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Continuing with the theme of my formative years and things I genuinely loved and still feel happy about. Trust me, we'll get back to the nastiness and betrayal soon enough.

The Electric Company

Sesame Street

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

I'm obviously from the first generation that really got the benefit of mandated educational television and The Children's Television workshop. Sesame Street did not "teach me how to read." I come from a typical East Coast, Jewish, intellectual family. I ALWAYS read. I read Steal This Book from my parent's bookshelves and tried to take over the Kindergarten. BUT I watched Sesame Street every day in the early 70's and it MIGHT have helped me count cakes. I did love Kermit, always! Which kind of made me hate Grover when he would come up and go HEYYYYYYY FROGGGGGGY and slap Kermit on the back. I thought that must hurt a lot. I like the pop culture references that I'm sure of most of the kids didn't get. I might have had a crush on Guy Smiley. However, SS always had a sentimental streak which even then was an anathema. I liked Oscar the Grouch, but never liked Big Bird. The Snuffleupagus stuff made me sick to my stomach, both because the character was annoying and the whole idea of not being believed was truly disturbing. Luckily my SS days were way before Elmo showed up. YUCK.

While Johnny Carson is the most soothing remembered voice from my TV childhood, Mr. Rogers comes close. Remember, I started watching before the jokes and post-ironic imitations. I took Fred very seriously when he said, I was special just for being me. And I related to Henrietta Pussycat. A lot. Probably the last time I was a cat person rather than a dog person. I FUCKING HATED LADY ELAINE FAIRCHILD! What a bitch! I may have shipped Mr. Rogers and Lady Aberline though.

I went back to Mr. Rogers during some of the worst throes of what my adolescent drama-queen self perceived as a miserable adolescence. By then the mockery had started, but I still found Mr. Rogers incredibly reassuring, and maybe sexy in a kinky, messed up, father figure kind of way.

Couldn't tolerate most of Make Believe stuff by then...Aside from X and Henrietta, they're all kind of assholes, especially the Royals. (I wonder if that was a sly commentary on power and privilege?) (Hate Speedy Delivery too, but I LOVE Trolley)

But the show I loved, the one I miss, the one that helped make me the snarky wench I am today was The Electric Company. I still smile over memories of The Boy Is In The Chair, The Adventures of Letter Man (JOAN RIVERS!), Rita Moreno, Jennifer of the Jungle, Fargo North, Decoder! (Just saying it makes me smile, although I'm embarrassed by how long it took me to figure out WHY that title is funny.) It had so much New York-style energy and in my memory it FEELS like what I felt about the 70's, not to mention that for "children's television" a pretty subversive and snotty sense of humor.

MORGAN FREEMAN! What ever else Morgan does, he will always be Easy Reader to me.

I can still sing bits of this and love the minor key on "Park Avenue:"

Everything I loved about living in NY (before I was cruelly saved from the NYC Public School System of the 70's and 80's) in the mid-70's is just encapsulated in The Electric Company. I never wanted to live on Sesame Street and much as I like Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, I'd probably get pretty bored there, but GOD I WANTED TO LIVE or at least work for The Electric Company!

(Maybe they also helped me become a Full Metal Beta too. Easy Reader wouldn't put up with any of that BS.)

So yeah, next time PBS does a pledge drive...give them some money.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2014 09:13 pm (UTC)
Oh man, this is my childhood too. I'll always remember Electric Company's Hey you GUYYYYYYYS. Oh, man, Fargo North, Decoder! That brings back memories. It's too bad it hasn't been on air all the time like Sesame Street and Mr Rogers, which I rewatched over and over due to babysitting and then my own kids, it was such a good show.
Jan. 14th, 2014 10:40 pm (UTC)
HIGH FIVE! (ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE.) I wonder if it would come across as dated because of the hair/clothing and just that very 70's style itself. Of course now it's retro, but still. It just made such a great contrast to SS and Mister Rogers. Did you get the bilingual shows like Villa Allegre and Carrascolendas (SP?) as well?
Jan. 14th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC)
I had to google it but after watching http://www.fuzzymemories.tv/index.php?c=3179 yeah, Villa Allegre does seem familiar, I think my older sister watched but it might have stopped airing before I was really old enough for it. I don't remember Carrascolendas though (If you wish to relive it at all I did find it streaming though! http://video.klru.tv/program/carrascolendas/)
Jan. 14th, 2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I hate to wax too nostalgic, although that is sort of the point of the meme, but we had some good stuff back then.
Jan. 15th, 2014 03:45 am (UTC)
I totally agree with all your thoughts on Sesame Street (and I LOVE a Guy Smiley reference!)
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:22 am (UTC)
I loved the game show parodies and especially Guy's attempted rendition of "Gone With The Wind."
Jan. 15th, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)
yeah, the not being believed business was fucked up. I think it was intended to be funny. I'm glad they stopped doing it. I thought Grover was funny when I was a little kid but I preferred the humor on the Electric Company. I LOOOOOOOOOOVED the Electric Company when I was a kid. Some of those songs still get stuck in my head.
King Friday was a jerk and rude too. I don't remember that from watching Mr. Rogers as a little kid but recently I was over at a friend's house and my friend's kid was watching Mr. Rogers and I was more than slightly irritated with him. (King Friday. i could never be irritated with Mr. Rogers, he was awesome.)
That was Joan Rivers?! I guess I can't recognize her when she's not insulting anybody's appearance. (I don't care how old she is, if she ever tried that crap on me I'd put her in the hospital!)

Jan. 15th, 2014 06:56 pm (UTC)
We never saw Joan, it was just her voice narrating the Adventures of Letter Man. I loved her cadences there. Maybe it was when her stand-up career was sort of "meh" before she really broke through with the nasty stuff in the 80's.

Reallyreallyreally hate King Friday. The Queen should have just up and left. Or staged a coup or something.
Jan. 15th, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC)
I should have said "I guess I can't recognize her voice,etc."
She showed up on an anti-bullying ad recently, which made no sense whatsoever. Only Andrew Dice Clay would have been more inappropriate.
Jan. 15th, 2014 10:33 pm (UTC)
And we know the Diceman is mostly persona, whereas I sort of get the feeling that Joan is a genuinely nasty wench.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )



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