Some news stories are hard to joke about, like the explosions in China or the ongoing tensions in Ferguson, Missouri. Others, like the one this week that proto-kids’ show Sesame Street is moving to premium cable network HBO, are easy.
This week’s episode brought to you by the letters H, B, and O! You know nothing, Elmo! Or my favorite:
— Hilary Schulte (@AndersonHilary) August 13, 2015
If you listen hard enough, you can almost hear all the people out there furiously trying to finish their Game of Thrones video mashup where they dub an alphabet lesson over one of the show’s famous ‘sexposition’ scenes.
A lot of people don’t seem to see it as a laughing matter, however. My social feeds are full of Class Warriors complaining that this move is emblematic of the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots, and that it’s hitting the kids who need Sesame Street the most, underprivileged kids — the very kids it was invented for — the hardest. A few quotes from the comments section under the New York Times article on the deal:
Must be true. Everyone and everything has a price. Once again OUR public dollars created Sesame Street and now the privateers are taking it over for personal gain. Welcome to 3rd world America where only the financial elite reap the benefits of society and government and the rest of us get the throwaways WE paid for with OUR consumer, 401k and tax dollars.. HBO will probably get the OUR government money to produce “children’s learning television”. What a joke. It’s getting harder and harder to love America – land taken over by insatiable greed with zero social conscience.
So I guess the options for my kids are:
1. I fork over $180 per year for an HBO subscription that I don’t need for anything else nor do I want my children to have access to for the largely explicit material shown on this channel. Or,
2. They watch a total of 4 re-hashed episodes on PBSkids since the shows won’t be available on Amazon or Netflix (I have subscriptions).
If I end up paying HBO, I guess PBS can kiss goodbye my contributions. If that’s the way others think, PBS will might no longer exist. I’m certainly not going to contribute in order to watch Downton Abbey.
Now that it’s on HBO, can the violence, profanity and nudity be far behind? (Though I guess most of the Muppets are already nude.)
Everybody calm down. Though it is a little depressing that PBS can’t afford to pay Big Bird’s salary all by itself, that’s been the case for quite a while. Sesame Street has been producing fewer and fewer episodes — before this deal, they were making 18 a year — and continued budget cuts from the federal government forced the show to rely on DVD sales for the lion’s (or the Snuffleuppagus’) share of its funding, and the streaming video revolution has parked that revenue stream right next to Oscar the Grouch.