Just for the Halibut is pleased and proud to present our first ever guest writer, Michael Wermuth, Jr! Michael has been a staple in the Muppet blogging community for a quite a while, contributing wonderful articles to The Muppet Mindset and The Mickey Mindset. Be sure to check them out, along with his own YouTube channel.
The current season of Sesame Street has introduced new Elmo’s World segments, in a different format than before. There’s a new look, the segments are shorter, and there’s new Noodle brothers. But today, we take a look at some of the good things about the original format.
I won’t really talk much about bad things regarding the original format, but I will bring up a few things wrong with it (most of which was improved upon over the years). At first, the same episode would be featured all week, much like how the same episode of Blue’s Clues aired five days a week (and when the segment was introduced, I was wanting to see more of the new ones sooner), but that concept ended before the segments debut season even ended. And there’s the fact that it took up the last 15-20 minutes of the show, which was more of a big deal when it premiered, but when Sesame Street changed its format a few years later, it finally felt in place with the show. And there’s also stuff that’s often hit-or-miss, like the various channels on the episodes topic, and the short film segments with a kid talking about the topic is often a bit bland.
But anyway, what are some of the best things about the original Elmo’s World? Well, the Mr. Noodle segments are funny, whether it’s Mr. Noodle or Mr. Noodle’s brother Mr. Noodle (or their sisters). Those segments are always hilarious. And considering the Noodle’s normally only appear in Elmo’s World and nowhere else on the show, it meant that when Michael Jeter (Mr. Noodle’s brother) died, they could continue re-running old ones with him (whereas when other former cast members died or departed from the series, for the most part they no longer repeated segments with those characters).
The appearances by familiar characters other than Elmo are also among the best parts (and judging by the one new episode that’s been posted online – and it seems that one is no longer online – it looks like it won’t be an every-episode thing anymore). Every classic episode featured cameos by at least two characters. At first, one of those two was always at the end of a question and answer session, and a few years later, when Elmo’s World introduced the video e-mail segments, it was always from a familiar character, giving us two times to always expect other characters (and I think it then became common for three additional characters to make cameos). Additionally, there have been occasions when the others appeared in Elmo’s World itself. The television special The Street We Live On heavily featured the characters there, as did the “Friendship” episode with Zoe constantly talking about Rocko being a friend (in addition to the main Muppets appearing at the beginning and end) and the “Helping” episode where Super-Grover keeps showing up to help too soon before he’s needed.
I also like the music in these segments. The opening theme (itself a variation on “Elmo’s Song”) is catchy, I like the kazoo music that appears in the opening montages, and I even like the closing songs Elmo sings about the subject.
And those are some of the best things about the original Elmo’s World. The new format may be an improvement, but these elements make the original format worth watching as well.
Thanks for your great addition to the Halibut, Michael! If you feel keen to follow his lead, I highly encourage you to check out how you can contribute here!