Sesame Street: Be a Good Sport DVD Review: Fun and Education for Babies (and Adults Too)

I do not have cable or satellite, but I do have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. This combination means there is a lot of PBS Kids programming going on in my house. One of my favorites and hers is Sesame Street. I have very fond memories of watching it as a child and now as a dad it’s a really wonderful thing to watch her get excited over the adventures of all those furry little monsters.

Of course, the show has changed a great deal since I was a kid. They hardly show any of my favorite characters anymore. Big Bird, Snuffaluffagus, and Oscar mostly get cameos these days. Bert and Ernie have a regular sketch, but they are all made of clay now, and Grover has been rebooted into a rather inept superhero. It;s newer characters like Elmo and Abby that get all the love now.

What I love about Sesame Street is that, like all of the PBS Kids programming it is entertaining and educational, but it’s also very clever. I often find myself chuckling at little pop-cultural references and gags that fly right over my daughter’s head. They often do sketches that parody pop songs and even much more adult-oriented shows like Homeland, Downton Abbey, and Boardwalk Empire.

For various reasons, they never seem to release entire seasons of the show on DVD, but rather they prefer to do single disk of various skits that support a singular theme or concept. Likely this is in part because individual shows often incorporate older sketches into the new episodes. For example, even though Elmo’s World has not produced a new episode since 2009 and Michael Jeter (who played Mr. Noodle) died in 2003, new episodes of Sesame Street often conclude with one of their sketches.

Be a Good Sport mostly contains sketches from the most recent season of Sesame Street. The majority of them include a moral around the theme of good sportsmanship. Though as the DVD progresses, this theme becomes less and less prominent, with some sketches containing only the briefest mention of a sport-like activity, and others have nothing at all to do with this overall concept.

The longest skit has Elmo and Abby playing a game of Hot Potato. At first, Elmo keeps losing and becomes more and more upset. But after getting some lessons from Telly, Elmo becomes a Hot Potato champion. Unfortunately he’s a terrible winner and soon enough no one wants to play with him anymore. It takes some good lessons from Leela and a cute little song for Elmo to learn how to be a good sport, win or lose.

Other sketches include the Clippers’ Blake Griffin defining the word “champions,” Grover 2.0 saving some pigs stuck up a river without “something to be stuck up the river with.” Abby also meets her favorite fairy ever – Super Fairy – but has to come to terms with the fact that her friends aren’t nearly as impressed. Bert and Ernie compete in some bird Olympics, etc. There’s just under two full hours of show here. It runs like two complete episodes played end to end with the normal type of sketches (Abby’s Flying Fairy School, Elmo the Musical, etc) placed in their normal time slots.

The bonus material includes a sketch in which worms race each other, some tips on talking to your children after various sketches, and some PDF activity pages that can be accessed via your computer’s DVD-ROM drive.

Sesame Street has been educating and entertaining children (and adults) for decades. Be a Good Sport provides over two hours worth of sketches that are sure to keep any ankle-biter enthralled.

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Mat Brewster

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