Over the years, Sesame Street has probably taught more kids with creativity and entertainment than almost any school. And the treasured PBS show has been doing it for generations, with Sesame Street soon to start its 45th season with the theme of helping kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. This season, kids and parents can expect new installments of the wildly popular “Cookie’s Crumby Pictures,” new “Elmo the Musical” and, as always, new hilarious spoofs, and celebrity appearances. I have to admit it — it’s fun for adults too.
Celebrities set to visit the Street this year include One Direction, Lupita Nyong’O, Ed Sheeran, Macklemore, Jonah Hill, Emily Blunt, Sir Ian McKellen, Mindy Kaling, First Lady Michelle Obama, and many more.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization, will launch Sesame Street’s 45th anniversary season on PBS KIDS September 15th. Plus, there’s a new bonus half-hour program that will air on weekday afternoons and weekend mornings, complementing the regular weekday one-hour series.
Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, spoke with pride at the Television Critics Association’s press tour about the impact of Sesame Street and PBS KIDS programming. “We help kids and families prepare for success in school. Looking at our kids’ service, our kids’ programming is focused specifically on learning opportunities. We are very focused, particularly in the pre-K space, in making sure that kids, who may live in homes without computers or may live in homes without books, have access to content that will give them a leg up when they enter school. Many kids in this country are not enrolled in official pre-K programs, so we are part of a national discussion about the importance of early learning and giving kids foundational skills for them to be successful in school and in life.”
The programs fill big gaps in education, and Kerger explained that they also offer help with “the social/emotional skills that kids need to really be able to manage and cope in classrooms. I don’t see anyone else, even in the kids’ space, with as many players as there are now, as relentlessly focused on the whole child curriculum.”
But there’s a lot of fun involved too, and Season 45 of Sesame Street promises to be the most danceable, the most musical, and the most high-energy season yet. The dancing and musical fun will be part of the new interactive breaks built into the show that encourages kids to get moving while they learn the letter and the number of the day. Preschoolers will be grooving to new original songs “The Power of Yet,” sung by Janelle Monáe, and “Two Different Worlds,” sung by Ed Sheeran; spoofs of popular songs sung by One Direction – “What Makes ‘U’ Useful,” and Macklemore – “Thrift Shop;” and remakes of classic Sesame Street songs will be sung by Michael Bublé and Taye Diggs.
Sesame Street is often filled with hysterical moments for both children and the big kids that watch it. The spoofs for this season include: “House of Bricks” (lampooning House of Cards) where the Big Bad Wolf blows down and subtracts the Three Little Pigs’ houses until there’s only one left — the White Brick House. In “Game of Chairs” (Game of Thrones sendup), Grover competes to be king or queen by playing a suspenseful game of musical chairs. Of course the satires will keep parents and caregivers entertained as kids are also engaged and learning.
In “Numeric Con,” a Comic Con-like number convention, with number-inspired superheroes like Fiverine, The Dark Nine, Doctor Two, Cap-ten Kirk and many more, comes to Sesame Street and Elmo helps solve problems using math. In “Friendship Day,” Zoe learns to be careful with the words she uses after hurting Elmo’s feelings. In “Whose Nest Is It Anyway,” Chris encourages Big Bird to speak up and express how he feels when another bird takes his nest.
Sesame Street shows there are lessons to be learned for kids of all ages.