The genius behind Sesame Street is that it’s not only for youngins. The slow cadence and repetition of Blues Clues may prove an excellent technique for teaching children, but Jim Henson’s Muppet-filled urban landscape has the added benefit of entertaining adults while educating their kids.
Sesame Street producers and writers sprinkle clever puns and timely celebrity appearances throughout the show’s episodes, making them watchable for individuals of any age. The guest stars ensure Sesame Street remains culturally relevant while simultaneously marketing the program to household members who are in charge of the remote control.
Sesame Street‘s target demo may have no idea who Katy Perry is (I have no idea at what age children start listening to mediocre pop music), but the parents of that target demo probably do, and might be more inclined to tune into the PBS TV show because she’s scheduled to be on (or off) it.
It’s genius, really. If you make something watchable for kids and incorporate components and produce promotional materials their parents find appealing, you’ve won the youth vote and won over the family member with the credit card. Sesame Street sells more advertising units and products, you’re happy to watch and buy them, your kids love them, everybody wins, and the platonic ideal of the American Family is saved.
The Sesame Street YouTube page is the next logical place to extend its savvy brand of cultural marketing. YouTube provides a free distribution platform and affords the people producing Sesame Street a certain degree of latitude. It allows for experimentation with content that doesn’t exactly fit within the confines of Sesame Street’s regularly scheduled programming. Case in point: Cookie Monster Auditions for SNL.
The video is a whimsical short spoofing Saturday Night Live and showcasing the many legit reasons why Cookie Monster should host. In four minutes, America’s favorite, oversized, blue Muppet performs an opening monologue, closing thank you speech, Macarooner sketch (it’s a play on MacGruber, which is a play on MacGyver), does the fake news, and sings a song under the stage name Monster Gaga.
It’s smart, funny, fitting (especially considering the internet recently nominated Betty White to host SNL), and most importantly, keeps a show designed for kids aged K-3 relevant in today’s mainstream popular culture.