'Sesame Street': Katy Perry's cleavage, 'True Blood' and other questionable moments in Muppet history
It may seem that everyone's favorite Muppet show is angling for an older audience with the two new videos recently released online.
In the first, an amply endowed Katy Perry chases Elmo around asking, "Don't you want to play?" In the second video, the Muppets parody HBO's steamy southern soap opera "True Blood," replacing vampires with Grouches in a skit called "True Mud." "Sesame Street" has pulled Perry's song from the show after "feedback" received, but this is not the first controversy involving the storied children's program.
In fact, the first five years of the show are considered "adult only" material, with a prominent warning on the 2007 DVD release: "These early 'Sesame Street' episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child."
The more scandalous scenes include "Monsterpiece Theater" skits with Cookie Monster eating a pipe and Oscar the Grouch being too, well, grouchy. Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer of "Sesame Street," told the New York Times in 2007, "We might not be able to create a character like Oscar now."
Then there has been the long-standing debate about two male Muppets who make a home together. Are Ernie and Bert lovers, friends, enemies? In 1994, the Rev. Joseph Chambers thought they were definitely more than just friends and called for their banishment from the show. The show issued a response: "Bert and Ernie, who've been on Sesame Street for 25 years, do not portray a gay couple, and there are no plans for them to do so in the future," but speculation remains high.
The show airs in 120 countries, most with characters suited to the country's traditions. For example, the Israeli "Sesame Street" has an Arab character that, at first caused some consternation, but has become a popular part of the show. One of the most scandalous international stars, however, has to be Kami, the South African Muppet who is HIV-positive. Republican congressmen Billy Tauzin, Chip Pickering, Fred Upton, Joe Barton, Richard Burr and Cliff Stearns warned PBS not to introduce similar characters to the U.S. show, suggesting that Congress could withhold funding.
Last, but not least, conservative viewers and Fox News became upset when the show seemed to mock the television network by having an irate Muppet insist she would watch only "Pox News" from now on.
Did we miss any scandalous "Sesame Street" scenes?
| September 23, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
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