Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce

Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce

Infobox Television episode
Title = Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce
Series = "Sesame Street"

Caption =
Season = 23
Episode = 19
Airdate = nonecite news |first=Richard J. |last=Newman |title=Not So Sunny Days |url= |work=U.S. News & World Report |publisher=U.S.News & World Report, L.P. |pages= |page= |date=1992-04-20 |accessdate= |language=English |quote= ] cite news |first= |last= |title='D' Won't Do for Divorce. |url= |work=Herald Sun |publisher=Herald and Weekly Times Ltd |pages= |page= |date=1992-03-17 |accessdate= |language=English |quote= ]
Production = 2895cite journal | author = Sesame Street Research | year = 1992 | title = Study on show #2985, Snuffy's parents get a divorce | journal = | volume = | issue = | pages = | publisher = Children's Television Workshop | location = New York, New York | issn = | pmid = | doi = | bibcode = | oclc = 43694286 | id = | url = | language = English | accessdate = 2008-04-08 | laysummary = "G is for Growing" | laysource = [ References] | laydate = 2000-12-01 (Note that the original study was unpublished, however it was cited in the mentioned laysource.)]
Writer = Norman Stiles
Director =
Guests = Judy Sladsky as Alice Snuffleupagus
Prev = 2894
Next = 2896
Episode list =

Episode 2895, unofficially titled "Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce", is a filmed yet un-aired episode of the American television show "Sesame Street".cite book |editor=Rosemarie Truglio, Shalom M. Fisch |title="G" Is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and Sesame Street |origdate=2000-12-01 |url= |format=Hardcover |edition=1st |series=LEA's Communication Series |publisher=Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc. |location=Florence, Kentucky |language=English |isbn=0805833943 |oclc=43694286 |doi= |id= |pages=288 |quote= : Page 76.] The episode was created for broadcast in 1992, but shelved by most broadcasters and producers once test audiences to the program weren't able to understand the concept of divorce.

Launched in 1969, the children's television program "Sesame Street" was created with modern, lower-class, urban audiences in mind. [cite book | last = Fisch | first = Shalom M. | authorlink = | title = Children's Learning from Educational Television: Sesame Street and Beyond | origyear = 2004 | url = | accessdate = 2008-01-14 | publisher = Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. (Routledge) | location = Mahwah, NJ | language = English | isbn = 0805839364 | oclc = 51936820 | pages = 16-17 | chapter = "Sesame Street" and School Readiness | chapterurl = | quote = | ref = ] [cite journal | coauthors = Samuel Ball, Gerry Ann Bogatz
title = A Summary of the Major Findings in "The First Year of Sesame Street: An Evaluation".
journal = | pages = 33 | publisher = Educational Testing Service | location = Princeton, New Jersey | date = 1970-10-00 | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-08
] [cite journal | coauthors = K. I. Lemercier, G. R. Teasdale | title = "Sesame street": Some effects of a television programme on the cognitive skills of young children from lower SES backgrounds | journal = Australian Psychologist | volume = 8 | issue = 1 | pages = 47–51 | publisher = Taylor & Francis | location = London, England | issn = 0005-0067 | date = 1973-03-00 | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-08 | doi = 10.1080/00050067308255391 | author = Lemercier, K. I. (note that SES means "socioeconomic status".)] While the audience quickly expanded beyond the initial demographic, the program stayed committed to occasionally tackling serious issues such as death, [Elana Halberstadt, " [ WHAT'S NEAR BIG BIRD'S NEST?] ", "Sesame Street Beat Newsletter", December 14, 1999.] cite news | title = Death of a Character is a Sesame Street Topic | language = English | publisher = Associated Press | date = 1983-09-31 ] [ cite book | last = Harris | first = Richard Jackson | title = A cognitive psychology of mass communication |edition=4th | publisher = Routledge | year = 2004 | location = Mahwah, New Jersey | pages = pp. 129-132 | url =|chapter=Children and the Media | isbn = 0805846603] adoption, [Leigh Belz, " [ HAPPY BIRTHDAY SESAME STREET!] ", "Sesame Street Beat Newsletter", November 7, 2000.] marriage, [Elana Halberstadt, " [ LOVE STORY: THE MARIA AND LUIS ROMANCE] ", "Sesame Street Beat Newsletter", February 8, 2000.] cite book | coauthors = George Comstock, Erica Scharrer | title = Media and the American Child | publisher = Academic Press | date = 2007-00-00 | location = Burlington, Massachusetts | pages = pp. 142 | url = | isbn = 0123725429 ] and pregnancy. [" [ SESAME STREET, BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NUMBER, 35!!!] ", "Sesame Workshop" press release, 2004.] These episodes are often inspired by national statistics or events within the circle of the show's own cast and crew.

In Season 23 (1992), the subject of divorce was the big project of the season.cite book |editor=Rosemarie Truglio, Shalom M. Fisch |title="G" Is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and Sesame Street |origdate=2000-12-01 |url= |format=Hardcover |edition=1st |series=LEA's Communication Series |publisher=Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc. |location=Florence, Kentucky |language=English |isbn=0805833943 |oclc=43694286 |doi= |id= |pages=288 |quote= : Page 76.] As a result, producers filmed an episode "Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce", in which Aloysius Snuffleupagus (also known as Snuffy) and little sister Alice must deal with the separation of their parents. The plot seemed to trouble children who watched it in test screenings, essentially afflicting the comfortable, rather than comforting the afflicted.

Conceptual inception

The decision to tackle the issue of divorce was a weighty one for the Children's Television Workshop, and the idea had a long gestation period. As early as 1989, writer/director Jon Stone announced that he was attempting to examine the issue: "We make a conscious decision on what to look at. My two projects for this year are drugs and divorce. Divorce is a difficult one. Perhaps we could do it with puppets. I am also writing a script on drugs and peer pressure." [cite news |first=Cohen |last=Muriel |title=Street Smarts |url= |work=The Boston Globe |publisher=Affiliated Publications |pages= |page= |date=1989-10-29 |accessdate= |language=English |quote= ]

Not everyone in the production shared Stone's interest. Executive producer Dulcy Singer vetoed the idea in 1990, before it reached development. While she felt complex social matters should be discussed on the series, she felt the issue was irrelevant to lower socio-economic groups; the initial target audience of "Sesame Street" was inner city and financially disadvantaged families.

Feeling that "divorce is a middle-class thing," she suggested instead that an episode focus on a single-parent family, with the child born out of wedlock with an absent father. [cite news |first=Salam |last=Alaton |title=Street Smarts |url= |work=The Globe and Mail |publisher=Thomson Group |pages= |page= |date=1990-01-27 |accessdate= |language=English |quote= ]

The topic of divorce was discussed again the following year, after the US Census Bureau released statistics suggesting 40 percent of all children in the United States, not just the middle classes, would soon live in divorced households.

Choosing an approach

Crafting an episode from the topic required adjustment from both the performers and production crew alike.

The first obstacle was determining how to address the issue in a narrative, and whether to use the Muppet characters or the human cast. Producer-director Lisa Simon publicly reported on the difficulties: "We hope to get to it by the end of the season. It always takes us a while to figure out how to do an issue appropriately, from a child's point of view... With puppets, it's slightly less frightening...The kids have somebody to identify with. They see the puppet characters have feelings and work through a difficult issue many of them will have to face." [cite news |first= |last= |title=Tackling Divorce |url= |work=The Advertiser |publisher=News Corporation |pages= |page= |date=1991-11-08 |accessdate= |language=English |quote= ]

Veteran cast member Jerry Nelson noted that "Now we delve into things like divorce that are likely to affect small children very heavily. We didn't touch those things before." [cite news |first=Courant |last=Hartford |title=Big Bird, Friends Begin 23rd Season |url= |format= |work=The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec) |publisher=Southam Inc. |pages= |page= |date=1991-11-07 |accessdate= |language=English |quote= ] According to Bob McGrath, a decision was finally made to use Muppets, and specifically the family of Mr. Snuffleupagus:

Test results

Staff writer Norman Stiles was assigned to the script, which the Children's Television Workshop scheduled to air 10 April 1992 as episode number 2895. Stiles previously wrote episode 1839, in which the adults on Sesame Street explain Mr. Hooper's death to Big Bird.

As with Mr. Hooper's death, the script received great scrutiny by the show's advisory board and developmental psychologists. The board suggested providing greater emphasis to the fact that arguments do not automatically mean divorce. The episode was taped after a script revision, and the completed episode screened before a test audience of 60 children in four daycare centers. Dulcy Singer still had her doubts: "We were really nervous about the show, and we didn't think it was a shoo-in. When you're dealing with something like death, the approach can be universal. But with divorce, it's so personal. People react differently."

The final episode addressed the advisors' concerns via a conversation in which Gordon reassures Elmo, Big Bird, and Telly that "Just because parents have an argument, or get upset with each other, doesn't mean they're getting a divorce... Or that they don't love each other anymore." He also reassured Snuffy and his sister Alice that it's not their fault, "No, not even if you spill something."

The reassurances had little effect on the test viewers, however, especially taken in conjunction with the rest of the episode. While Mommy Snuffleupagus had appeared irregularly, [cite web | title = Mommy Snuffleupagus | work = Muppet Wiki | publisher = Wikia | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-28 ] Snuffy's father has only appeared in the book "See You Later, Mashed Potater!". [cite web | title = Daddy Snuffle | work = Muppet Wiki | publisher = Wikia | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-28 ] When he does appear in the episode, arriving for a weekend visit, Alice attempts to bring him inside, but he reminds her that "I don't live here anymore." Children were unclear on where Snuffy's parents lived, especially the father, and believed that Daddy "ran away and Snuffy and Alice would never see their father again."

The realistic depiction of the Snuffleupagus children struggling emotionally with the issue also proved troubling. In one scene, as Alice overhears her parents arguing in the next cave, she pounds and kicks her teddy bear out of frustration. Singer weighed in on the reactions, which despite the care taken, revealed both emotional responses and misunderstandings of the very points which the script attempted to clarify:

With the testing results in, research director Valeria Lovelace recommended scrapping the episode and going "back to the drawing board," and the idea was abandoned, at least for the season. Episode 2895, as aired in many areas, instead focused on Oscar the Grouch and a visit from his brother. The Children's Television Workshop internally talked of attempting to broach the divorce issue later on, perhaps in multiple parts. However, as producer Michael Loman recalled, "We ate the cost and never aired it. We feel there are a range of issues that we can deal with in the family that do not go to the extreme of divorce." [Walters, Laurel Shaper. "Sesame Street": 25- and Growing." "Christian Science Monitor". November 22, 1993.]

To some extent, parental separation or divorce have been covered in a Sesame Street News Flash about a bird whose parents live in different trees. The song, named "They Live in Different Places, But They Both Love Me", [ [ Sesame Street News Flash - Muppet Wiki ] ] first aired in episode 3150.


"This article , another GFDL-based reference. Modifications have been made since."

External links

* [ Sesame Workshop] , official site of show producers
* ['s_Parents_Get_a_Divorce Muppet Wiki: "Snuffy's Parents Get a Divorce"]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sesame Street — Infobox Television show name = Sesame Street caption = Sesame Street title card since 2007, taken from Episode 4135 (2007). show name 2 = genre = Children s television series creator = Joan Ganz Cooney and her Sesame Workshop staff writer =… …   Wikipedia

  • Mr. Snuffleupagus — Aloysius Snuffleupagus Sesame Street character First appearance November 8, 1971 (minor character) November 18, 1985 (formal introduction) …   Wikipedia

  • Once and Again — Not to be confused with Now and Again, which premiered the same week. Once and Again Format Family Drama Created by Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz Starring Sela Ward Billy Campbell …   Wikipedia

  • Joe DiMaggio — Not to be confused with John DiMaggio. Joe DiMaggio Center fielder Born: November 25, 1914(1914 11 …   Wikipedia

  • Jimmy Boyd — For the actor from The Electric Company , see Jim Boyd (actor). Infobox actor name = Jimmy Boyd imagesize = caption = birthname = birthdate = Birth date and age|1939|01|9 birthplace = McComb, Mississippi, U.S. deathdate =| deathplace = occupation …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”