basement blog

the sesame street documentary made me cry like a lil bitch

street gang: how we got to sesame street (youtube link to trailer) is a documentary about the creation of sesame street, the biographies of the notable producers and puppeteers, and the emotional strain of working on a television show non-stop and sleeping at the office days at a time. and it's really good how have you not watched this yet?????

the doc is setup in a format where they give N number of minutes to highlight a cast member or someone behind the scenes, focusing on people like Joe Raposo (the composer), Jon Stone (the director/producer), and Jim Henson's (kermit, ernie) and Frank Oz's (bert, fozzie bear) comedy duo. and bunch of other people. each segment is better than the last, and it does an unreal job at depicting how much these people cared about creating something educational and funny at the same time. and not just funny for the kids but just genuinely funny to everyone. the doc will show you some really comedic stuff, then make you tear up, and bring you right back to laughing.

the most unbelievable topic the doc touches on is how this show was created purely because these people were in the right place at the right time. and that's a dumb cliche saying, but seriously - the US government threw so much money at this program that the producers had the runway to do an extraordinary amount of user-testing with small children and really take the time to get in the heads of the audience before anyone even saw the show. they ran studies to test what caught the child's attention the longest, quizzed the child after to see what kind of information was retained, and then when the time came to air, did an absurd amount of community outreach and advertising to solidify these kids knew the show was coming.

the other notable point about the documentary is how the show wasn't made for upper-middle-class white kids. it was made for inner-city kids who had shit education - that's the whole reason sesame street looks like it's filmed on some random block in Brooklyn, and there's a gotdam green monster living in a trash can. and also why you had characters like Gordon, Zoe, and Maria, who were either sharing their cultures or teaching a different language. probably another result of this show being run by a bunch of do-good people in the hippie era. which is a good thing - don't think i'm ragging on this show.

at this point everyone has seen the muppets in some shape or form whether it's through sesame street or not, so i'm sure i don't have to make a giant list of points to sell you on the documentary, but if you're not convinced, i'll leave you with this R-rated muppets camera test - it's hilarious. it's not from the actual documentary, but it's the side of the muppets that the director of street gang was trying to covey:

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