When you compare me to most teenagers, my television habits are pretty normal. I have my sitcom—“How I Met Your Mother”—that I watch religiously. I analyze “Lost” for hours on end, and can follow “Gossip Girl” and “Glee” relatively easily.
But I have a secret addiction.
I start every morning with a couple minutes of the same show, watching more clips in the evening from YouTube or my DVR. It’s an hour-long show, with celebrity guest stars and regular characters.
Confession: I’m addicted to “Sesame Street.”
When I try and admit my obsession to my friends, they just shrug it off. I mean, I have an 18-month-old brother. Of course I occasionally catch Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird.
But seriously, I think I’ve gone a bit too far. I can carry conversations for hours discussing the show’s (appalling) switch to overemphasizing Elmo. I know all the words to every Muppet theme song—“Elmo’s World,” “C Is For Cookie” and everything else. I have favorite episodes and sketches that I’ve almost completely memorized.
This goes beyond sisterhood.
At first it wasn’t even a problem. I kept my feelings concealed till I got home, where I could burst into Sesame song.
But lately, I’ve lost control. I hear someone say the word “adventure” and I begin singing one of Bert and Ernie’s songs. When I hear Jason Mraz, my instinct isn’t to sing “I’m Yours,” but rather his duet with Elmo, “Outdoors.” And I don’t even know the real words to Feist’s “1234,” but I can sing her monster-inspired Sesame version by heart.
I think I need some form of treatment, but nothing’s worked. When I try to quit cold turkey, I find myself sneaking onto YouTube to watch Ricky Gervais’ “Celebrity Lullaby” sketch. When I watch TV that’s actually age-appropriate, I go crazy wondering what’s today’s letter of the day.
But I’ve decided I shouldn’t have to hide. And if I have any fellow children’s show fans— maybe they like “Sesame Street” or “Arthur” or “Hey Arnold”— they shouldn’t be ashamed either. Re-watching childhood favorites may seem silly, but there’s so much we missed when we watched as children.
Even if we’re taller or more mature, we don’t need to outgrow what we once enjoyed. More importantly, those shows have lessons that transcend age—the value of sharing or imagination or taking the time to relax and be happy. I don’t think anyone would want to miss out on the fun those themes offer.
Besides, it’s nice to be somewhere where days are sunny, and air’s always sweet.