What a difference a day makes.
On Thursday I felt slightly annoyed with Steve Whitmire, when I read that he was retiring as Kermit the Frog’s puppeteer after 27 years. I remember at the time that I was astounded by how someone else could take over after Jim Henson. I mean that they could sound pretty much the same; not that someone else needed to do the job.
But I thought that it might be tiring to do voices every day, year after year. And that Steve had something else he wanted to do. It’s a ‘free’ country, after all.
And on Friday I learned that he’s been fired, and that he’d very much like to remain as Kermit.
I know, it can be hard to know who’s right and who’s being economical with the truth, but a man who has kept quiet about his fate for nine months, and who refrained from screaming and shouting in his blog post about what had happened, strikes me as the likeliest injured party.
After all, it can’t be easy going up against Disney.
As the Guardian points out, Steve is the only one many fans know as Kermit. I’m old enough to have been there when it was Jim Henson, but I too have watched a lot of Steve’s Kermit.
I expect his successor will do a good job, as it’s unlikely they would pick someone who was rubbish at it, and they can’t really kill Kermit off. But still. I’d have liked to see and hear Steve reach retirement as our beloved frog. Then I’d be happy about him being replaced.
I do miss Sesame Street. We used to watch every lunchtime; me in the corner of the Klippan sofa, lunch balanced on the armrest (I think it only fell off once or twice), Daughter on my lap and Son nestled next to me.
Presumably we moved away from it gradually, or school got in the way. I can’t recall. And when I woke up missing it, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I have been thinking about Sesame Street on and off over the years, trying to convince myself I’m too old for it. That I don’t need it.
But when I read about their new autistic character, I was seized by a strong wish to start watching again. This time I researched a bit more. And it is on, but only on some pay channel I’d never heard of and that I can’t get. I mean, I suppose I can, but we don’t believe in paying for parcels of programmes that will rarely if ever be watched.
So I’m feeling a bit disappointed, to be honest.
I’m wondering, too, how it ended up on a pay channel. Is it because it is so valuable that you must pay, like for new movies and sports events, or is it because it’s so uninteresting that none of the regular channels could be bothered? Had a quick look at a typical day on CBBC and it was dire. I used to enjoy watching after school. Not everything, but quite a lot, and would have to drag myself off to cook dinner. Mornings were also good, but I could rarely fit in more than a minute here and there as we were getting ready to leave the house.
Whereas I’d actually sit down for Sesame Street. ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ…
Unsolicited books get shorter shrift than the ones I ask for. But there can be real gems, that I didn’t even know I wanted. This is one such occasion. There is a pop-up book out to celebrate that Sesame Street is forty years old.
Generally I am more of a C is for cookie kind of person. Offspring and I watched Sesame Street with our lunch for years, and then out of necessity we had to stop. I wouldn’t mind watching it again, but I get the impression it’s no longer on in Britain. Why not?
A Walk Down Sesame Street is some consolation. Elmo walks round, meeting some of the regulars, and doing a little educating as he meets and greets. Good Elmo! There are even pull-thingies to make Grover fly and Cookie stir his cookie mixture. Big Bird is really an awfully big Big Bird.
Ernie has put down his duckie, believe it or not, and Oscar and his trashcan are very much in-your-face, popping out. If only they knew of the agony suffered at witch headquarters over the elephants Oscar keeps. I thought we were heading for a major bin phobia at one point.
As Daughter walked in through the door after college, she jumped on this book. Maybe 17 isn’t too old for pop-ups after all? She made Elmo dance, which was something I had missed.
Oh, now I want to get out all my Sesame Street videos again and watch…
The bookwitch household is not known for its tantalising social life. We are, quite frankly, very boring.
One New Year’s Eve, I think thirteen years ago, I recorded a Sesame Street New Year special, which for some reason was broadcast in the middle of the day. This was at a time when Son and Daughter and I watched Sesame Street religiously, every weekday with our lunch. I thought it was a lovely programme, so kept the video (fairly illegal, I believe), and most New Year’s Eves we watch it. I even try to time the start so we can have twelve o’clock coincide with the ball falling off Wolfgang’s nose.
So, that’s what we’ve just done, for the umpteenth time. Being a Cookie Monster fan, I love it when he eats the credits.
Hope we will all have a good 2008!