In the greatest uproar over public television since Mister Rogers took kids on a tour of his favorite whiskey distillery, Sesame Workshop announced they would pulla segment featuring Katy Perry
from future episodes ofSesame Street
when parents complained that she was dressed too provocatively.
Firstly, parents should be far more incensed that their kids were going to be subjected to a version of Perry's obnoxious "California Girls" than they should be that she was showing cleavage. For one thing, the target audience of Sesame Street isn't that far removed from breastfeeding (unless you decided to feed your child with formula, to which we say "No judgment!"). That said, the controversy over Perry's performance is just another chapter in a story as old as television itself: inappropriate guests on children's shows. We here at Cultist have compiled a brief history.
1. Darth Vader
rocked public airwaves in the late '60s, a young James Earl Jones agreed to participate in a handful of pilot segments as a favor to his acting teacher Will Lee (Mr. Hooper). With these pilot segments,Sesame Street
started the longstanding tradition of getting celebrities to recite numbers or the alphabet. However, they also began the tradition of James Earl Jones's booming voice scaring the shit out of children. Never before or since have ten numbers seemed so severe. So next time your youngster gets scared at Darth Vader's voice orThe Lion King
or the CNN intro before Anderson Cooper, remember you only have Mr. Hooper to blame.
2. Richard Pryor
interpretation of the alphabet may seem like a silly and fun way to
teach kids the fundamentals, but it's not without its flaws.
Personifying the individual letters of the alphabet was clever, but what
about all the kids with names that start with C and D who learned that nobody cared or was interested in them? Also, though Pryor might not
have been lit-on-fire-while-freebasing high, it's pretty evident
he's far from sober. Parents from the '70s should just be grateful
YouTube wasn't around so their kids couldn't find Pryor's other
3. Ralph Nader
dropped by Sesame Street in 1988 to explain to preschooler's what
exactly a consumer advocate was. Apparently to Ralph, a consumer
advocate is someone who ruins perfectly good sweaters. The only lessons
young viewers learned were that people in your neighborhood are often
prickly assholes. We can only wonder how many 1988 Sesame Street viewers
wound up pulling the Lever for the Green Party Ticket in the 2000
4. The Spin Doctors
sure, exposing your young child to the infectious strains of The Spin
Doctors' "Two Princes" may seem like a harmless, cute idea. But little
do you realize that you are setting them down a path of mid-90s adult
contemporary dependency. Soon they'll be skipping classes to chill out
with Hootie and The Blowfish until they wind up on the streets selling
themselves for Counting Crows tickets faster than you can say Sixpence
None The Richer.
5. Anthony Bourdain
Gabba may have usurped Sesame Street as your toddler's favorite show with its fun robots and frequent guest
stars. It may also be the children show with the most stoned viewership
this side of Sid and Marty Krofft's heady programming. Therefore No
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Reservations host/chef/avowed ex-junkie Anthony Bourdain's guest spot as Doctor Tony seems perfectly aligned with the show's winking druggy
appeal. That said, we're left to speculate on exactly what Bourdain
plans to give to the feverish Toodeee and whether he can score some for
us. (Did we say us? We meant a friend.)