When I learned that Sesame Street was turning forty, my reactions were roughly as follows:
- I love Sesame Street!
- Holy crap, I’ve only been alive for half of that and I still feel old.
- I’ve got to clack about this.
And then, of course, I went about doing so. But it’s a bit more complicated than that. Because when you write about Sesame Street, it’s not like writing about your average show. Sesame Street is more than a show, it’s an institution. It’s a universal that almost everyone I know watches and relates to. It’s something I still enjoy watching with the kids I babysit (more than they enjoy watching it, usually). It’s a visual representation of my childhood, and not just mine, but multiple generations worth of kids. It’s such a big deal that Newsweek had a great article exploring the cultural impact of Sesame Street, about its dedication to sending messages of peace and acceptance to children, about how for forty years they have faithfully depicted people of all races, ethnicities, and religions playing and living together as a peaceful community, and how groundbreaking that was to see, especially on a children’s show in 1969.