Muppetology 101: Intro to Sesame Segments, Part 3

Muppetology

Michael Wermuth – Here, finally, is the third and final installment of my Sesame Street recurring series lectures.

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The Spanish Word of the Day – debuted season 33
The only daily segment from season 33 to not feature the same character in each segment, The Spanish Word of the Day has characters telling us what the Spanish word is, and showing us the English equivalent. Common hosts include Rosita, Maria, Gabbi, and Professor Grover.

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Journey to Ernie – debuted season 33
Journey to Ernie involves Big Bird looking for Ernie in a computer-animated world. For its first season, Ernie would hide in a box, which there would be multiples of, and Big Bird had to find the right box, in such locations as a circus, the stone age, and a disco. If Ernie wasn’t in the box, a film or animation insert would be shown, and if he was in that box, it would lead to an Ernie segment. A year after the segments debut, it was retooled considerably. Finding Ernie still led to an Ernie segment, but now the whole game was featured uninterrupted by other segments. Ernie no longer hid in a box, there’d be a daily cameo by the Two-Headed Monster (unable to provide Big Bird with a helpful answer on which way to go to find Ernie), and each segment would end with a special song sung by Big Bird and Ernie. Matt Vogel performed Big Bird in all of these sketches.

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Global Grover – debuted season 34
Global Grover involves Grover traveling around the world and showing us what various countries are like. Grover has traveled to such places as Alaska, Australia, France, and Mexico. Some locations were visited multiple times, and many segments include an existing film segment in the middle.

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The Adventures of Trash Gordon – debuted season 35
Each segment had Oscar reading a chapter (each of a very high number, and never in order) of The Adventures of Trash Gordon to Slimey before bed. The stories starred Gordon in the role of Trash Gordon, a hero who has traveled to such planets as Planet Surprise and Planet Spaghetti, and after finishing a mission, would end his adventures by announcing the shows sponsors.

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What’s the Word on the Street?/Word of the Day – debuted season 38
What’s the Word on the Street? Is hosted by Murray Monster and serves as a cold open to the show, in which he asks what the word on the street is, and real people provide the answer and tell Murray what it means. The word on the street always has something to do with the street story, which is then followed by a “Word of the Day” explanation by a celebrity guest, ranging from Mila Kunis to Neil Patrick Harris to Robin Williams.

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Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures – debuted season 39
A claymation series featuring Bert and Ernie has everyone’s favorite duo going on a number of imaginative adventures. The two have appeared as detectives, wizards, cavemen, pirates, and Muskateers (actually, Duckieteers).

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Murray Has a Little Lamb – debuted season 39
In these segments, Murray is joined by his Spanish-speaking pet lamb, Ovejita, who takes Murray to a different school in each installment. Originally, the segments began with a guessing game portion in which Murray has to guess from clues what kind of school they’re visiting, and then they spend some time at that school. In season 40, the guessing game portion was dropped (and the beginning to existing segments were replaced with new footage). In season 44, segments (including existing ones) were shown in multiple parts throughout the show.

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Abby’s Flying Fairy School – debuted season 40
Abby’s Flying Fairy School is a computer-animated segment in which Abby Cadabby attends fairy school with her friends Gonnigan and Blogg, the school hamster Nibblet, and their teacher Mrs. Sparklenose. The students go on a number of challenges, many of which involve classic fairy tales, such as “The Cinderella Challenge” and “The Pinocchio Challenge”.

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Super Grover 2.0 – debuted season 41
Super Grover 2.0 stars an upgraded Super Grover, as he has more superhero gear. Like the classic segments, he often solves problems for others and does ridiculous things to help but is oblivious when they figure it out on their own (thinking he’s responsible), though unlike in the classic segments, the characters he helps seem to see him as a true hero (as opposed to them not showing much excitement when Super Grover shows up to save the day). Super Grover 2.0 has attempted to help penguins move an ice block out of the way, a bird get his piano into his nest, a mouse waiter get a wedge of cheese past a closed door, and a cactus find a ball to play with without popping it.

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Elmo the Musical – debuted season 43
Replacing the long-running Elmo’s World, Elmo the Musical stars Elmo in a number of musicals, joined by a talking curtain named Velvet. Musicals include Nacho the Musical, President the Musical, Pizza the Musical, and Athlete the Musical.

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Cookie’s Crumby Pictures – debuted season 44
Cookie’s Crumby Pictures is a series of movie parodies starring Cookie Monster. More accurately, they appear in the form of movie trailers. Perhaps to make up for not actually starring in (most of) the Monsterpiece Theater segments, Cookie Monster takes on roles in such films as “Star S’mores”, “The Wizard of Cookies”, “Twillight: Breaking Cookie”, “The Biscotti Kid”, and “The Hungry Games”.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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