How Sesame Street Dealt With 9/11

Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images for HBO
Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images for HBO
by Louisa Mellor

When Sesame Street’s 33rd season went to air a few months after September 11, 2001, the show’s creators knew they had to acknowledge that day’s tragic events. The beloved educational show had a reputation for talking honestly to its young audience about difficult subjects, from grief to bullying, divorce, and racism. This would be no different.

"It was a devastating time for all of us," Rosemarie Truglio, the show's senior vice president of education and curriculum, recalled. "We felt we needed to do something in response to 9/11, but we knew we had to be very careful, because our viewers are so young, and parents are returning to educational programming as a safe haven for kids."

The key question was how to help preschoolers understand the aftermath of a terrorist attack without scaring them further. Metaphors were the answer.

Rather than depict an attack on the streets of Manhattan, Sesame Street’s creators depicted a kitchen fire breaking out in Hooper’s Store. No flames were shown, only smoke. The sequence advised children on safe behavior when witnessing a fire: to tell a grown-up, evacuate, or “stay low and go” and alert the fire department.

But the real message came in the aftermath of the fire. Sesame Street used its youngest, most vulnerable character, Elmo, to help children through their anxiety. As the firefighters—real life members of the Fire Department of New York—made the store safe again, Elmo was shown shaking and traumatized by the smoke, flashing lights, and strange firefighting equipment. He never wanted to go back to Hooper’s Store again.

But he did, thanks to some patient advice from a friendly FDNY employee named Bill, who gently explained the purpose of his protective clothing and taught Elmo that no matter how scary they might look, firefighters are there to help. An educational visit to the firehouse and a ride on an engine later, and Elmo was back to feeling safe again.

The Office-Themed Ugly Christmas Sweaters Are Here to Show Off Your Dunder Mifflin Spirit

Target
Target

It's now easier than ever to gift your loved ones with Dunder Mifflin-inspired Christmas presents, thanks to Target's new The Office collection. What does it include, you ask? Ugly Christmas sweaters with Dwight Schrute's face and the paper company's logo on them.

As reported by POPSUGAR, Target is selling two different holiday sweaters—one featuring Dwight's festive face and another, more general Dunder Mifflin one—on its website, each priced at $29.99. It seems the NBC series' popularity will never die, as companies continue to sell The Office-related products, from cool artwork to construction sets.

While fans continue to binge The Office on Netflix, they know that major changes are ahead. NBCUniversal is launching its own streaming platform, Peacock, and will take the show back in January 2021. In the meantime, you can still soak up as much Dunder Mifflin insanity as you can handle via Netflix—and now you can do it decked out in a festive holiday sweater.

[h/t POPSUGAR]

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Disney+ Users Are Already Facing Technical Problems

Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian (2019).
Pedro Pascal in The Mandalorian (2019).
© 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved

It seems that the highly anticipated Disney+ release did not go as smoothly as the company had hoped. Variety reports that the streaming service launched this morning, only to find its IT department being flooded with phone calls, tweets, and emails from angry users complaining of malfunctions.

Many customers took to social media to vent their frustration that they either couldn’t login into their account or couldn’t watch certain content.

The service did offer an explanation for all the technical issues via Twitter, posting, “The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our high expectations. We are working to quickly resolve the current user issue. We appreciate your patience.”

Too bad a little Disney magic couldn’t help them with these tech glitches.

[h/t Variety]

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