them, was perfect at having Herry make "eye contact," and by that I don't mean just making sure that Herry was making eye contact with me - which he was - but also incorporating a lot of small movements we would recognize as human in the way when, we make eye contact, we also micro-look at other elements of the other person's face. It was unbelievable to experience.
posted by mightygodking at 1:59 PM on December 13, 2022 [7 favorites]


OMG. I just burst out laughing and then started crying. It's been a rough couple days for me. But this was very much appreciated.

When I put on videos for the kids at work, I never use modern Sesame Street. It's classics all the way. The new ones grate on me like Barney did. And I refuse to acknowledge that Cocomelon exists because it's worse than Barney in my book (and that's saying a lot).
posted by kathrynm at 5:42 PM on December 13, 2022


But nothing, and I mean nothing, gets me in the feels like John John counting to 20 with Herry Monster

Hey fuck you I didn't ask to feel anything today.
posted by tzikeh at 7:05 AM on December 14, 2022 [3 favorites]


As soon as I saw the title, I remembered the sketch - I even remembered exactly where she put each Cookie Monster in the alphabet. I think I may even have sung the song that way to my kid from time to time. Some of those early ones just stayed in my head ("Do you know what a square is? I know WHO a square is!"). The old Sesame Streets were better than the ones now partly because they weren't polished. Everything now feels shiny and focus-grouped. Henson understood (responsible) anarchy. There's so little programming with that left anywhere, and certainly not aimed at toddlers - at least not that I've seen.

My father is still irrationally agitated by The New Zoo Revue, for example, lo these decades later.

With Doug.. And Emmy Joe... WOW I hated them. There aren't enough words. Regards to your father.
posted by Mchelly at 6:09 AM on December 18, 2022 [1 favorite]


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