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Is Old School Sesame Street Appropriate for Kids Today?

Updated on May 14, 2015

Sesame Street Then? Sesame Street Now?

Is Old School Sesame Street Appropriate for Kids Today?

The recently released Old School Sesame Street DVDs had with them a disclaimer stating that the episodes were "intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today". What's up with that? Is there something wrong with what generation-x was taught? Are kids today different, or just their parents?

So what is it that was so bad? Cited for this warning label is Cookie Monster, who eats far too many non-nutritious cookies and is sometimes seen with a pipe. Also, Big Bird being the only one to see Snuffy is a reference to hallucinations. In the very first episode, Gordon befriended a little girl who was lonely and takes by the hand leading her to his home to meet his wife and eat milk and cookies - possible pedophile? Also, Oscar the Grouch is to grouchy and mean a character for kids watch.

Sesame Street - Old School, Vol. 1 - 1969-1974

These early 'Sesame Street' episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today

For Your Kids?

Would you allow your small children to watch Retro Sesame Street Episodes?

See results

Circa 1973

Circa 1973
Circa 1973

What do YOU think?

Tell us what you think of Old School Sesame Street and this warning label.

Are Old School Sesame Street Episodes Appropriate for Kids Today?

No, they are not appropriate.

No, they are not appropriate.

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    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I donât think it is appropriating for kids, because now dayâs educational system gets change & with that the process of teaching is also changing. Now every school prefer e-learning program for kids with that they can learn in funny ways. There are lots of DVDs also available on Market with that kids can lean through games also like some subtraction games DVDs, Times tables DVDs for kids etc.

    • feedback03 6 years ago

      As a kid I never really liked Sesame Street.

    • anonymous 7 years ago


    • legbamel lm 9 years ago

      It's not the pipe and the hallucinating that makes Sesame Street so dangerous. It's the horrible hair and clothes. What sort of example would that set for my children? It's worse than my photo albums!

    • XP 9 years ago

      Very dangerous program.

      To this day I am afraid of eight foot tall yellow birds.

      Who will pay for my rehabilitation?

    Yes, they are still appropriate.

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      • anonymous 3 years ago

        Whey are a bit different. But I don't see how they're bad. The first episode may have been messed up but hey. Blue Prints was the same thing but now its Blue's Clues a good show and Sesame Street was a good show. Its just that they were Developing the show and what they seen from family's they know how to fix it more and more.

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        I think the claim that old school Sesame Street isn't appropriate for kids today is a rather offensive claim. That's saying "Kids in 1969 are better than kids today." And nobody is calling them out on making that claim? Well, they are. And I need them to provide evidence if they're going to make that claim.

        And now they're sugar coating the show, changing the tone, and turning it into an Elmo-happy love fest? And THIS is appropriate for kids. They're saying kids today can't handle reality, and should spend their entire lives in a mental asylum so they can be shielded from it? And nobody is calling them out on these claims?

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        I can't believe that someone said that it isn't appropriate because there are video games and dvd's for learning. Sesame Street was about kids getting out and exploring, not sitting in front of a screen. The person that said that is representative of what is wrong in this country. Everything should be fun, absolutely safe and without effort. No more exploring, no more learning through actual experience and let the video screen raise the kids to be couch potatoes.

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        Oh Geez! Big Bird was not "hallucinating", most kids have imaginary friends. Most kids love cookies too, just like Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster's pipe was only shown when he was hosting Monsterpiece Theater, a satire of Masterpiece Theater in which the host had a pipe as well. Oscar's character is indeed mean and grouchy but he was added to the show to show kids that it is ok to have bad days and be in a bad mood. As for Gordon being a pedophile, you can choose for yourself whether he is or not. The media has done a very good job of making everyone paranoid of each other. Where are the little girl's parents when she's being led into Gordon's home? Times have changed indeed, maybe parents are so sensitive about shows now because they depend on the shows to teach morals and values. Maybe sit and watch with your child and explain some things about how the world used to be 30 years ago. It's not really that scary. Hallucinations? Come on!!

      • anonymous 3 years ago

        The only parents that have issues with the old series are nazi parents. What I have noticed is that the over protective parents ends up child a chold that will grow up unprepared for the real world.

      • anonymous 4 years ago must be kidding...with all the adult jokes and sexual innuendo in kids movies now and old school Sesame Street is bad because of cookies and a pipe and Oscar is to grumpy and Big Bird is supposedly on drugs...Wow people are just plain getting dumber!!!

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Stuff like this makes me want to grab people and punch them in there ubber liberal, over politically correct faces....

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        For imagination and creativity, the new one can't stand up. I would never let my kids watch the new one. Like most things, it will only twist you if the twist is already there. Generally I find that inappropriate takes on things like this are generally suggested by the parents or other adults, and the children don't thinkof those things themselves.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        New School Ebonics/Ghetto programming that teaches kids that it's ok to be fat and black? I don't think so. I am far from racist but this new generation is going to be SCARY! I voted for Obama, so don't go there. Virtual learning has already caused kids going into their 20's now to be anti-social, wrongly entitled and full of shit! What they need is a good old fashioned ass whoopin!

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        its about imagination not hallucination.people are so close-minded today because they are too afraid to face things anymore. Everyone seems to be too involved with their smart phones which seems to take them away from thinking for themselves. Kids today watch shows that seems to brainwash them with mindless story lines and flashing colors and noises that would make anyone go into an epileptic seizure. Take away your kids Ds's and cellphones (mind you 10 year olds with cell phones??) and hand them a book or force them to go outside and play. Push kids to use their imaginations, creative minds, and appreciate the world around them and we will all just be fine! lighten up!!!!!

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        What is going to know what the heck a hallucination is and if they do then its the parents who are the problem not the show

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Yes, it is so innocent. I grew up with it and learned to count even in Spanish! As a child, Big Bird didn't scare me, I knew he was funny and not real, nor did Mr. Snuffalafagous make me think anyone was disillusional!! It is the adults nowadays that are reading too much into it. Parents who oppose Sesame street, but yet buy them games and DVDs that promote violence, killing and destruction????!!!

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        The old Sesame Street was gentle and loving, as well as entertaining and educational. Children of Sesame Street age need to be nurtured. Sesame Street did that. Cookie Monster and his cookies were funny, not role models. Bert and Ernie were friends and cared about each other. . Muppets can be friends, but they are not real. My kids loved the old Sesame Street. Life lessons about strangers and other dangers were taught at home and learned well.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        Sesame street is awesome and should never of been changed

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        PC has taken over common sense. Kids don't think like that - only PC and strange adults would even go there! The characters showed how it is in the real world without trying to cover them up. This helps children know how to handle different types of people and situations. Now they try to cover it up and look and see how 'great' it is now as opposed to a few years earlier. We watched it and it was good enough for us and is as well for our children.

      • anonymous 4 years ago

        yes they were great for me as a kid and I have no problem with my little one's watching them either. It's a little absurd if you ask me. I laughed when I heard the reasons stated above. And I wasn't laughing because I thought that this was funny in any way. If you ask me it's loony's or over zealouse individuals who make it unbearable for us normal people to lead a normal healthy life. I promise that my child who eats healthy wouldn't think anything abnormal because cookie monster eats a few more cookies in the older episodes. ( like to point out that there is just if not more scits showing healthy eating behavior) And I never thought that Big Bird had hullacinations, get over yourselves people!! You have nothing better than to think crazy thoughts... And I'm not even going to go there with the pedophile suggestions. You should be ashamed of yourselves people!!

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Something I don't get. Learning numbers and letters has become unacceptable over the years? How is that not intended for my kids? I show them lots of stuff I grew up with, cause It's easier to understand than the new stuff they show.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        OLD School Sesame Street is 100% better than the new ones...basically the only reason I'd put a new one on is for Elmo's world but over all the NEW ones are JUNK!!!! They barley teach anything compared to the OLD one.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Of course they are, they're a bit corny but if u sit with your children and explain to them about the beginnings of sesame street and teach them and laugh with them theres no harm done. I love sesame street and i watched it and learned and then watched it with my son (whos 22) My son has seen some of the old and the new also. To this day i still watch all the retro sesame street and also the electric company. This is what kids need to see .

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        where are ernie and bert's parents? are they brothers or gay?

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        What's wrong with people today. The media has a way of taking something that was an important part of our (for most children in the 70's & 80's) childhoods, and turning it into something suspect. What a shame and what will our children have to look forward to.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        They are abosolutely appropriate. The problem with children's television today is they've either dumbed it down to the point that it's not even educational anymore or it's excruciatingly patronizing. The Sesame Street that I used to watch was intelligent and funny. It promoted diversity, acceptance of self and others, made learning entertaining, and took grown-up subjects that all children have questions about and put them in a non-threatening and understandable format without the condescension that is so aggravating to most children today. And this is just the tip of the iceburg of what Sesame Street taught me as a child.

      • Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

        Why wouldn't they be appropriate. Good grief, all those children who watched them did not die of brain rot and I don't know of any who eat pipes or smoke because they saw it on Sesame Street. Let's continue to dumb-down our children and stop them from making informed decisions.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        Actually, I taped the old episodes from Noggin for my children. They only watch those. PBS, CTW has gotten way too PC, ultra-sensitive, and "feminized." My boys are going to learn that yes indeed, " One of these things is NOT like the others; one of these things DOSEN'T belong."

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        Hallucinations?!? Didn't we all have imaginary friends at one point in our childhood? For crying out loud.

        Our future is bleak if the children we are raising today in a bubble-wrapped and filtered world end up leading our country tomorrow.

        Most kids are innocent enough that when they see a grown-up person being friendly, to them it is just a grown-up person being friendly.

        I didn't know what a pedophile was when I was 5. And what 5 year old should? It is up to us as parents to be aware of our young children enough that they can remain safe and protected and still maintain their innocent minds. We need to stop projecting our own jaded/perverted/damaged minds onto our children.

        And FFS, give them some credit. The understanding that cookies are a sometimes food is much more effective than simply denying the existence of cookies altogether. Every kid is a cookie monster and we don't have to teach it to them. The desire to binge on junk food isn't borne by example. It is borne by junk food's deliciousness and excessive availability. Cookie monster didn't teach me to want cookies. My mom did.

        IMO, the NEW Sesame Street (and much of the rest of TV today - ie: Disney) is not appropriate for kids yesterday, today nor tomorrow. Who has seen iCarly act snobby to the new kid at school? Just saying...

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        They're a lot more appropriate than today's Sesame Street.... or should we call it, "The Elmo Show".

        My husband an I are about to have our first child, and I will not allow her to watch Sesame Street. Elmo is the antithesis of what I want our children to grow up to be. He is annoying, self-absorbed, and immature. Sadly to say, as a teacher, I do see that Elmo personifies many of today's youth, and it is this kind of attitude that is going to further weaken the fabric of American society.

        We will gladly, however, allow our child to watch the Old School videos. Yes, they're a little trippy, and yes, they play off the naivety of young children, but wouldn't it be a better world if our kids learned to trust, learned to view things from different perspectives, learned to accept people and to look for the good in them (even the grouches of the world)?

        The old Sesame Street was so creative in a grass-roots, idealistic sort of way. Today, our children are shielded so much in a cloak of political correctness and educational standards, that their window into the world is often blocked by these things, and their view into the world has become severely limited.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        ARE THESE PEOPLE MAD??? how can you ban a cookie monster because he likes cookies? it shows the fact that everyone sometimes wants something unhealthy, and they even made a "cookies are a sometime food" song. remember? and snuffy was not a hullucination because one time everyone could see and play with him. and passing a friendly neighborly man helping a sad little girl for a pedafile is just insane, plus they didnt even have pedafiles back then. and oscar the grouch was yes rude at some points, but he always did something nice. it shows kids to always be polite even when you feel differently. these are just overprotective parents who are trying to hide their kids from someting that is completyely harmless. if they actually went through with this, they have ruined the origanal idea for this incredible, timeless, unforgettible, loving show.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        HAVE PEOPLE GONE MAD? whats wrong with a cookie monster? its not like he never learned not to eat cookies all the time. remember the sometime food song? and even then they were always oatmeal cookies. big bird is a loving sweet character and snuffy was never a hullucination because they could see and play with him. the grouch even though rude at sometimes always did nice things. it showed kids to be nice and polite when feeling differently. and because gordan gave a sad little girl some cookies and was sweet to her means he is a pedafile? this was the 70s we are talking about. there were no pedafiles. just nice, friendly neighbors who cared about you. this is a complete outrage. sesame street was and still is my favorite show and is made for kids to learn and grow. how protective can you be to ban something completely harmless?

      • jp1978 6 years ago

        I loved Sesame Street as a kid. I think those warning labels are just part of a PC, please-don't-sue-us culture.

      • Laucu9 6 years ago

        Big Bird will always be creepy and any adult on a kids show could be passed off as a pedophile. People who don't let their kids watch stuff like that are creating naive, apathetic people who won't ever be able to figure anything out for themselves. I loved Sesame Street when I was a kid, my daughter loves it now... I don't think I would have let a stranger lead me to his house and feed me cookies. Let's give our youth more credit.

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        Saw an episode made in the 70's that had to do with Big Bird being imaginary. At one point, the children were asked, "What are you, high?" - Franky I think that this would go over the heads of the preschoolers of today and all, but lots of people do so like to pamper them. I'm sure they're just trying to avoid a lawsuit.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        Yes they are. I feel that canceling Snuffy ,Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, and accusing Gordon of being a pedophile is outragous and completely idiotic. Canceling Snuffy was stupid because in the end he was real and everyone was able to see him and talk and play with him. Canceling Cookie Monster was stupid because he was showing the inner child of most people kids and adults. He was showing us this by eating pies and cookies. Parents have control over what their kids eat so having Cookie Monster on Sesame Street was doing no harm to any child at all. Oscar was one of the loved characters from Sesame Street by children of all ages. Yea he was mean but he always did nice things for others showing kids that everyone should be nice whether they are mean or friendly. Accusing Gordon of being a pedophile because he helped a little girl in need by holding her hand to console her and introducing her to a lving environment by giving her milk and cookies and introducing her to his family was stupid. He was showing that if someone is in need yo should try and help them.So all in all i feel that these characters should be put back on air and for the overprotective parents to think of the meaning of what the characters are doing before they try and get them canceled.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        i think that those negative comments are uncalled for.we gre up with old school sesame street.we all turned out okay except xp.i believe that oldschool was more entertaining.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        I personally find Old School sesame street more entertaining than todays boring child version of sesame street. The Colors and the music of the old school was much more interesting and would catch your attention almost instantly! On another note, "the very first episode, Gordon befriended a little girl who was lonely and takes by the hand leading her to his home to meet his wife and eat milk and cookies - possible pedophile?" is a no. See back in the 70's/80's people would most definitely keep there doors wide open because there was a sense of Community and neighbor-ism. So really, pedophiles weren't of concern then. But now-a-days we most certainly do consider these things happening because we don't take the time to get to know our neighborhood. I'm sure that if you were to take a census of which show children prefer , almost 70% ( or more ) would easily say that OLD SCHOOL sesame street is MUCH better and MORE entertaining. Even if there is some adult humor or content, these things are not really recognizable to young children, and even if they do , it is up to the parent to decide how they want to deal with the situation.

      • Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

        Of course they are! A lot of people I know who grew up watching old school Sesame Street are at the top of their fields. That should say something about the quality of the shows back then. (:

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        Anything that will teach my child the alphabet must be good in my opinion. My Mum was faced with similar disapproval in the early eighties at whether it was appropriate viewing for me then...that I might somehow become "American". My daughter has been watching the muppets since she was born...and anything must be better than Sesame Tree, the modern replacement!

      • nickupton lm 7 years ago

        They should be compulsory viewing.

      • Brookelorren LM 8 years ago

        Give me a break. There are fewer well-adjusted kids now more than ever, and part of the reason is because we're sissifying them. Even though Cookie Monster didn't eat vegetables, the kids that watched him were less likely to be obese.

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        RUFN kidding me?!

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        Oh, please. Are we really having this conversation?

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        Nowadays, there is a problem with everything. Teletubbies are rumored to be Gay, Bert and Ernie are Homosexuals andnow this crap about the old Sesame Street? Oh please. It was good for my generation and I have grown up fine. I am a prekindergarten teacher and I wish they would air some shows that used to be on back in the day. They taught kids more. Are we really making a comparison betwee giddy Elmo (who is constantly refering to himself in the 3rd person) To an educational Sesame Street that had be counting to 20 at 15 months? People need to grow the hell up!

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        Yes they still are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:(

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        What the heck is wrong with you? When you see Cookie Monster eating cookies, you don't generally think, "Oh wow. How unhealthy!" Especially the younger kids. A lot of kids watch the Fox TV show the Simpsons, and that is much more inappropriate.

        The pipe thing is also pretty irrelevant. We see homeless people smoking all the time, especially in big cities. Those aren't even pipes, those are cigarettes!

        Another thing. Big Bird isn't hallucinating when he sees Snuffy. He has an imaginary friend! So did most kids back in the day. I feel bad for anyone who didn't have enough imagination.

        The only reasonable one is when Gordon takes the girl home- that itself is borderline. There should have been a better way to portray that, while teaching kids talking to strangers isn't safe! That's what we need, not to lock Sesame Street away.

        My last lecture is on Oscar. Sure, he's a grouchy character, but you need to teach kids not to get too upset when one of their friends is having a sad grouchy day.

        That's really all I have to say, I just want everyone to know that this show is not bad at all!

      • anonymous 8 years ago

        What the hell is wrong with people these days? I think that something that little shouldn't merit a warning.

      • Dorbledog 8 years ago

        Of course they're appropriate. Certainly there were a few lines and jokes that seemed to be geared towards adults, but the show is just fine for young children.

      • EelKat13 8 years ago

        Hey! I grew up on old Sesame Street, how dare they find fault with it! Between Sesame Street and Captain Kangaroo, I learned to read and write by age 3.

        I also developed a love for weird guys with pointed ears, funny cloths, and who lived by themselves in spooky castles playing pipe organs and talking to pet bats and spiders.... huh... never thought of it that was before. Can I blame Sesame Street for my obsession with vampires and all guys who in any way resemble a vampire? *Looks at my current obsession with Sesshomaru and realizes the long term dangers of watching too much Sesame Street* :) LOL!

        I still love (and still watch!) Sesame Street, and Count Von Count is still my fave character.

        Whoever decided on the *new rating system* was a quack.

      • anonymous 9 years ago

        Well, I'm not too screwed up so how bad can they be? :)

      • VictoriaNeely1 9 years ago

        America really needs to stop bubble-wrapping today's kids, who are supposed to be tomorrow's grownups. If we have to shield them from *Sesame Street*, of all things, how will they cope when they have to deal with the real world?

      • bdkz 9 years ago

        Yes, they are still appropriate and really entertaining for kids.

      • enslavedbyfaeries 9 years ago

        My girls spent hours watching clips of old school Sesame Street on youtube and giggled through every one of them. I adored the show as a kid and love that my girls have a chance to feel the nostalgia so many years later.

      • fefe42 9 years ago

        Heaven forbid they see Cookie Monster with a pipe or eating only cookies without veggies! If I have kids I will not care if they watch old school Sesame Street. What is this world coming to.

      Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, appears with the disputed pipe

      Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, appears with the disputed pipe
      Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, appears with the disputed pipe

      Monsterpiece Theatre

      One item often brought up about the Old School Sesame Street episodes are the appearances of Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, who sits smoking a pipe in the clip (which at the end he eats). Do you think kids take this as an endorsement of smoking?

      Sesame Street - Old School, Vol. 2 - 1974 - 1979

      Cookie Monster

      Yes, it is true...Cookie Monster likes cookies, and cookies are not the most nutritional food in the world. But, is this really a problem? Should we push a pro-nutritional food agenda to the point that we can't allow kids to enjoy cookies?

      Only Big Bird Saw Snuffy - hallucinations?

      Only Big Bird Saw Snuffy - hallucinations?
      Only Big Bird Saw Snuffy - hallucinations?

      What do you think of Sesame Street, new or old?


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          Mark Falco 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

          I'd rather them watch Sesame Street (old or new) than 5 minutes of Yo Gabba Gabba or Barney. I can feel my own brain cells dropping dead by the thousands during those show and I'm pretty sure there'll be studies in the future linking them to lower IQ levels or something... (I'm joking...well, mostly).

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          phoenix arizona f 6 years ago

          They have these on Netflix and our son watches them all the time.

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          Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

          As we continue to sanitize the world that these kids live in now, they are less able to think for themselves. Maybe many parents have not heard of a teachable moment but with the pipe, what a great time to say that it's yucky and have your kid agree. Angel blessed

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          Kiwisoutback 6 years ago from Massachusetts

          The new Sesame Street is segmented. 10 minutes of Sesame Street, 15 minutes of cartoons,followed by (the ultra PC) Elmo's World which takes up the rest of the show. My daughter watches it and it pales in comparison to the fun episodes of the 70's and 80's. I get that they don't want Oscar as grouchy or Cookie Monster as gluttonous, but wasn't that the whole point/fun of it?

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          Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

          I have chanced upon episodes of the new Sesame Street and have found them lacking of the imagination, charm & wit of the old school episodes. I'm not a parent (yet) but I seriously don't see anything wrong with letting a child watching the old clips - in fact it might benefit them to see both the old & new stuff. You have a wonderful lens & a very good discussion going on here, Kab! *blessed by an angel*

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          Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

          I always loved the clip of the boy trying to put on his pajamas. He must be 40 years old now but the clips still run. I have always wondered if he can get them on yet.

          Sesame Street was always appropriate for kids.

          5 stars from Fancy Nancy.

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          legbamel lm 9 years ago

          We've got several Sesame Street videos and most of them have old-school clips to go along with the newer bits. I secretly love to watch them, too.

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          anonymous 9 years ago

          I watched sesame street when I was young and I think it is far worse now than it ever was then. At least when I watched it you only ASSUMED bert and ernie were gay, and no one was HIV positive.

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          XP 9 years ago

          Great lens!

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          RuthCoffee 9 years ago

          Good debate. The old stuff is fine by me, there is afterall the real world and if parents disagree with something, discussing it at that point can be very educational.

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          religions7 9 years ago

          Love this. There is sometimes a bit too much 'politically correct' stuff going on... I suppose they just HAD to add that disclaimer, or be sued...

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          enslavedbyfaeries 9 years ago

          Love your lens and Old School Sesame! 5*'s

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          fefe42 9 years ago

          Old Sesame Street is the way to go. The new stuff is just not as good. Kids with good parents know you don't model your behavior after Cookie Monster smoking a pipe and eating a cookie only diet. And so what if only Big Bird can see Snuffy--I don't think that caused kids to get imaginary friends.