Kids' Shows Used To Be So Grown Up

In this Monsterpiece Theater classic, two monsters stand on a barren plain near a tree. What are they doing? Waiting for Elmo.

I love the bitter cackle Grover makes as he discusses how happy! they will be when Elmo comes to play with them. Ha! Ha! Ha! You can almost hear his little monster heart breaking. Telly voices the unthinkable: “But what if we wait here all day, and he never shows up?” Ah, existentialism.

What’s striking about this piece is how adult it is. The skit doesn’t even flash kids any numbers or simple words to learn — it’s an extended in-joke about a play no 4-year-old would even recognize. The makers of Sesame St. were clearly thinking of the grown-ups who would inevitably get stuck watching their programming; the content is presented in a kid-friendly way that neither dumbs it down for the principal audience, nor infuriates those over 4′ tall. It seems downright unfair that children’s programming could have backslid so far on both counts in the years since this clip was made.

Sesame St. – Monsterpiece Theater “Waiting for Elmo” [YouTube]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin