Sesame Street Blog

Sesame Family Robinson – From making Muppets to Raising Moppets

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Annie answers your Sesame Street questions.

We got mail! Marty and I are getting great questions from our readers. Here's one of our favorites so far:

Dear Annie,

I just found your blog and can’t believe I didn’t know about it earlier! It’s so great to “meet” a mom from Sesame Street! What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written for Sesame Street? I wonder if my kids and I have seen it!
 
Wishing you sunny days,
Cynthia
Phoenix, AZ


One of my favorite Sesame writing moments happened when I was playing softball with my union’s team in Central Park. Our pitcher said he’d just watched the funniest Sesame show that morning with his daughter about “spaceketeers” pretending to fly into space. I was able to say, “Oh, I wrote that one!” to his surprise and delight. Some of my other favorites are parodies of “Mad Men” and “Survivor: Musical Chairs.” We recently did a show that will air this fall called “Twin Day” which was great fun to shoot and we did a walk-on with Lyra and Ripley. I also really enjoy writing shows for Marty’s characters. I think he is just so talented and funny—but I am biased.

Stay tuned for more questions and answers! Or, to ask your own question, just e-mail us at familyrobinson@sesameworkshop.org. We may put it on our blog!
 

Being Thankful

Marty and Telly in the float at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Word of the Day: Parade!


Every year, Marty does the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Sesame Street float. He really enjoys it although it means preparing much of the meal on Wednesday. Now that we have the kids, I stay home and do my one, all-important job for the meal: turning on the oven.

Here’s a video glimpse behind-the-scenes on the Sesame Street float. HAPPY TURKEY TO ALL!

Top Chef

Elmo, Cookie, and Telly on Top Chef.

So I'm in a car being driven to the Top Chef set.  I've heard of the show, but never seen it . . . something about cooking I am guessing. The car pulls up to a warehouse in the depths of what I assume is still New York City. I get out of the car, put on my NY face, and ask a guy loading crates if this happens to be the right place. It is. I go in. It’s really friendly inside. There’s a nice breakfast, and the crew shows me tapes of the show. After the rest of the puppeteers arrive, the crew brings us all up to speed on what's happening today.

Elmo, Telly, and Cookie Monster are guest judges. The chefs have no idea what to expect—neither who their judges are, nor what they will be cooking. We are kept sequestered from them. After we check out our performing positions and TV monitors, we run through a very sketchy script, mostly just introductions. Evidently we are going to be ad-libbing our reactions to whatever happens during the show. This is sounding more fun all the time.

The chefs come out and are truly dumfounded by our presence. They are informed, by Cookie Monster, that the challenge of the day is . . . COOKIES! Once they start the clock, the place goes nuts. An hour later, we are surrounded by a wild assortment of warm cookies and excited but tired chefs. Now here's the cool part: Even though the puppets are the judges, they can't really taste the cookies, being the not-really-alive creatures that they are. It's not even safe for a puppet to hold a real, sticky, oily piece of food. (All Cookie Monster's cookies on Sesame Street are specially made.) The poor puppeteers have to taste all these fantastic cookies, and come up
with a winner. 

Afterwards, we shot coverage of the puppets going from chef to chef, appearing to taste their creations and commenting. I have the feeling that we said some pretty wild things.

We ate cookies and laughed all morning. What a crazy job!

Telly, Cookie Monster, Elmo on Top Chef.

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Abby, Zoe and Rosita

Curriculum of the Day: Gender Equality!

Here they are! It’s Zoe, Rosita, and Abby, our three main Sesame Street female Muppets. Since all the original Muppets—Big Bird, Oscar, Bert, Ernie, Grover, and Cookie Monster—are all boys, it has been a prime directive to develop some strong female Muppets who can hold their own against these fellows. Developing a character is not easy. It takes time with the writers working alongside the performers to forge a unique individual with specific ways of speaking and behaving. Each of these girls is performed by a different puppeteer. Zoe is played by Fran Brill, who also plays Prairie Dawn, another girl Muppet who is a little older than the others. Rosita is played by Carmen Osbahr, and Abby Cadabby by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph. Fran, Carmen, and Leslie are all veteran performers, which is why these three girl Muppets are so strong and can be the driving force behind a show. It’s also great fun to put the three together. I wrote a song for them recently about the seasons. You go, girls!

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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?

Sommer

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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?

Edward

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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.

Glenda

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