Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

Entries with tag tagjanuary2011 .

How I Became a Writer for Sesame Street.

Annie Evans

Dear Annie,

I love your blog so much!!! I’ve often wondered what it would be like to work for Sesame Street and be a part of what goes on behind the scenes. How did you become a writer for Sesame Street? Where do you get your ideas?

All the best,
Marfa, TX
I actually became a writer of Sesame Street with help from my friend Martin P. Robinson (That was many years before we changed our relationship and got married!). We had just met at a puppetry conference and I was in desperate need of a writing job that actually paid money. He gave some sample bits to the Head Writer at the time named Norman Stiles. He invited me to be part of an audition process. It took 1 year of writing and rewriting, learning the character voices and the comedy style while incorporating the curriculum. I lost 10 pounds from worry but I was the only one left standing at the end and got the job. That was 15 years ago! I get my ideas from everywhere—my childhood, my kids, suggestions from researchers, books and fairytales. Sometimes a show idea comes in a flash, other times I feel like I have to bang my head against the computer for a few days to knock some idea loose.   

Our Holiday

By Ripley and Lyra Robinson, as told to Mommy

 Three sisters together.

Oh pissmisstee, oh pissmisstee! Up, up, up up up up! Sister Chanel, Sister Chanel. Daddy hat, Daddy hat!

 Lyra and Ripley with shopping bags.

Shopping shopping, shopping bag shopping bag, blueberries, toast toast toast shopping. 

 Lyra and Ripley with their Nanny.

Snow snow snow! Nanny nanny! Snow snow snow. Boots boots boots. Colddddddd.


Lyra and Ripley hugging.

Apron on, apron on. Sister, nicey nicey hug.   

Making Cookies!

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Compare, Despair!

Dear Annie,

When you have twins, people say, “Don’t compare,” but I’m telling you, it’s nearly impossible not to. You wonder why one is having so much trouble with something and the other one isn’t. How do you deal with this issue of comparing your twins?

Tim C.
Queens, NY

Dear Tim,

Wow, this really is a true statement and very difficult for us as well.  I recently read the book “Siblings Without Rivalry” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish to learn more about this very issue.  It talks about the need to focus on each child individually and whatever he or she is feeling, rather than comparing his or her behavior to a brother’s or sister’s. Marty and I have made a vow to really try to not do this, but only yesterday I found myself saying, “Your sister is eating the refried beans.”  I covered my mouth in horror, then rephrased the statement to, “Refried Beans taste good, try them.” I know it’s going to be a major part of our journey as parents to look at the twins as two very different people, (And they really are!) and focus on their issues individually.  You know the old saying—compare, despair!

The Passing of a Founding Writer

Last week, Sesame Street lost one of its original writers. Tony Geiss was a major force on the Sesame Street writing team for 40 years. If you’re reading this post, I can guarantee you have been touched and taught by Tony Geiss. His most famous contribution is the anthem for Elmo’s World, “Elmo’s Song,” which has been viewed over 25 million times on YouTube. His other classics include “Sing After Me” and “Eight Balls of Fur.”

He was also the main visionary behind the new character, Abby Cadabby. Only Tony could come up with the inspiration of a little fairy girl who is amazed by all things non-magical on the Street like a simple crayon. In meetings, I was always in awe of Tony’s wicked sense of humor. He was so fast with puns and comebacks; it would leave my head spinning. Whenever he had a funny idea, his eyes would twinkle.

Tony and his wife.

Tony and his wife Phyllis at Marty’s and my wedding in 2009. They were both creative, talented people and great New Yorkers. I could always count on a conversation with Tony at a writer’s meeting about the current plays running in New York and other cultural events that tickled his fancy.

His contribution to children all over the globe is immeasurable and the world is a little less sparkling without him.
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Mail Box

Like your family we have twins, boy/girl, that turned three last month. I saw your blog entry for January and it looks like we have something in common, potty training twins. Like one of your girls, my son WILL NOT pee in the potty but his sister was doing well until she caught on to "Bubbie" not trying. I was just letting things run their course but our local pre-schools/mommy day out programs require the children to be potty trained and this mommy needs a day out. Bribery isn't working. Have you had any success?


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How often is the telly puppet renewed or replaced?

Katherine Sydney, Australia

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I read in 40 Years of Life on the Street about an incident involving Snuffy's puppet where a sombrero caused the wood frame to collapse on you and Bryant Young. Did they rebuild the puppet after that or did they just make a new one?


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I just wanted to say thanks for the blog. My daughter Kylie (who just turned two yesterday) loves to ask if we are going to see "the babies." Thank you so much to you and Marty for bringing the joy of Sesame Street into our lives every day.

Kendal and Kylie Montreal, Canada

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I've noticed that there are fewer Muppets and people in an episode now than there were twenty years ago. Does everyone show up on the set for filming days or only certain ones? Who decides who gets to play the Anything Muppets? There are some voices I hear more than others.


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