happy birthday, sesame street!

If you picked up the Record’s TV Guide last Friday, you saw the perfect lede for a story commemorating Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary today:

The world is divided into two types of people. Those who grew up on Sesame Street, and those who didn’t.

I did.

it's always sunshine and flowers at sesame street. that's the way we like it.

it's always sunshine and flowers at sesame street. that's the way we like it.

Sesame Street taught me everything a 5-year-old needed to know. Numbers, letters, imagination, and most importantly, humor. It was the first place I heard jokes, and I studied how the puppets told them so that I would be as funny as they would. Yeah, that never worked.

But in a way, Sesame Street is the father of Pixar. It’s decidedly for children, but there is also spots of adult humor, just clean adult humor. There are jokes clearly above the head of a 5-year-old done witha wink and smile as a nod to the adults who are forced in front of the TV if they want to spend time with their kids while they watch. I’ve been having a week of Sesame Street flashbacks every time I clicked on Google, remembering what a funny show it was.

Forget about just the humor — Sesame Street now has taught a couple generations of kids their ABCs, numbers and even foreign languages. Before I went into kindergarten, I could count to 10 in Spanish because of Sesame Street. It remains the only piece of any foreign language I can speak. It immersed children in education so that they learned without even knowing it. It taught kids that everyone could live together pretty easily, and the theme song was the first thing I remember being able to sing and it taught kids that all people could live together.

How could you not be happy after hearing that song? HOW????

Sesame Street is best watched with parents to reinforce the learning, but even if they aren’t there to reinforce it, the kids are still learning anyway. Its reach was far beyond simple afternoon education, though. Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, the 1978 Christmas special, was required viewing in the Sadowski household to the point where we had to leave my grandmother’s house in time to get home to see it every year. When I finally read Gift of the Magi, my first thought was, “Hey, they’re stealing from Sesame Street! This is what Bert and Ernie did!” That’s how much Sesame Street influenced my life.

And if the daily Sesame Street fix was only semi-kinda-maybe for adults, then Follow That Bird was their reward for years of putting up with their kids’ obsession for the show. Even though it’s still a kids movie, there are at least a half-dozen quotable lines that still hold up, from Big Bird’s scenes with the Dodos to Sandra Bernhard’s hysterical cameo as a waitress in a Grouch diner.

For as entertaining as it always was, Sesame Street, first and foremost, was always about learning. And grown-up kids like me owe Sesame Street a debt of gratitude for helping the learning process and to all the celebrity guest stars who usually made themselves look like fools in the name of learning.

So thanks, Sesame Street. I’m sure I’ll thank you again when Sesame Street teaches my daughter.

works for me.

works for me.

You’re asking yourself — how could anything top Sesame Street? The only answer possible is “Rachel McAdams as the Black Cat in Spider-Man 4.” Only rumor at this point, but it’s casting genius and a perfect time to infest the next one with a little love competition for Mary Jane just in case Kirsten Dunst doesn’t want to come back for any future Spider-Mans. Saw State of Play this weekend — very good movie overall, but really lacking in some major journalistic standpoints — and McAdams is quickly becoming one of the most reliable actresses to kick some acting tail when you need it done right. She’s never seemed to explore her sexual side even though she’s got everything where it needs to be, so turning into Black Cat and her skin-tight black leather outfit will check that one off the list. Great casting all around, if it happens.

Some changes coming in the local news — WOLF Fox 56 won’t be broadcasting the 10 p.m. news starting Jan. 1, 2010. The WNEP 16-produced newscast is moving to 16’s new sister station, WNEP2, available at Blue Ridge Cable Channel 113. No word on what Fox will be putting on at that time, but since it doesn’t have a news department, you can safely rule out the station starting its own 10 p.m. news show. Probably another Seinfeld rerun, which is fine by me. Also, you may have noticed 10 p.m. newshost Paola Giangiacomo getting a little, umm, bigger. She’s pregnant, and she’s going on maternity leave starting with the switch and former morning hist Kim Supon will be taking over the seat. (UPDATE: Just found this out, the local stations sometimes forget that we exist out here. WBRE will be taking over the production of WOLF’s 10 p.m. news and will be expanding it to an hour. There will be a full story in tomorrow’s Pocono Record.)

This is easily the best news you’ll hear all day about a little-known Korean movie, Will Smith and Steven Spielberg. Easily. Old Boy is a movie that would not have translated to the mass American audience because the shocking, disgusting and unnerving ending would have had to have been changed and that would have been a crime. The ending is what made the rest of the movie make sense. Am I talking too much about an ending without giving it away? Good. Put it in your Netflix queue and have it delivered today. Not tomorrow, not next week, TODAY. Thank me later.

It’s not technically a cancellation — consider it forced retirement. ABC is dropping the witch dramedy Eastwick from its schedule, and not a second too soon. They were going for female viewers, we all know that. But you have to give guys something to be interested in or you might as well just not even go into production.

Great news for Mad Men — it’s going to be around for a while thanks to great ratings. Nothing could make lovers of great TV happier. Hey, one final note from Sunday’s finale that I didn’t think of until I heard it was on someone’s Facebook page  yesterday concerning Betty. Her final scene, she’s sitting on a plane next to her future husband, probably close to twice her age with a baby on her lap named after a father she claims not to even like that much. Daddy issues anyone? I didn’t realize it until I thought about it, but her behavior this season screams of someone craving approval from a father that ignored her.

So it looks like that’s it. I’ll officially have to stop my pursuit of Kelly Kapowski. It was a nice run of 15 years though. Hey, we’ll always have The Max and our song, A-12. Wait, was that someone else?

Wow. Of the 100 best movies of the decade — at least according to this list— I’ve only seen 54 all the way through. I feel like I’ve let everyone down. But it’s a list from a British person, what do they know? I’ll wait til Entertainment Weekly or the AV Club does their lists. Plus, I don’t even come close to agreeing with ther rankings. Team America is the only thing in their top 10 I’d even consider for a second putting in my top 10. Any list that doesn’t include Napoleon Dynamite is no list I want to be a part of.

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