Plaza Sésamo (known simply as Sésamo until 2022) is the Latin American co-production of Sesame Street. Premiering in November 1972 and co-produced with Televisa (until 2013), the series initially featured a cast which was comprised chiefly of Mexican performers, but also included Panamanians and Argentines and featured "neutral Spanish".
As the years progressed, however, the series more explicitly reflected Mexico, where the show is shot. In addition to airing in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America, the series debuted on PBS in 1995, broadcast primarily in Southwest markets on Saturday mornings (as such, it was the only Sesame Street co-production that has been widely seen in the United States). A few American broadcasts had an extremely rare variant of the 2000-2006 PBS Kids funding bumper.
The show's main original Muppet characters include Abelardo Montoya, a Big Bird-like parrot (Word of God says that Abelardo is actually supposed to be Big Bird's cousin), Pancho, a blue Grouch-like character (despite not necessarily acting like any other Grouch), and Lola, an adventurous pink female monster. Muppet characters from the American show appear in dubbed inserts, and Abelardo even visited Big Bird on Sesame Street in the US in an episode that aired on Cinco de Mayo.
In 2013, RCN took over production from Televisa and filming of the show itself moved to Colombia until 2016.note
Plaza Sésamo features examples of:
- Cultural Translation: Several American songs are retooled to make more sense in Spanish. For instance, "C is for Cookie" (which is often left un-dubbed due to "cookie" not always starting with "C" in other languages) is turned into "C es de Cebollas" so Pancho can salute his favorite food, cebollas (onions).
- Expy: Abelardo is one to Big Bird, as they are both large, kind-hearted birds. Lola is one to Elmo, as they are both excitable, childlike monsters, and Pancho is basically Oscar if he were more cheerful. Word of God has it that each of the expies is a cousin to his or her Sesame Street counterpart.
- Long Runner: The show began airing in 1972 and has been running since then.
- Mythology Gag: A newspaper seen in Episode 1002 features a picture of the Swedish Chef with eyes drawn on his face.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Lola is pink, Pancho is blue.
- Replaced the Theme Tune: The theme song has changed over the years.
- The 1970s and early 80s theme was in the style of a Mexican folk song.
- From the mid-80s till 1995, the theme was an instrumental piece.
- The most recognizable theme for the show came when the show was retooled in 1995, changed to an upbeat tune...
- ...which was rearranged in 2005 to add more Latin influences and gained slightly modified lyrics.
- It was rearranged again in 2011, gaining somewhat of a funk sound, and the lyrics being changed slightly once more.
- Retool: The show underwent one when Pancho and Lola arrived in 1995, including a new set and theme song, and the removal of Bodoque, the show's former Grouch character (seen in this video).
- Spinoff: in 2015, Univision began airing Sesame Amigos, which ostensibly was developed especially for Spanish-speakers living in the United States. A large portion of the content on the series is actually a truncated Spanish dub of Sesame Workshop's United Kingdom co-production, The Furchester Hotel. Sesame Amigos would air in Mexico and Latin America one year later as the first season of the reetooled Sésamo show.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: Pancho performs his own version of "Fuzzy and Blue" from Sesame Street, but instead of a male monster joining him for the final verse, Lola appears and twists Pancho's arm until he lets her sing with him. He tells her to remember to sing that she's pink before the music starts again.
- Vocal Evolution: Abelardo's voice gradually becomes more higher and effeminate during the years of the show.