Elmo Goes Green. Reallllly Green.

Apr 22, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Some favorite characters help save Mr. Earth.  Nice songs, funny writing. 

Cons:Could have used some Old School Sesame Street, additional characters, feels a little cheap. 

The Bottom Line: Sesame Street tries to make a buck off of being green.

It's not that easy being green;
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold...
or something much more colorful like that.

It's not easy being green.
It seems you blend in with so many other ord'nary things.
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
or stars in the sky.

Joe Raposo wrote that song in 1970, and while it's always been Kermit the Frog's anthem, Elmo is the one who sings it toward the end of the new Sesame Street DVD Being Green.  Elmo and his friend Abby Cadabby run into "Mr. Earth" on their street, who's there hosting the Earth-A-Thon, gathering pledges to help the planet.  The pledge takers are Telly, Rosita, and Cookie Monster, who's using the Earth-A-Thon to get some pledges of cookies as well.  Mr. Earth, guest star Paul Rudd in an enormous globe costume, is helping Elmo and Abby see how easy it is to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The 47 minute program encourages kids to do small things to make a difference--sorting their trash, using existing recycling bins, and finding ways to reuse objects.  My sons enjoyed some of the ideas that Mr. Earth was telling them to do, like using a paper towel roll for a pirate telescope, and then using the same roll again for a trumpet.  Really, they're things kids want to do anyway, and they're being told it's okay to do it. 

Besides the segments with the Muppets and Mr. Earth, we see what children are doing around the world to help the planet.  Kids in South Africa gather glass bottles and take them to an artist, who cleans them, breaks them down, and uses them to create beautiful glass sculptures.  In a nearby community, a kid gathers discarded plastic grocery sacks, and weaves them into a tote for a friend.  We see American children making paper out of rags, and others making small steps that could add up. 

Toward the middle of the program, budding fairy Abby turns Elmo green with a misguided spell.  He thinks it's fun for a few minutes, but the lime green monster decides it's harder than he expected, and starts singing the first few lines of Kermit's "It's Not Easy Being Green."  Mr. Earth comes along and cheers up Elmo by singing a new song, "It's Easy Being Green" about all of the little changes you can make in your life to be a little more Earth-Friendly.

This program is filled with good intentions, but is missing some things that I would have included.  There are some great classic animations from Sesame Street that would have fit in just fine here.  One would be "If Every Kid Did It," about littering...another is one with a fish running out of water because a kid leaves the water running as he brushes his teeth.  Most of the content here is brand new, which is nice, but they missed out by forgetting some of their history. 

The DVD also feels like it's been made on the cheap--the flimsy sets, the tiny cast of five Muppets and Mr. Earth, the recycled (!) songs, all feel shoddier than classic Sesame Street productions.  Where are Bert and Ernie?  Where's Big Bird?  Gordon?  Maria?  Alan? 

If your kids like Sesame Street, this might be a good video to check out if you want them watching over your shoulder and reminding you to separate your trash.  They could have made it nicer by using recycled packaging and soy-based ink, but I guess that was too much trouble for Sesame Workshop.  There is a positive message here, and maybe that's a good enough start for this Earth Day.

People often forget how Kermit's anthem ends, but it's a fitting way to end this review. 

But green's the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, or important like a mountain,
or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?
Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful!
And I think it's what I want to be.

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