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Seasame Street Divorce: Fairy Explains 'Two Houses' to Children

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By Brittney R. Villalva , Christian Post Reporter
December 12, 2012|1:36 pm
  • Sesame Street, The Cookie Monster
    (Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato)
    ''Sesame Street'' characters play in front of a large cookie in Tokyo in this file photo from March 13, 2003. Two unique Northern Ireland puppets are to join Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird in a new version of ''Sesame Street'' in Belfast that aims to foster respect between Catholic and Protestant children.

Sesame Street producers have tackled the colossal topic of divorce after more than two decades of trying to keep the "d" word off-air. But some have questioned whether or not it was the right move to make.

"D" is for divorce this week on "Seasame Street." After two years of research, show producers decided to unearth a project that first began in 1992. The first attempt proved disastrous after a test segment with preschoolers resulted in tears and much confusion.

"My dad is moving out of our cave," a big, brown Snuffy confides to Big Bird one afternoon in tears. "I'm not sure where. Some cave across town."

"Where is Snuffy going to live?" some of the preschoolers asked after the episode had run.

But with divorce becoming more widespread among married couples, producers decided that it was time again to tackle the infamous "D" word. The initiative began two years ago, according to Time, with researchers putting in conscious effort to reevaluate the best way to introduce divorce on the show. This time, Abby, a pink fairy was selected for the task.

"We want kids to understand that they're not alone, and that it's not their fault," Lynn Chwatsky, Sesame Workshop's vice president of outreach initiatives told Time. "These kids love and adore Abby. So to know that she's going through something similar to them, something challenging, it's like, Wow. It makes it O.K. to have a whole range of feelings."

While response from the children who previewed the episode may have seemed less obvious, parents have offered a mixed perspective.

Some parents have argued that it is not the responsibility of show producers to instruct kids about serious topics like divorce.

"It's a shame," one parent said on the Mail Online blog, adding that "Seasame Street" used to be a "good show."

But other parents defended the writers, saying that they had done an effective job of explaining a topic that impacted a number of different kids.

 

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