I grew up on “Sesame Street.”

Obviously, I’m hardly alone in that. Generations of children spent large chunks of their formative years engaging with that unique blend of education and entertainment that sprang onto the public television airwaves in the late 1960s. Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone out there without at least a passing awareness of “Sesame Street.”

That kind of pervasive cultural omnipresence is a thing of the past now, with ever-increasing striation and stratification greatly reducing the potential footprint of any creative content. Still, there’s no doubt that “Sesame Street” remains an important touchstone for millions of people.

“Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street,” a new documentary about the show, attempts to break down the origins of what would become a phenomenon. It’s a look into how the project came to be and features interviews – both new and archival – with some of the primary figures responsible for making it all happen.

Now, this film could easily have coasted on the nostalgia wave inspired in so many of us by the mere mention of the show. And one could argue that by ending the story when it does – with the passing of Jim Henson – it avoids some of the thornier aspects of the show’s later years. However, this is not a viewing of the show’s history through a rose-colored prism – the film treats those first two decades honestly, the deep-dive ethos of director Marilyn Agrelo focusing on embracing the positive and not-so-positive aspects alike.

Published in Movies


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