Last week, we broke the news in half on The Adventures of Bert and Ernie, a new 5-minute program featuring Sesame Street?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s resident odd couple transformed into clay. And if you haven?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t read it, do yourself a favor and skip down the page for a read or else my feelings will be severely hurt.
?¢‚Ç¨?ìBut,?¢‚Ç¨¬ù you say, ?¢‚Ç¨?ìhow much does Sesame Workshop really get out of one 5-minute program that will only be aired overseas??¢‚Ç¨¬ù First off, let me giggle at your use of the word ?¢‚Ç¨?ìbut.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù Secondly, that?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s a very intelligent question. Pat yourself on the back, kiddo. It turns out that The Adventures of Bert and Ernie (TAoBaE) is just the first in a small series of short-form programs being sold to networks around the world. And when there?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s a series, there?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s gotta be a second to follow that first.
The next short-form show from Sesame is aptly named Twiddlebugs, featuring (you guessed it) Twiddlebugs! The critters that live in Ernie?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s window box will be exploring their world through na?É¬Øve eyes and a slow speech pattern. But, like TAoBaE, the Twiddlebug family won?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t be appearing in their familiar puppet forms. Instead, they?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ll infest the 21st century in CGI form. 52 3-minute episodes are currently being produced and the show hasn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t yet been picked up by any networks. It will most likely begin to air in September, 2008.
As wacky as it seems, this is far from the first time the Twiddlebugs will be seen computer animated. CGI Twiddlebugs first appeared in 2002 in Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic, an attraction at Universal Studios: Japan. They only appear once at the beginning and once at the end, and none of them speak. This is also the first time anyone had seen them fly. Who needs The Fam-il-y Car anyway?
The Twiddlebug family made their CGI debut in 2006 on Sesame Street. In the sketch, the ?¢‚Ç¨Àúbugs attempt to take a family portrait, although they can?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t seem to figure out why there?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s always someone missing (SPOILER: it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s a cookbook! I mean, it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s the photographer!). Unfortunately, we?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re never given an answer to the real question: Where did they get such a small camera?
An educated Muppet fan might guess that the above sketch was created as a test to see how audiences would respond to the new Twiddlebug look. I for one was pleasantly surprised. Although it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi that only the puppet versions could offer, they still maintain the same goofiness and smallness the original provided.
So, what do these new programs mean for Sesame Street? For starters, creating new shows through a new medium frees up the puppeteers and puppet makers to focus on the Street, rather than having to split up their time. The new programs will also be aired separately from Sesame Street, which will hopefully bring new viewers to the show and sell more stuff, keeping the show on for a long, long time.
And while the Twiddlebugs are in the CGI future, Bert and Ernie are off exploring their Silly Putty imagination, Grover is traveling the globe, Cookie Monster and Prairie Dawn are eating/trying not to eat the Letter of the Day, The Count is counting the Number of the Day, Big Bird and the Two-Headed Monster are lost on their Journey to Ernie, Elmo is talking to fish in Elmo?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s World, and Oscar is busy reading his fan fic to Slimey, I think that just leaves Alan, Baby Bear, and Meryl Sheep to mind the Street.
Totally worth it.
Click here to discuss this article on the ToughPigs forum!