The Sesame Street Documentary's Heartwarming Trailer Is Sweepin' Those Clouds Away

Jim Henson as Ernie.
Jim Henson as Ernie.
Screenshot: Screen Media
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It is truly the golden age of documentaries about classic PBS children’s series. Following on the cozy heels of Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, about Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, comes the wonderfully named Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street, chronicling the creation of the beloved, long-running, and revolutionary TV show.

Based on Michael Davis’ book of the same name, Street Gang interviews 20 cast and crew members about making Sesame Street back in 1969, which basically invented educational TV programs. The documentary looks absolutely delightful, with loads of archival, behind-the-scenes footage, including of Jim Henson. But what’s really interesting is how political the show was from its inception, focusing on themes of inclusion and representation, based on co-creator Joan Ganz Cooney’s involvement with the civil rights movement. It’s a large part of the reason Sesame Street has been so impactful over the half-century it’s been on the air.

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Street Gang will be in theaters shortly, premiering April 23, but will be available on VOD on May 7.


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DISCUSSION

deerseason
deerseason

What I really remembered being fascinated by rewatching the really old shows was how grimy and urban (in a literal sense) the original show was... obviously with Oscar and Big Bird effectively being unhoused. Most of the B-Roll footage (and the old 16-mm film stock adds to this obviously) is that Scorsese/Dog Day Afternoon/Do the Right Thing New York vibe. I remember reading a book in which setting it in that environment versus, say, a Mr. Rogers-style middle-American suburban utopia was a conscious choice.

And it’s got TONS of entirely Spanish segments, not just Maria throwing some Spanish lessons here and there.

Which is to say, F this gentrified Sesame Street. Elmo was bad, this is much worse.