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‘She Stabbed The Teddy Bear With A Knife’: The First Time ‘Sesame Street’ Tried A Divorce Episode

By 12.10.12

In its 43-year history, Sesame Street has covered such child-friendly issues as death and September 11, but the PBS series has surprisingly never aired an episode about divorce, until now, in the form of a 13-minute online short about Abby Cadabby’s parents splitting up. (It’s her fault.) You can see it here, but it’s apparently not the first time Sesame Street has tried to explain a marriage falling apart. In 1992′s “Snuffy’s Parents Get a Divorce,” Snuffy’s parents…well, got a divorce, but the episode couldn’t air because of its test screening reaction.

They once tried to deal with the subject of divorce. They knew they couldn’t do it with either of our married couples—Gordon and Susan or Maria and Luis—so they tried it with Snuffleupagus [and his sister, Alice], writing a show about his parents getting divorced. They wrote a whole show and taped it, and it was just devastating for test groups of kids. So they just threw the whole thing in the garbage and never tried it again. It was just too difficult a concept for a 3-year-old. (Via)

How difficult?

The kids came away with negative messages…The kids said [Alice] stabbed the teddy bear with a knife. The kids misunderstood arguments. They said arguments did mean divorce. Some thought Snuffy’s parents were moving away even though we said just the opposite. A number said the parents would no longer be in love with them. (Via)

The poor kids who participated in the test screening must all either be divorced, stuck in a loveless marriage, or friends with Kevin Clash now. I can’t imagine any of them turned out better than the sick parents who filmed their children hysterically crying after watching The Odd Life of Timothy Green. “OUR M IS FOR MISERY IS YOUR M IS FOR MISERY.” Where’s the Sesame Street episode about that?


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