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Oct 072015
 

Here’s a Sesame Street feature that’s special for Halloween. It’s called Sesame Street: Elmo Says Boo!. Elmo visits the Count at his castle to share some spooky jokes and goes into segments where the theme is spooky stuff.

As the feature goes on, Elmo and the Count keep track of how many spooky jokes they tell. Obviously these jokes are on a children’s level. Sure they’re cute, but not hilarious as they’re portrayed to be.

We also get to see some new additions to the Count’s castle, like the giggling skeleton, Sir Count-a-lot the talking armor, and a laughing portrait of the Countess Groana Lisa. There’s even a cute ghost and the organ plays by itself.

Some of the classic segments include the Count singing about the Bones (Inside of you) and Lillias White performing Transylvania 1-2-3-4-5 while the Count conducts the chorus.

There are also a couple of monster songs and some animated segments like the eight bats fly out of a castle window one by one. Don’t those bats have cute faces?

There’s even an Ernie and Bert segment where they visit an ancient pyramid. Bert is excited to explore, but Ernie is scared. Surprisingly, they find statues that look like the two of them and the one that looks like Ernie comes to life. The statue is friendly, but leaves me wondering who he really was.

The last segment featured is the Count and his bats singing The Batty Bat. It’s a good song, but this was on two other Sesame Street DVDs already.

I enjoyed this feature with its great setup for Elmo visiting the Count. The choice of segments were good too, but it would’ve been nice to also include other songs and skits from the Count back in the 70s, or at least have a Best of Count Von Count on DVD.

Aug 192015
 

Normally when it comes to Sesame Street specials focused on numbers, the host is usually the Count. On Sesame Street – Learning About Numbers, Big Bird hosts a comedy show featuring classic songs and skits about the numbers 1-10, as well as the number 20.

Big Bird was a good choice as host. My only concern was that his opening joke was a huge bomb. “Boy was it cold yesterday.” “How cold was it?” “It was so cold, I had to wear my mittens.” That was supposed to be funny?

Some of the highlight segments include the red ball rolling down a model roller coaster where all of the obstacles are in threes, and Big Bird singing I Just Adore 4 with the Tarnish brothers. This song is actually on both Sesame Street Old School Albums, both on CD now.

Of course the Count does appear in this feature, but he doesn’t arrive until later. There are a couple of segments that intertwine with his absence. First the Count gives Ernie a job to answer the telephone, but keeps Ernie from answering it because he insists on counting the rings.

The Count also gets a job as an elevator operator, but doesn’t understand the true meaning of the job. Once again his counting obsession becomes a problem. At least it does with Kermit.

The Count does appear in another classic sketch where he counts seven flowers and seven sneezes. I distinctly remember hearing this on a Sesame Street record album years ago. I can’t remember which one that was, but I do remember the segment word for word.

Then after a few animated segments, the Count returns just in time to count to 20 with the Honkers. Certainly a good bit to end on.

This was another great feature with classic Sesame Street segments. I would definitely rank it on the same level as Sesame Street: Count it Higher. There ought to be more like that.

Jul 292015
 

Sesame Street: Learning About Letters is pretty straightforward. Big Bird hosts a feature on every letter of the alphabet and Telly monster provides different things that start with each letter. Sometimes it’s a couple of things, but mostly just one.

There are also segments about the different letters, but unlike The Alphabet Jungle Game, only some of the letters get segments while the others only get a quick run-through. I thought that felt too fast, but the reason was probably to make sure the feature doesn’t run too long.

Some of the classic segments include Cookie Monster singing C is for Cookie, Ernie and Bert singing about the letter L, and Cookie and Harry monster singing about foods that start with M.

When Telly gets to the letter E, Oscar reveals the four elephants living in his trash can. This used to confuse me. How could Oscar fit an elephant in that trashcan of his, let alone four? Plus, only the trunks are revealed. So that makes me wonder how big these elephants actually are.

Another classic clip called Sign Alphabet features the whole alphabet by zooming in on each letter that’s found on random signs or graffiti in the city. This brings me back because I used to like looking at the city signs when I was a kid. I didn’t know what a lot of the signs meant, but I liked the big letters on them.

After finishing the alphabet, Luis (Emilio Delgado) reads a story called The King Banishes the Letter P. This is about a king named Peter the persnickety that was hit by a ping pong ball and bumped into his pet porcupine. That upset him so much that he banishes everything that begins with the letter P, which was more than he bargained for. This story was nice and reminds me of some of the classic old Muppet fairytale specials that feature King Goshposh.

Overall, this was a good feature. I would’ve expected at least a few more segments, but this works very well for a Sesame Street alphabet feature.

Jun 032015
 

Sesame Street has used many creative ways to educate children. Now the series has really outdone itself with Sesame Street: Elmo’s Super Numbers. There was an episode earlier this season, where Sesame Street had a numbers convention called NumeriCon. It was like ComiCon only smaller, and takes iconic characters, inserting a number in the name. It’s so clever how that was done.

The main focus is Elmo, who is dressed as the Dark 9 (the Dark Knight), and Leela (Nitya Vidyasagar), who is dressed as Princess 3a (Princess Leia), following a plan to attend everything they want to do the most. As the story goes along, it goes through the numbers 1-10 so efficiently.

Along the way, Elmo and Leela meet up with cosplayers as well as the famous heroes with extended scenes that were not in the original episode. Some of the cosplayers include 1da Woman (Wonder Woman), In3ana Jones (Indiana Jones), and the Caped Crus8er (Caped Crusader).

The items on Elmo’s plan include seeing a sneak peek of the new number hero Doctor 2 (Doctor Who), getting a picture with the Fantabulous 4 (the Fantastic 4), getting an autograph from 5erine (Wolverine), and counting to ten with the Green Lan10 (the Green Lantern). What, no Q&A panels?

A problem occurs at every event. Whenever that happens, a certain cosplayer (far right) responds by saying, “Worst convention ever.” Luckily, Elmo manages to solve each problem with math. Once the problem is fixed that cosplayer says, “Best convention ever.” Talk about fickle. I’m sure it was meant to be a running gag, but that can get real annoying after a while.

When I first saw the original episode, I knew the Count would enjoy attending NumeriCon, but he wasn’t featured at all. It turns out that the Count did attend the convention but is only in one extended scene, where he meets up with Grover dressed as 6 Fury from the 7gers (Nick Fury from the Avengers). I guess Super Grover doesn’t qualify as a number hero.

Between each scene, there are several segments that are focused on a particular number. All of the segments are modern, which doesn’t surprise me. However, one I would like to point out is the Ten Turtles segment. I remember it well, but the segment was redone in CGI animation. I’m glad that Sesame Street continues to stick to the classics, but what was wrong with keeping the old version? It wouldn’t surprise me if other classic segments had been redone the same way.

On the original episode, there was also a segment that was a spoof on Star Wars called Star Smores. It stars Cookie Monster as Fan Solo trying to learn self-control and not eat his partner Chewy the Cookie. Too bad it’s not included on this DVD because that segment was hilarious.

This certainly was an interesting feature, mainly since it relates to attending comic book conventions. There were a bunch of other cosplayers in the crowd whose names were not mentioned, like a squirrel with a number 3, a foot with a number 5, a wizard with a number 4, a green fuzzy character with a number 9, a brown bear with a number 9, and Super Mario with a number 2. Any idea what their character names could’ve been?

Apr 152015
 

If you thought The Alphabet Jungle Game was good, then you’ll love Sesame Street: The Great Numbers Game. This time, Elmo, Telly, and two kids explore a magical forest that’s set up as a video game world. The goal is to quest for the numbers 1-20.

There’s also an animated segment or two about each number. Once again, most of them are more modern, which is a bit disappointing. There are a few classic segments also, but they were all on other Sesame Street DVDs already.

The subplot scenes are much shorter in this feature, but are really neat. There is a point where Elmo and Telly hop on moving platforms. However, the most common obstacle is a giant cookie that rolls around and Elmo and the others try to run from it. It would’ve been interesting to see that action, but it keeps cutting to a segment too quickly.

I can easily tell that the magical forest backdrop is a green screen, which made it easy to show Elmo and Telly’s entire bodies the whole time. That wouldn’t have been so easy to do years ago.

I enjoyed this feature mostly for the concept of going through a video game type world. I’m a little surprised that the Count wasn’t in this one. He would’ve liked this adventure since he had his own NES game called Sesame Street Countdown, which was about the Count finding numbers. Come to think of it, Cookie Monster would’ve enjoyed that giant cookie. Though it was never revealed where it came from.