Sesame Street Fighter

Is that a horrible title? Yes, I didn’t think so either.

So, as a former employee of the Public Broadcasting System, let me just reiterate Homer J. Simpson, scholar, when he says “…the rich mosaic of cable programming has made public television so very, very unnecessary.” I couldn’t agree more. Sure, there are good things about PBS. Where else could you see Modest Mouse share the stage with Guided by Voices on a Saturday night? And who can forget the intriguing hilarity of Dick Proeneke’s adventures in Alone in the Wilderness? But in the end, even if Sesame Street is more valuable for my kid to stare zombified at than Squarebob Spongeteeth, it’s still just TV and it’s still available from a lot of other people who can do it better (sans the tax-payer dollars).

I think the main problem lies not in PBS itself, but all of the not-so-big wigs running the show in the little affiliate “member stations” (as they’re known by those on the inside). PBS has a vision. It’s a giant red dog who teaches us that, by simply being kind-hearted in nature, you can crush the denizens of a small island and not be at fault. It’s the notion that a fuzzy green monster living in a garbage can, eating trash and talking to worms is completely normal, and not at all socially unacceptable. It’s an inspirational whimsy that by watching PBS you gain knowledge and can walk around with an heir about you that is simultaneously haughty and philanthropic (and you’ll have the mug to prove it too, dammit!)

All of this aside, here are my top 5 dos and ish don’t think sos regarding PBS:


  1. Local content. No other network or cable station offers up as much interesting information on the history of Pittsburgh, Erie or (insert hometown here). The one good thing a local station can do is create as much content like this as possible.
  2. Secrets of the Dead. From exploring ergot poisoning and how it relates to the Salem Witch Trials to a biography of the Black Plague, this is simply the best show on television.
  3. Movies. PBS is constantly hooking up with HBO to deliver really great movies, like Whale Rider and Yesterday.
  4. Jim Henson. If it wasn’t for Sesame Street, kids these days may not even get a chance to know the curly eye-browed antics of a good Henson puppet. But where is Kermit on Sesame Street these days? Jim did the voice for Kermit, so I wonder if they retired him when Mr. H died?
  5. Less Commercials. While PBS isn’t supposed to technically have commercials, let’s face it – that junk they smoosh between shows is just that. But at least it’s all compacted into four or five minutes towards the end. Bravo.

Ish Don’t Think Sos

  1. Antiques Roadshow. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that Grandmothers shouldn’t be allowed to watch TV. This is what happens when they are.
  2. Britcoms. There is very little that is humorous about British humor. There, I’ve said it. Seriously, Milligan, Everett, Cleese…
  3. Pledge Drives. Sure, I know, this is necessary. All bums have to beg for money, at least PBS doesn’t smell bad and spend your money on cheap booze (they buy the good stuff, for their board members…)
  4. The People on Pledge Drives. It’s almost as though they grab any random employee, no matter how bad they mumble, no matter how ugly, fat and bald they are, no matter how uninteresting of a personality they have, and throw them on TV to make you feel bad and therefore donate cash. No, seriously, that’s what they do.
  5. Yani, Daniel O’Donnell, and the rest of those foreign singing people. Why is it that PBS’ll be packed full of good programming when they’re not asking for money, and then when they do put on the Pledge Drive Fever, they’re full of this dancing, grannie panties being thrown on stage, bullarky?

NPR (National Public Radio), on the other hand, is a shining example of how not to be like PBS, with a wonderful amalgamation of earlectable worthiness in their simple gumbo of news, entertainment and music that no one likes to hear.

Up Next: The answer is, Yes.