| Thanks to the launch of The Noggin Channel, which debuted in February 1999, you can be a kid again. Noggin is the television marriage of Nickelodeon and The Children's Television Workshop. 24-hours-a-day and commercial-free, its backbone is reruns of original Sesame Street, Electric Company, ZOOM!, and Contact 1-2-3 episodes.
You forgot how horrible the old PBS clothing looked until you screen an old Electric Company. You'll be amazed at what troopers Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno were, running through terrible disco-learning songs and funky-dance numbers. You'll also notice how the culture of beauty and youth had not yet infected the airwaves: Electric Company cast members were over thirty and not exactly hot. But you know you had crushes on them anyway.
The jewel in Noggin's crown is Sesame Street. As parents, we watch Sesame Street contemporarily and we can say that this show is as timeless as table salt. Nothing has changed: the jingles, the cartoons, the gags, the bits, the characters, the moments were always there, you never forgot them. "One of these things just doesn't belong, one of these things is not like the others...," "Rubber Duckie, you're the one...," "These are the people in your neigh-bor-hood, in your neigh-bor-hood, in your NEIGH-BOR-HOOD...."
The Count counting down eggs and calling in the children of the night and AH-HA-HA-HAH: THREE! THREE EGGS! I HAVE THREE EGGS! A-HA-HA-HAH!
Before Elmo, my friends, there was Grover. Grover is Elmo with hair and no helium voice. A perpetual loser and clumsy freak, Grover mirrored the frantic pace of the world outside your kindergarten class. "Oh waiter?" There goes Grover flying past his customer, trays and cups falling down.... "I'll be there in a minute! Hold on!" Grover's better with kids than Bill Cosby, and his unscripted chats are enough to make you wet yourself.
Clever? Sesame Street is still successful explaining life-as-alphabet, but hasn't forgotten the adults. We suffer through Barney wishing we had heroin. Teletubbies is only bearable because our kid laughs at it. But Sesame Street delivers hard-core funny. A recent Sesame storyline featured Oscar's pet worm and best friend, Slimey, joining WASA (Worms Aeronautical Space Association)...because he has the Right Squiggle. From space-testing to saying goodbye outside the mini worm-plane hangar, the bit was just too precious and funny to deny. When the worm's spaceship failed upon re-entry, Dr. Albert Einslime instructs the worms to land in a bucket of water.
Eager as we are, be patient for Barney's Ice-Age. His extinction is imminent. But Sesame? Thanks in part to Noggin, it lives forever.
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