"You're right, Big Bird. It's... It'll never be the same around here without him. But you know something? We can all be very happy that we had the chance to be with him, and to know him, and to love him a lot when he was here."
Big Bird questions why this had to happen, and the only possible answer is both realistic and so very sad: "Because. Just because."
What made this scene so realistic, touching and emotional was indeed the genuine emotion shown by the adults as they comfort Big Bird in his realization that, indeed, his beloved Mr. Hooper was never coming back. The scene – done in one take and kept intact – showed that even adults (who fully understand the concept of death) cry and feel very sad when someone close to them dies, and that it is OK to cry, sometimes together, when something sad happens. Rumors have always been that the producer initially envisioned the adults keeping their composure but maintaining their comforting tone with Big Bird, but the original take was the only one done after it was realized the genuine show of emotion made the scene more realistic.
While it's unknown how true that rumor is, the first take was the only one they could use. In a 2006 interview Bob McGrath said they tried to do a second take but they only lasted a minute before they broke down.
Add to that Big Bird singing "It's Not Easy Being Green" to a recently deceased Jim Henson, and the Muppets win at making hard-hearted hannahs like me cry and cry and cry.
The big gut-wrencher is right after he finishes...
Worse yet, Robin keeping the other Muppets together by singing "Just One Person" during the tribute the Muppets did as their first show after his death. I lost it when Kermit walked through the door at the end Just... here...
I lost it right before that, when, after spending most of the show trying to figure out who Jim Henson was and planning the big production number, Fozzie and the cast find out that Jim Henson is dead when reading fanmail from actual fans. Quite reflective of how one often admires the work but remains unaware of the man behind the work too late.
Gonzo: But we were just getting to know him!
Not to mention two years later, Richard Hunt followed Henson to the grave which makes this scene more heartwenching.
Scooter: Reading a fanmail Perhaps the substance of Jim Henson's genius was the ability to see wonder far off in crazy directions. And get people to follow him there.
This song by Tom Smith, sung by Kermit the Frog to the recently deceased Jim Henson.
Then came Ernie and Scooter and Gonzo,
Doctor Teeth, Cookie Monster, and more.
But now all of those voices are silent,
And I want to go on... but, what for?
The quiet little "I'll miss you, dad..."
The scene where Big Bird tells Snuffy that he has to go away, as he has been convinced by his friends that Snuffy doesn't exist... until he starts wiping away Snuffy's tears, and realizes that Snuffy must be real, as he's crying real tears.
This scene gets an emotional Call Back later in Follow That Bird where two children sneak into the tent where Big Bird is being held prisoner and wonder if he's real. Then they see a tear and remark that he must be real. Muppet magic.
After shooting the scene, the puppeteers removed their masks to reveal that they were both actually crying.
Some of the songs.
Well, I'd like to visit the moon...
It's not that easy bein' green...
This frog has to go his own way...
Darling, Our Marriage is Doomed. Here stands your heart broken bridegroom. Wedding Bells are ringing just over one block, But the sign (The sign) says Don't Walk...
I'm a blue bird...from The Movie. Has been determined to be one of the top childhood-destroying moments in all of fiction.
Particularly Bert and Ernie voluntarily bartering away their most prized possessions. You can practically see the internal conflict, and these guys are basically just socks with hands inside them! The Muppeteers are geniuses at conveying emotion without words.
After Jerry Nelson's death, the show's YouTube channel uploaded classic sketches featuring characters that Jerry had voiced, as well as a playlist with old and new clips. The main Henson Company did a similar trick, though it was mostly just the playlist with only one new upload (Fraggle Rock's "Petals Of A Rose").
And then they made a special tribute episode to Jerry, which Muppet fansite ToughPigs beautifully describes here.
"I'm So Blue", sung by Big Bird in Follow That Bird. Buckets of tears and a definite need for a hug, even when watched as an adult. Poor Big Bird!
Kevin Clash, the performer of Elmo, was accused by a 24-year-old man to have had underage sex with him years ago. Despite the court discovering that the allegations were recanted a day later, this apparently prompted a different man to accuse him of the exact same thing after that. With his personal life getting in the way of Sesame Street's child-friendly message, Kevin Clash retired.
Clash was not just Elmo's performer, he also created other characters (such as Hoots the Owl, Baby Natasha and a whole host of additional Muppets). In addition, he was the show's Muppet Captain, a co-writer (being the head writer and director of Elmos World and its Spiritual SuccessorElmo: The Musical), a co-producer, co-ordinator of international outreach programs and being responsible for training new Muppeteers. With all those roles gone, a big gaping hole is left in Sesame Street as the show has lost someone greatly responsible for its overall tone and direction - and morale is apparently so low on set that Sesame Workshop has resumed filming Season 44 with a therapist hired to look after the cast and crew. Elmo may have been a divisive character, but if that's not a Tear Jerker to a Sesame fan, old-school or new-school, I don't know what is.
In case the tears don't flow freely enough, go watch Being Elmo A Puppeteers Journey on Netflix or hunt it down somewhere. Every detail of his career right up to the incident (as the movie was made just before it) is covered. And how that all came crashing down... My apologies in advance for dehydration.
Not to mention that the show's resident Man of a Thousand Voices Jerry Nelson had passed away that August. Sesame Street lost two of its brightest stars within months of each other. On the plus side though, as of 2014 Matt Vogel and Ryan Dillon are doing a fine job taking on Jerry's and Kevin's respective characters, with Dillon becoming the new permanent voice of Elmo.
Cookie Monster having a rather sad nightmare on meeting a giant, talking cookie, given the name "The Monster Cookie". As he tells Cookie Monster in his sob story, he used to be a monster, though he had been transformed into a cookie because he was on a cookie-only diet, and regrets that he never had carrots, fish, or bread. Cookie Monster is so traumatized by this experience that he decides to never eat cookies again, and eats carrots, fish, and bread, and then a cookie afterwards leaving a remark "Well, Maybe sometime a cookie!"
The song "If Moon was Cookie," especially towards the end when Cookie Monster realizes that if he ate the moon, there would be no moonlight, and he couldn't look out his window at the moon ever again. Oh, *sniff.* Coupled with the simple, yet effective, instrumentation of the song and it becomes a thing of beauty. Just give it a listen.
The episode (made in the wake of the September 11th attacks) where Elmo becomes traumatized after a fire breaks out at Hooper's Store.
Alan: It's okay. There's nothing to be afraid of. The chief said that the fire is out.
Elmo: Elmo doesn't care, Alan! Elmo doesn't want to go back into Hooper's Store ever again!
Taking a nod from Mr. Hooper's death, there is a special that dealt with Elmo dealing with the death of his Uncle Jack, from Elmo's father remembering the good times he had with his brother when they were kids to cousin Jesse facing the fact that her father is gone for good.
The show has a resource kit for families with incarcerated parents. There's a little cartoon film about a girl and her family going to visit her father in prison. It might be the saddest thing in Sesame Street history.
It's hard not to be able to touch or hug each other, but Daddy blows me a kiss. I tell him I'll save it for later. Before we know it, it's time to go already.
The song "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" is about a cafe where the cowboys and cowgirls let out their sadness.