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These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Bert and Ernie are a gay couple (debunked by Sesame Workshop). Spinoff rumours include a scenario where they're going to marry to teach kids tolerance, and a horrific variant in which Ernie is then to get AIDS and die graphically, again all in the name of understanding. Ironically enough, the series did eventually add an HIV-positive Muppet — but only in its South African version.
Word of God says that originally Bert was going to be the father and Ernie his son, which is why they live together. There were concerns that this would encourage kids to talk back to their parents, so the relationship was changed to make them brothers. More specifically, Bert is an older brother as perceived by his kid sibling (kind but boring), while Ernie is a younger brother (affectionate but annoying) from the elder's perspective. The writers eventually kept this vague, to allow more kinds of plots between the two.
More recently, Lefty has been perceived by some as representing a drug dealer.
Archive Panic: If you gave birth to a child, and immediately began watching the run of Sesame Street in succession, that child would be old enough for kindergarten by the time you were finished. That's amusing, given the show's mission and target audience.
To date (2013) there are currently over 4,440 episodes... even Sesame Workshop supposedly has to hire people just to maintain that archive!
Awesome Ego: Although Grover's generally pretty personable, he often introduces himself as "cute, lovable, furry old Grover," and tends to overestimate his own knowledge and superhero abilities. Of course, this is just a part of what makes him so darn endearing.
Parents who watch Sesame Street now might be uncomfortable with the show's transition into "The Elmo Show" and the degree to which Elmo has pushed all the other Muppets into the background. Children, however, love the little red menace. Complicating matters further, it isn't just a matter of adults vs. children, as some parents have grown to love and passionately defend Elmo because he makes their kids so happy.
If there is enough parental outcry in regard to potentially objectionable material, e.g., Katy Perry wearing a revealing bridal outfit or Chris Brown beating up Rihanna, it is going to get pulled. As a result of both PBS standards and trying to appeal to both kids and parents, this show manages to defy and exaggerate this trope.
Crack Pairing: A majority of fans feel this way about how Elmo and Abby, or, at the very least, find that always pairing Elmo and Abby together in a scene seemed forced, as opposed to when Elmo was usually previously paired up with Zoe.
It (Kinda) Makes Sense in Context, as Zoe was pretty much conceived to be a counterpart to Elmo (especially visually, as Zoe's orange fur compliments Elmo's orange nose, and his red fur compliments her red mouth). Abby, on the other hand, the writers and producers have been desperately wanting her to achieve the same star-power Elmo has (so the show would have a prominent female Muppet for little girls to relate to), which probably explains why the two of them are almost always paired together in scenes.
Creator's Pet: Nearly everyone's had their turn, but the two most recent are Elmo and Abby Cadabby.
Designated Villain: Ronald Grump in Sesame Street All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever wants to tear down Sesame Street and replace it with a Grump Tower, which the streets residents object to, but he is in his legal right to do so.
Dork Age: The "around the corner" era from 1993 to 1998 could arguably be seen as an awkward transitional period between the "old school" years and the modern incarnation of the show, with some characters and elements that weren't present either before or after. Of course, some old-school fans would argue that the show is still in a Dork Age.
Elmo, after Kevin Clash started performing him, so much so that he's now become a Creator's Pet to a lot of the show's older fans. Clash, on the other hand, has developed into the Derek Jeter of children's television, set with the task of training Muppeteers all over the world.
For those who aren't freaked out by them, the Martians could also qualify. YIP YIP YIP YIP YIP. UH HUH. UH HUH. YIP YIP YIP.
Friendly Fandoms: With The Muppet Show. It's pretty common for Muppet fansites to cover both shows (as well as other Henson/Muppet projects such as Fraggle Rock). There's also the tons of inter-series crossovers Sesame Street had with The Muppet Show in its first decade or so, and there's even a couple of fleeting references in 2014's Muppets Most Wanted.
Fandom Rivalry: At the same time, some fans of TMS find it strange for Sesame fans to enjoy a show for preschoolers rather than one for all ages.
In The MovieThe Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, Elmo has a poster of Tiger Woods in his bedroom. Woods' career was nearly destroyed when it was found out he was having affairs with multiple women. The career of Elmo's puppeteer, Kevin Clash, was destroyed by similar circumstances.
This clip has Robin Williams explaining what is alive and what isn't, and one of the first things he says is "Am I alive?"
Bill Cosby once made frequent cameo appearances on Sesame Street and various other kids' shows. After numerous rape allegations, it's unlikely he'll ever show up again.
Genius Bonus: Most people think Count von Count's counting obsession is just a pun on his name. It's not. A largely forgotten vampire legend holds that the best way to escape a vampire is to spill a bag of rice, sand or pebbles, because vampires, being a neurotic species, must stop whatever they're doing until they've counted every last item in a pile. That's why the Count has never killed anyone: he never runs out of things to count!
Bert and Ernie are so popular in Germany that they have their own apartment on Sesamstraße. Other minor characters such as Lefty the Salesman, Herry, and the Two-Headed Monster are also more popular in Deutschland than in America.
Bob McGrath is huge in Japan, even before he was an SS cast member. Many of his albums saw an exclusive release in Japan.
Count von Count being a vampire(-like) guy that loves counting is a concept on its own that will be pretty funny when you know legends of the Chinese Vampire say that it can be escaped by strewing many small objects (like grains of rice) in its path that it would be compelled to stop and count.
With Herbert's friendly demeanor and mustached, bespectacled appearance, he actually bears a strong resemblance to Ned Flanders.
Elmo also gets this treatment as well as a way to vent frustration.
Narm Charm: This is the reason why the show continues to be so popular today, even among adults. Seeing humans act alongside puppets and treating them as if they're real sounds hard to take seriously, but the puppets have so much personality and the humans go along with them so believably that you're inclined to believe it with them too. The skits are also preschool level simple so children can understand them, but it's oddly charming to watch Patrick Stewartwondering "B? Or not a B?" or Liam Neesonemotionally counting to 20.
Joan Ganz Cooney once said that when she once checked into a hotel in The Seventies, the manager came to her room to bring her suitcases... and to tell her that he watches Sesame Street everyday, because it's his favorite show; in fact, Cooney once said that many adults have come to her to tell her how much they enjoy the show, and that it seems most older people who watch the show do so because they dislike most of anything else on television (and especially today, who could blame 'em?).
Sesame Street itself has such a large fanbase among teenagers and adults, that it could very well be in a league all its own if it were to ever have cons associated with it. In fact, this actually causes problems for the show itself: it's still a children's show aimed at preschoolers, and always will be; however, older fans are the vocal ones (since they have the ability to do so, especially with the advent of social media), so the people involved with making this show are always looking for ways to not lose the show's focus and goal, while at the same time, find some way(s) to cater to older and longtime fans to make them happy (Season 38 is a great example of this, because it was the first time in five years the show had an episode presented in its original magazine format, rather that the block format it adopted in 2002, and it was also the first time in nine years that the show had an episode that did not include an Elmo's World segment during the final fifteen minutes).
Retroactive Recognition: Many, but probably the strangest and most surreal would be Giancarlo Esposito as Big Bird's friendly camp counselor, years before he would go on to play Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad, one of the most terrifying villains ever put on television.
Among the show's earliest sketches were James Earl Jones slowly saying the alphabet and counting to ten, noted at the time as being the ones that drew the biggest responses from focus group children.
Seasonal Rot: The subject matter is up for dispute, however, a majority of fans (and some of the cast and crew) felt alienated when the "Around the Corner" era first surfaced in 1993, when the street itself was cleaned and brightened up, and extended to include a number of new locales. Another majority feel the same way starting with 2002, when the show changed from its original magazine format, and adopted a block format.
Some old-school fans also feel that the show has indulged in too much of Political Correctness Gone Mad since The Nineties. However, the show caused an uproar in its early years because of its cultural pluralism, so accusations of this are pretty baseless.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Now that everybody does it, it's hard to remember that Sesame Streetinvented quality, research-based, curriculum-based, entertaining and educational children's TV that has an ethnically diverse cast and doesn't talk down to its audience.
Most old-time fans just aren't fond of the many changes made to the show over the years in general.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: There was no 40th anniversary special (just a special two-DVD release of various inserts from the shows 40-year history), but shortly afterwards came The Best of Elmo 2, in which Elmo helps a robot that feeds on memories. This would have made a better plot for an anniversary special.
Toy Ship: Elmo tends to be shipped with either Zoe or Abby. In fact, in his Youtube interview, one of the unused questions shown for a split second is someone asking if he has a crush on any of them.