‘Sesame Street’ Gets Mixed Reaction Over Muppet’s Addiction Story
Sesame Street is taking on another tough topic. In a new series of videos produced by Sesame Workshop, light green Muppet Karli talks about her mother’s problems with addiction. It’s no surprise that the kiddie show’s new clips are controversial.
Karli was first introduced on Sesame Street back in May, but the 6-year-old green monster is just now opening up about her mother, who is a recovering drug addict. The scenes dealing with Karli’s mom’s addiction are online-only segments, Yahoo Lifestyle notes.
In the online series, Elmo (who recently got his own talk show) and the other Muppets learn about addiction as they help Karli deal with her mom’s “grown-up problem.”
In one segment, little Karli, who was in foster care due to her mother’s addiction, blames herself for her mom’s problem.
Karli’s human friend, Salia, also has parents who are struggling with addiction. At 10-years-old, she offers wise insight to her Muppet friend and reveals her coping techniques as her parents went through treatment.
“It feels good to help other children who went through what I went through,” Salia says in once clip. “I’m proud of mom and dad for asking for help and not using drugs and alcohol anymore.”
In the comments section to Sesame Street’s Instagram page, parents had strong opinions on the tough topic that the iconic kiddie show is tackling.
The overwhelming majority of responses were positive.
“Thank you for talking about this! Way to go!!!” one commenter wrote.
“Thank you for educating children with such empathy and compassion,” another added.
But some parents felt the material was too mature for the preschool children’s show.
“I don’t agree with my child seeing this! I’m disappointed in you Sesame Street!” wrote one parent.
“I wish this wasn’t necessary,” another added. “But I’m grateful kids who need this will find friends in these characters.”
Indeed, it is not always a sunny day on Sesame Street as the show addresses real-life topics in a world that has vastly changed since the show made its debut in 1969.
Sesame Street has made headlines over the years for taking on difficult topics. In 1983, the death of a Sesame Street neighbor was addressed for the first time as Big Bird learned that store owner Mr. Hooper had died. The sad segment coincided with the real-life death of Will Lee, one of the four original human characters on the PBS series.
Last year, Lilly, a 7-year-old homeless Muppet appeared on the show. In addition, Julia, a Muppet with autism, was introduced in 2017. And in 2013, Sesame Street tackled incarceration via a Muppet, Alex, whose father was in jail in segments that aired in state and federal prisons, according to US News & World Report.