Sesame Street was devised as a safe place where children could learn and play. Educational psychologists spent months perfecting a TV programme that children would watch and engage with, unlike cartoons. I especially like the fact that someone invented a device called The Distractor. These days, Sesame Street has gone, cap in hand, to MSNBC and McDonalds, because apparently Americans find publicly funded TV a bit communist for their liking.
For a while, the thought that, while they had Big Bird, they didn’t have Kermit,was a sort of consolation. Jim Henson’s vision to change television from an electrical babysitter to a useful tool and toy for children, has been ended by both his death and the wish by his beneficiaries to exploit his creations for as much cash as possible. Disney is an enormous company, driven like all enormous companies to make profits for its shareholders. Enchanting children is useful only in as much as the enchantment charms money out of their parents’ pockets.
The Muppet Show was clever and funny: a children’s programme that adults enjoyed watching. I don’t know if Disney will bother taking the risks that Henson did with the Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock: I anticipate saccharine, sanitised versions of the originals coming soon.