Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sesame Street Therapy

A friend of mine is convinced that if people who were mad at each other would just sit down and watch the Muppets for six weeks straight, they'd learn to get a long better. I believe there's thruth in that: Best ways to get to know a person is laugh with them or cry with them. So the next time you're angry at someone, sit them down and watch all the Sesame Street videos in this vein: The Mad Painter.

My favorite Mad Painter interlude came when he painted the Number 8 on the bald man's head. Why the man simply let him paint -- even when he handed him the 8 to hold while he painted -- always befuddled me. I do appreciate, however, the Mad Painter's strict adherence to protocol. Before he begins painting the Number 8, he does remove his swim mask and snorkel, replacing them with his signature bowler hat.

The actor behind the paint brush is Paul Benedict, who it seems did a lot of work in TV and film, but not much in the films I've seen. He does appear as Judge Womack in The Addams Family. He's also credited as "The Zen Buddhist" in that Dick Van Dyke classic, Cold Turkey. And, based on that chin, he could probably do a mean John Kerry.

I'd like to meet him one of these days and say, "Thank you, Mad Painter. You made my childhood a bit more surreal." Because who wouldn't want as a role model a guy who painted numbers on random things?

The more I think about Sesame Street (and who isn't thinking more of S.S. these days, given the headlines) the more I realize its true gift was breaking down that Fourth Wall and talking directly to we children. They, and Mr. Rogers, excelled at that. Thanks.


Maaike said...

You are SO RIGHT!! I miss S.S. and the days of Blueys in the backyard. Governmental bailouts using my tax money meant nothing to me back then. Just a couple of sticks, bricks, and brothers.

Brian Davidson said...

Yes, simpler times. And the more I watch of these old Sesame Street clips, the more I realize how much S.S. I watched as a kid.

So, since both of us hark back to the good ol' days, does that makes us like Tolkein's elves, or Denethor, who wishes things could be "as they were," so to say?