The producers of Sesame Street have slapped volumes 1 & 2 of the eternally running children’s show with the following warning: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.” Why? Cookie Monster carries a pipe in one recurring parody—and then eats it. Oscar the Grouch is too grouchy and mean. And in the first episode, a grown man—Gordon—asks a little girl to come home with him for milk and cookies… and she does!
Virginia Heffernan of the New York Times tries to get to the bottom of the warning label, but the executive producer’s response seems kind of underwhelming:
I asked Carol-Lynn Parente, the executive producer of “Sesame Street,” how exactly the first episodes were unsuitable for toddlers in 2007. She told me about Alistair Cookie and the parody “Monsterpiece Theater.” Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, used to appear with a pipe, which he later gobbled. According to Parente, “That modeled the wrong behavior”—smoking, eating pipes—”so we reshot those scenes without the pipe, and then we dropped the parody altogether.”
Hmm, we wonder if the producers of Sesame Street have ever seen Wonder Showzen?