Incarcerated Fuzzfaces: Sesame Street Addresses The Prison Epidemic
Yesterday, NBC did a story on a new addition to The Muppets named Alex, whose father is in jail. Exploring new territory for the Sesame Street crew, Alex is the first character to have an incarcerated parent and while he won't be a regular on Sesame Street the TV show, he will be featured in an online toolkit designed to help parents talk to their kids about imprisonment.
While it may seem surprising to hear about such heavy subject matter from the classic early morning's kids programming, Sesame Street has a long history of tackling "tough topics" like death, divorce, and deployment in an effort to help young kids understand what's going on around them--in fact, The Muppets took a trip to Rikers this Sunday to help some families celebrate Father's Day!
Even though Sesame Street characters used to really creep me out, there's some kind of genius at work here. Hopefully, this will add to their record of helping kids cope with complicated circumstances and maybe Alex will get a regular spot on the Street. But perhaps more importantly, hopefully soon fewer kids will need to follow Alex's model and the dudes in DC will start to make moves to stop mass incarceration. For now, you can direct any tots you know to Sesame Street for support and you might even see one of your favorite rhymers on the show.
Shouts to NBC.