Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

by Puppet Nerd
Puppet Nerd - Sesame Street


One of the longest running shows in American television history, Sesame Street has served as entertainment and education for three generations of kids. The documentary, Street Gang, recounts how Sesame Street got started, the vision for the show, and the progress it has made. You can watch Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street on HBO Max right now! Here’s what you can expect from the Street Gang documentary.

Why Create a Documentary?

Sesame Street was one of the first shows, and most successful, to incorporate learning in the entertaining act of watching television. More and more we see how the digital age is resulting in children watching more TV. Sesame Street saw this and thought, lets add a positive and educational spin on this form of entertainment. 

The original idea for the Street Gang documentary came from the non-fiction Street Gang book. This anthology was released in 2008 by journalist Michael Davis and is a complete historical guide to this lovable kids’ show.

We did an interview with the creators of the documentary on the Puppet Tears Podcast. You can see it here! 

Progressive Nature of the Show

Beyond being a magnificent fusion of entertainment and learning, Sesame Street also is a rather progressive and inclusive show. The documentary recounts how during the Civil Rights Movement Sesame Street was just beginning and took much of its influence from the movement.

Not only did the show want to teach kids about numbers and letters but also about how to be kind, inclusive, and welcoming. Even to this day Sesame Street tries to set an example for kids to accept everyone, even if they are different from you.

We see this with Sesame Street’s addition of characters with Autism. This was a part of the show’s campaign for equality, termed “see amazing in all children.” The world of Sesame Street serves as a beacon of hope for what the world could be if we all took the time to show as much kindness and inclusion as the characters on the show do to one another.

Tackling Difficult Topics

The documentary recounts all the brilliant ways Sesame Street is unique in its approach. For a show that is watched by young children and toddlers, they tackle various “grown up problems.”

However, they do so in a way that children can understand. In one clip, Elmo talks with his dad about addiction. He discusses how his friend’s mom was gone for a while and now she’s back and healthier. The show is blunt about the topic being addiction to alcohol and drugs, but in a way that is not jarring for kids, only educational. 

Starting to teach these important life lessons at a young age is Sesame Street’s mission. In a world where television is used to escape the problems of daily life, Sesame Street brings the problems of the world to the screen in an educational and fun manner for kids.

Mark Your Calendars!

Sesame Street is a show unlike anything else. With over 50 years running, there’s a ton that the documentary covers. Make sure to mark your calendars for April 23rd, 2021 to see this expansive documentary about this inspiring show.

Meet the Directors! Podcast interview Below!

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