5 favorite Sesame Street moments

Nothing snarky to say about it. Happy 40th to a show that I still love.

  1. THAT song


2. Tony Bennett celebrates the worm’s successful moon mission by singing …


3. Ernie finally gets the duckie off his back


4. The death of Mr. Hooper – the most moving and, I think, most important story arc in the show’s 40 years


5. It’s Not Easy Being Green – Sesame Street produces a bonafide jazz classic. (Van Morrison does a great, straight cover of it on his otherwise forgettable album, Hard Knows The Highway – I couldn’t find a video)

If you need to cry even more after the Mr. Hooper segment click here to see Big Bird performing the song at Jim Henson’s memorial.

.5A Anything with Cookie Monster EXCEPT when he starts to eat “healthy” (BRAND BETRAYAL!)


Others: REM singing Furry Happy Monsters (band members do their level best to look serious and happily fail), Jon Stewart hosting the 25th anniversary special, Tim McCarver narrating the worm summer Olympics, the “today’s show was brought to you by the letter __ and the number __” announcement, the Count, and on and on and on.


Linda Lenzen Treiber sent this wonderful note:

Your posts have given me the most wonderful thread back to memories of working with Jim Henson at Disney-MGM Studios. We were producing a "Spring Press Event" when Disney and Sesame Street were better friends, were working collaboratively, and when Jim was alive. I remember sharing a box of tissues with Mr. Henson since both of us had horrible colds and he was pinned inside a small out-of-camera-frame place giving life to Kermit who was fending off Miss Piggy’s amorous attentions. He was a glowing, sweet and gentle man with a wicked sense of humor. I got over my cold, but Mr. Henson did not as he passed very shortly after from pneumonia. The stunned silence in our production trailer upon hearing the news was profound. Big Bird’s musical tribute dusted off the file cabinet in my head where these memories dwell.

Wow, says me.


Top 10 Marketing Blunders of 2008

Yeah, there’s a lot more than 10 here. What can I say? It was a very good year for very bad things.

(PS: If you liked this would you mind going here and voting for it on Digg?)



The John McCain Presidential Campaign

  • “Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
  • Has no idea how many houses he (or his wife) owns.
  • Picks Sara Palin, the Broad to Nowhere who couldn’t find Russia or Africa on a map.
  • Campaign adviser and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina says Palin couldn’t run a major corporation.
  • Campaign adviser and former senator Phil Gramm says Americans are whiners about economic problems.
  • “Shutting down” his campaign to fix the bailout.
  • “Lipstick on a pig”
  • Egregious attack on Dungeons & Dragons that clearly cost him the election. (OK, maybe not so much the last one).


Runners Up

  1. Ford features “Space Oddity” — a song about astronaut suicide — in new car campaign.
  2. Framingham State College  uses the word blah 137 times in a 312-word fundraising letter.
  3. Disney (multiple entries): Bans kids from DisneyWorld restaurant; Changes “It’s A Small World” to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America; and Sells “High School Musical” panties for tween girls with the phrase “Dive In” on them.
  4. Woolworths (UK) launches Lolita brand of beds for young girl
  5. JetBlue lives up to Southwest’s parody ad by charging for pillows.
  6. Russia uses smiling kids in tourism ad for war zone
  7. Residents of Lesbos sue those other lesbians over brand name
  8. Motrin gets headache from viral moms video
  9. Butcher’s ads feature “Meat Products, Fresh Service” on naked woman
  10. Hershey asks if you’ve found Mr. Goodbar

Special Jury Awards

Co-Branding That Shouldn’t Have Been

The Alpha & Omega of Over-reaching

Product Failure

The Penguins Of Irony “Oh NO You Din’t” Awards

Previous years’ lists

Penguin seal

Headline of the Day: “Japan’s baseball stadiums urged to drop octopus”

Won’t the octopi get hurt?

TOKYO (AFP) – Animal rights activists on Tuesday urged Japanese baseball stadiums to give up their usual fare of hot dogs and fried octopus balls and go vegetarian to fight global warming. Japan’s baseball commissioners announced as the season opened last week that the national pastime would take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in particular by speeding up games. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it would be more effective for concession stands to serve exclusively vegetarian fare.

When will PETA start speaking up on behalf of the endangered Tofu?

I would like to commend the Japanese baseball league for making game lengths an environmental issue. I hope MLB follows suit. Anything to speed the games up.

9:29 AM — Manny puts Sox ahead 6-4 in the 10th. They should play more games with a 13 hour time difference. I like watching baseball over breakfast.

CWAnd speaking of Japan & cephalapods: Got to watch the Japanese movie Calamari Wrestler last weekend. BRILLIANT! Plot: A dying pro-wrestler is cured by monks. Only drawback: cure turns him into a squid. He resumes his life as a pro-wrestler. Also resumes his relationship with his girlfriend. There are so many hysterical scenes it is hard to pick a favorite but I especially loved the one where the happy couple are skipping down the street hand-in-tentacle. It has special effects on a par with early Dr. Who and a truly wonderful campy humor. The Times quote on the box sums it up perfectly: “A cross between The Muppets and Godzilla.” Which is also a great idea for the next Muppets movie.

Disney changing It’s A Small World to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America”

There is probably no one Disney ride/attraction I loathe more than “It’s A Small World.”

It brings together all the worst of Disney & theme parks into one package.

In design terms it has a banality and mediocrity that makes it possible to forget these are the same people that brought us Oswald the Rabbit, Pinocchio, the early Mickey Mouse cartoons and a host of other wonderful works of real art.

It also has the problematic racial issues that litter the Mouse’s history: Song of The South, Epcot’s bizarre and historically inaccurate Eurocentric history lessons, an animatronic Native American village — (personally I was hoping Euro Disney would have an animatronic shtetl). In Small World the racial problem becomes that all the people of the earth who are not already Caucasian appear to have undergone a severe loss in melanin. Small World’s many deficiencies are wrapped in a song I can only compare to the aural equivalent of mixing Twinkies & Spam.

Given all this you would think it impossible to make the attraction* any worse. But NOOOOOOOO. In what seems to be a complete violation of Small World’s saccharine “we’re all alike” will now include a nice cuddly display of nationalism.

Mrs. Collateral Damage — aka The Queen of All Disney Media — quotes the following:

And in one of the most egregious and downright disgusting decisions in Disney theme park history, the gorgeous New Guinea rainforest scene, replete with some of Mary Blair’s most whimsical character creations (a crocodile with an umbrella, colorful birds hatching from eggs) and her drummer children with Tiki Masks on the opposite shore will be replaced with a Hooray for U.S.A sequence.

Now don’t get me started on the whole tiki masks thing and the gross condescension towards indigenous peoples — anyone surprised that we don’t get cute caricatures of any Christian religious images?

I really think Disney should go the whole way with this redo and insert a display of gross nationalism for every nation. Then they could have a follow-up ride called “It’s A Small World War.”

BTW, the headline is a quote from one of my favorite Disney attractions: Muppet*vision 3D.

Kermit the Frog: We will also see a rousing finale from Sam the Eagle. What’s it called, Sam?
Sam the Eagle: It’s called “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America”.

*or is it a ride? that’s one of those distinctions that the Disney-centi are very particular about.

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Two things that should NOT go together: The Muppets & Law & Order: SVU

ElmoPDMrs. CollateralDamage reports that the latest DVD set of Law & Order: SVU (y’know, the L&O that focuses on sex crimes and/or crimes against children) includes a 4-minute Sesame Street sketch “Law and Order: Special Letters Unit” as a bonus feature.

Via MuppetNewsflash: Produced for Sesame Street’s 37th season, the sketch features an alphabet parody staring a group of Muppets. Detectives Meloni, Mariska, and Munch search for a missing letter “M.”

Well, one of these things is definitely not like the other.

Also on the Mrs. CollateralDamage front: She is becoming the queen of all Disney alt media. In addition to her Broke Hoedown blog, she has a weekly roll on the MouseGuestWeekly podcast, and a regular column at the site StudioCentrals. Well, in case that wasn’t enough she has also tossed her ears into the ring to become CMO for Disney. In this case that means Chief Magical Officer. It’s a job she is perfectly suited for as it involves two things she already does — spend too much time at Disney parks and make people happy. You can see her very funny video application for the spot here. It’s easily the best jargon-filled PowerPoint presentation ever.

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