Getting to ‘Sesame Street’ in 2022

Illustration by

Emma Kogel

Illustration by

Ben Kane, Contributing Writer

Can you tell me how to get to“Sesame Street?”

For most millennials this question is simple to answer, but what about for the members of Generation Z? Have the millennials just outgrown the famous kid’s television show, or has it slowly lost popularity and traction over the years?

Premiering in 1969, the  premise of “Sesame Street,” per the show’s website, was to produce a TV show that was both fun to watch and also educational. The show started with only a few regularly appearing characters: Bob, Gordon, Susan, Mr. Hooper and two of the most famous Muppets ever, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

As a kid, I watched the the show each and every day. Characters like Cookie Monster and Ernie were the reason I kept going back to PBS every morning before school.

It wasn’t until 1984 that the show’s most iconic character was introduced — Elmo. Not only did he become a star on the screen, but off it as well. From stuffed animals to toys and even as a character to meet in an amusement park, everyone, including me, loved Elmo.

Now in its 52nd season, “Sesame Street” can be streamed on HBO Max when new episodes are released and on the station where it began, PBS, but only after a nine-month delay, according to PBS NewsHour.

HBO Max has been under fire lately after Variety reported they were removing over 200 episodes from the show’s catalog, the show but “Sesame Street” is still going strong.

I think the biggest reason for the show’s success is how it has constantly shifted with the times. In 2001, “Sesame Street” episodes helped children cope with the 9/11 terrorist attacks by showing coping mechanisms for fear and loss.

In 2017, the show helped children understand autism on a better level with the help of Julia, the first ever Muppet with the disorder.

Even the episodes from 2020 focused on helping children better understand racial justice issues in the world by creating a new focus on anti-racism and racial justice throughout its show.

Now more than ever, it is important to educate children on what’s really going on in the world. While yes it’s hard to find the perfect language to use with kids when discussing issues like these, “Sesame Street” provides education.

The use of fun bright characters and songs deliver these messages to kids in a way that they are able to comprehend and remember for a long time. While it’s hard to really remember lots of specific moments as a kid, I do remember the times I spent in the “Sesame Street” amusement park, or singing the “Rubber Ducky” song, or even just crying in the toy store because I wanted the newest Elmo toy.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve not only grown to appreciate how much of an impact it’s had on my childhood, but how important it could be for future generations.

Learning at a young age what’s really going on in the world can be absolutely vital.

Even just at a microscopic level, I remember always being so excited to go to school and do math and sing the alphabet song because I learned that from “Sesame Street.”

The show made me excited to constantly learn and grow my brain, and I guess I never really understood that until now. The decline in viewership of the show should not speak for just how important it really is to the development of children. Tackling modern-day issues and making them digestible for children is exactly what the show was centered around.

Since 1969, it has continued to do exactly what it sought out to do. So for me, I think the answer is pretty easy. I can tell you exactly how I got to “Sesame Street.”