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15 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "Sesame Street"

Cookie Monster has a first name! And more.

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1. Oscar the Grouch was orange on season one.

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Jim Henson changed Oscar to his more traditional green for sesason two. To explain the change, Oscar says he went on vacation to a swamp called Mushy Muddy, which made him turn green overnight.

4. Psychology Today attempted (tongue-in-cheek) to diagnose the Sesame Street characters with mental disorders.

The Count has OCD (in the form of arithomania), and Cookie Monster has an eating disorder. Ernie has a form of ADD, while Bert has OCPD (Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder). Snuffleupagus often appears severely depressed, and Big Bird, PT says, is schizophrenic due to having an imaginary best friend.


6. In 2002, the South African version of Sesame Street debuted an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

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Kami, whose addition was deemed important for the geographical area, contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. Her mother also died of HIV/AIDS.


9. A muppet named Roosevelt Franklin was dropped from the cast after viewers complained he perpetuated a negative African-American stereotype.

Sesame Street

Roosevelt Franklin appeared on seasons 1-7 of the show before getting canned. Many in the black community took issue with how Franklin was portrayed; some felt Franklin's hyperactive personality and penchant for landing in detention was problematic, and others didn't believe his persona authentically represented the black experience.

10. In 2003, detainees at Guantanamo Bay were reportedly tortured by being forced to listen to the Sesame Street theme song for hours on end.

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Prisoners were forced to wear headphones that blasted the chirpy Sesame Street theme for hours or days on end, according to a report that surfaced in 2008. (Christopher Cerf, the composer of the song, reveals his umbrage with this in an Al Jazeera documentary.)

12. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street.

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13. Big Bird performed "It's Not Easy Being Green" at Jim Henson's memorial in 1990.

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Henson's requests for the memorial were that no one wear black, and that a jazz band be present.

15. Bert and Ernie, according to official Sesame Street statements, are not gay.


Despite long-time rumors that the pair are meant to portray a gay couple, Sesame Street has repeatedly released statements saying otherwise. According to one 2011 statement: "Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics... they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."