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What if Sesame Street looked something like this? is a theory of if Sesame Street kept producing 130 episodes in a season. 

History

Following an initial proposal by Joan Ganz Cooney in 1966, titled "Television for Preschool Children," an eighteen month planning period was set aside, and with a grant of 8 million dollars from multiple government agencies and foundations, the proposed series would test the usefulness of the television medium in providing early education for young children. Apart from Cooney and the original planning crew included several veterans of Captain Kangaroo, such as executive producer David Connell, producer Samuel Y. Gibbon, Jr., and writer/songwriter Jeff Moss, as well as head writer Jon Stone, and producer/writer Matt Robinson (who later originated the role of Gordon). At Cooney's suggestion, Jim Henson and the Muppets were brought in, and composer Joe Raposofollowed. The CTW research crew included Harvard professor Gerald S. Lesser as head of the board of advisors and Edward L. Palmer as director of research, tracking and observing how child audiences responded to the programming.

Though the earliest pilot episodes involved dramatizing the inner thoughts of child actors in a studio set, Jon Stone suggested a more urban setting, "a real inner city street," with an integrated cast of neighbors. The original human inhabitants were BobMr. Hooper, Gordon, and Susan, and they dominated the street storylines which made up roughly 25 percent of the hour-long show. To maintain the realism of the street, the Muppets were kept separate; thus, Ernie and Bert, while they lived on the street, resided in a basement apartment. These framing scenes would surround segments of animation, live-action shorts, and Muppets. These sketches, in particular the short animated segments stressing letters and numbers, were intended to function on a similar level to advertising commercials (and indeed, the bits were often labeled as such, i.e. "the Jcommercial", and during the earliest seasons it was common for letter or number films and cartoons to be shown multiple times in the same episode). They were quick, catchy and memorable, so as to convey information and maintain the interest of preschool children within their limited attention spans.

CTW aired the program for test groups to determine if the new format was likely to succeed. Results showed that the elements which best held audience attention included cartoon segments, the Muppets, filmed footage of animals in motion, or musical skits with Susan or other human cast members. When the action stopped in the street scenes, and the adults engaged in lengthy dialogue, children stopped watching. Based on these results, and despite concerns from advising psychologists, that the inner-city street overlooked the real problems of the ghetto and needed firmer roots, the mixture of reality and fantasy was deepened, as Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird became permanent street residents, interacting with the human adults.

Sesame Street is all filmed in New York City (as was another CTW show, The Electric Company). Originally they were taped at Teletape Studios in Manhattan, but since Sesame'twenty-fifth season (when the street expanded around the corner and needed more space), the show has been filmed at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in neighboring Queens.

Overview

Sesame Street uses a combination of puppets, animation, and live actors to teach young children the fundamentals of reading (letter and word recognition) and arithmetic (numbers, addition and subtraction), as well as geometric forms, cognitive processes, and classification. Since the show's inception, other instructional goals have focused on basic life skills, such as how to cross the road safely and the importance of proper hygiene and healthy eating habits.

There is also a subtle sense of humor on the show that has appealed to older viewers since it first premiered, and was devised as a means to encourage parents and older siblings to watch the series with younger children, and thus become more involved in the learning process rather than letting Sesame Street act as a babysitter. A number of parodies of popular culture appear, even ones aimed at the Public Broadcasting Service, the network that broadcasts the show. For example, the recurring segment Monsterpiece Theater once ran a sketch called "Me Claudius." Children viewing the show might enjoy watching Cookie Monster and the Muppets, while adults watching the same sequence may enjoy the spoof of the Masterpiece Theater production of I, Claudius on PBS.

Several of the character names used on the program are puns or cultural references aimed at a slightly older audience, including Flo Bear (Flaubert), Sherlock Hemlock(a Sherlock Holmes parody), and H. Ross Parrot (a parody of Reform Party founder H. Ross Perot). Over 200 notable personalities have made guest appearances on the show, beginning with James Earl Jones, and ranging from performers like Stevie Wonder to political figures such as Kofi Annan. By making a show that not only educates and entertains kids, but also keeps parents entertained and involved in the educational process, the producers hope to inspire discussion about the concepts on the show. 

Seasons

  • Season 1
  • Season 2
  • Season 3
  • Season 4
  • Season 5
  • Season 6
  • Season 7
  • Season 8
  • Season 9
  • Season 10
  • Season 11
  • Season 12
  • Season 13
  • Season 14
  • Season 15
  • Season 16
  • Season 17
  • Season 18
  • Season 19
  • Season 20
  • Season 21
  • Season 22
  • Season 23
  • Season 24
  • Season 25
  • Season 26
  • Season 27
  • Season 28
  • Season 29
  • Season 30 (1998-1999)
  • Season 31 (1999-2000)
  • Season 32 (2000-2001)
  • Season 33 (2001-2002)
  • Season 34 (2002-2003)
  • Season 35 (2003-2004)
  • Season 36 (2004-2005)
  • Season 37 (2005-2006)
  • Season 38 (2006-2007)
  • Season 39 (2007-2008)
  • Season 40 (2008-2009)
  • Season 41 (2009-2010)
  • Season 42 (2010-2011)
  • Season 43 (2011-2012)
  • Season 44 (2012-2013)
  • Season 45 (2013-2014)
  • Season 46 (2014-2015)
  • Season 47 (2015-2016)

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