Really good children's television has to be entertaining for viewers of all ages -- if I don't like it, I definitely don't want my kids watching it. The beauty of Sesame Street -- in addition to its efforts to teach preschoolers about math, vocabulary, and other skills -- is that it's hilarious. When I was a kid, I had no idea who the grown-ups were. Now that I'm the mom, I'm cracking up to see everyone from Jack Black to Brian Williams to Andrea Bocelli playing along with the muppets.
In no particular order, here are five of my favorite (recent) Sesame Street segments -- the video quality isn't so great on some, but they're still funny:
- Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser) as the Fairy Shoe Person: If you're a fan of NPH, you must see this. In full Broadway style, the Shoe Fairy tries to find just the right pair of shoes for Telly Monster. I can't summarize. You just have to watch it.
- Tina Fey (not to be confused with Sarah Palin) with the Bookaneers: Tina and her Bookaneers (they're the Pirates of the Care-to-Be-Readin') crash into Elmo and Alan, recruit Elmo to join their crew and follow a treasure map to the library. The clip shown here doesn't give you all the brilliant puns, but it's a start. In case you were wondering, a pirate's favorite letter isn't R -- it's F. Pirates love F-words -- you know, like fish and flugelhorn.
- Will Arnett ("Gob" from Arrested Development) as Max the Magician: A Gob-like magician shows off his tricks to Big Bird, Elmo and the crew. Being clever muppets, they realize he's actually doing math. After watching this episode, Junius spent weeks running into rooms and shouting, "Did somebody say.....MMMMMMMAGIC?!" and then hurling things over his shoulder.
- Pre-School Musical: It's got sass and choreography and sustained notes. It's block corner vs. dress-up corner at the pre-school (problem solved when they realize they can "just take tu-uh-uh-uh-uh-urns"). In short, it rocks. And if you watch the clip, be prepared to sing the song ALL day.
- Texas Telly and the Golden Triangle of Destiny: This clever spoof of Indiana Jones brings in Texas Telly and Minnesota Mel as they search for the golden triangle of destiny. After finding several other golden shapes (and meeting other characters like Virginia Virginia) and avoiding a giant boulder, Telly finally finds his most favorite shape. Sadly, the clip linked here only shows part of the segment, but you get the idea.