“Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sisimpur?”

I’m sure most of the people in class are familiar with the show Sesame Street. You might admit you watched it (or maybe you still do) as a child but its not something we give much thought to now. Things have a way of coming back and you can never escape your past can you? In any case no matter what age you are it is clear that Sesame Street has managed to globalize itself in its pursuit to educate pre-school age children. In the blog that I have been following this semester there was a posting about the recent PBS documentary “The World According to Sesame Street”, the blog poster stated that it is “a fascinating documentary about Sesame Street and how it has gone global, not just as “American” entertainment for children, but as a catalyst for social and economic development by targeting the youngest citizens around the world. The film follows productions in Bangladesh, Kosovo and South Africa and “examines how producers from New York’s Sesame Workshop take the iconic American television show and localize it with indigenous songs, puppets and curricula while facing cultural, political and production challenges.””

If you are interested I highly recommend looking at the website for the documentary. I perused it briefly and it just amazes me that a show I watched as a 4 year old is impacting the world. Sesame Street is played in over 120 countries and has 20 co-production of shows that are similar to the original but are more specified for the area. In South Africa they have a muppet named Kami who is HIV+. The goal is to educate young children about the fast growing problem in South Africa. In Bangladesh (where it is named Sisimpur) they have a girl muppet, named Tuktuki, that “was created to show that girls can have the same opportunities as boys”. Even in Kosovo there has been a creation of a Sesame like show (dubbed in both Serbia and Albanian) in hopes that in educating the young children it will foster a future of peace in the often unstable and violent area. Sesame Stree and its similar “spin-offs” have been highly successful in ratings and have been well recieved in these countries.

Who would have thought that Sesame Street, as radical as it was for the time it was created, would grow into an international phenomenom. Could this create some sort of future cultural unity? If you all grow up on the same street whether its called Sesame, Sisimpur or Takalani Sesame isn’t there bound to be some neighborly love and understanding?


3 Responses to ““Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sisimpur?””

  1. 1 militarybrat October 30, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    I LOVED sesame street when I was growing up. Interesting post about the show, never crossed my mind a lot of what was stated above. Good idea on using puppets with specific problems to educate children, although that is the main purpose of the show, but its cool to see how the puppets adapt to the country and culture it is aired in, targeting those certain problems. As for cultural unity, maybe not that far, but it would be something that we could all have in common-Go Sesame Street!

  2. 2 Martha October 30, 2006 at 10:44 pm

    When I was in college, I was on the debate team for one year and the cases that year were about providing security assistance to middle eastern coutnries.

    One of my creative fellow-debaters came up with an affirmative case that proposed creating a Sesame Street-like show for Israeli and Palestinian children. The argument was that the only way to really address the problems in that area of the world was by starting with (educating) the children. I had forgotten about that case until I read your post.

    I wonder if Sesame Street is making any attempt to use its platform to reshape the opinions and minds of young people about these kinds of hot-button political issues. . .I’ll defintely check out the documentary.

  3. 3 agrobick1 December 9, 2006 at 1:50 am

    That is amazing. I watched Sesame Street as a kid and I just thought the characters were hilarious. I did learn a lot from it though, numbers, letters, shapes, and colors. It is now in over 20 languages…now that is amazing!! way to go sesame street.

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