Selling Sesame Street

I survived Sesame Street Live. Barely. 

I can’t really say I enjoyed Sunday’s production of “Elmo’s Green Thumb” at the Fargodome. My daughter did, though, and that’s all that really matters. 

This event was about Eve, not her Mom or Dad. That’s why I only bought two $17 tickets: one for her and one for either my husband or myself. We figured there was no point in both of us sitting through 1 1/2 hours of muppets singing and dancing. And hundreds of kids screaming and whining. (There’s a reason we only have one of our own)

Elmo sings his heart out.

 The stage production wasn’t what was unbearable.  The storyline was cute, and all our favorite friends from 123 Sesame Street were there. Grover and Rosita even made it back to our cheap seats and Rosita patted Eve’s head, to both our delight. What got me was how commercialized the stage production of public broadcasting’s signature show was.

Sesame Street has long been a commodity through toys and books. Elmo’s face is on juice boxes and baby food. But something about the commercialism of what was basically a live version of a PBS show bugged me. They were selling soooo much crap stuff: stuffed Elmo dolls, Elmo T-shirts, light-up spinning Elmo toys. At intermission they walked around with large helium balloons … for $10. 

I don’t blame the parents who caved into the pleas of their kids. When you’re trying to get your little one to sit still and be quiet for a lot longer than their attention span allows, the last thing you want to deal with is a temper tantrum over a $9 plastic toy.

Eve eating popcorn before the show started.

 I managed to hold firm. The Bank of Mom was closed, other than a $3 tub of popcorn (I don’t know how Eve even knew there were concessions for sale, but the first thing she said when we walked into the Fargodome was “I want popcorn.” And honestly, so did I!) I had to tell a couple fibs to keep the peace, though … “Oh, we missed our turn to buy a balloon … They’re all gone now … we’ll get one later …”

I know that’s not a lesson that would be taught on Sesame Street. But trusted friends from PBS shouldn’t be putting parents in that position in the first place.

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