Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences any child can go through so it needs to be handled with care by child educators, and this includes cultural institutions like Sesame Street. Premiering in 1969, Sesame Street has been running for 43 seasons and is renowned for its award-winning educational content and creativity, communicated through the use of Jim Henson’s Muppets, animation, short films, humor, and cultural references.
With regards to communicating the struggles and challenges of divorce, however, it took the producers of the show 23 years to first tackle the touchy subject. In 1992 they created a narrative where Snuffleupagus’ parents were going through a divorce. Unfortunately, it went over like a lead balloon when it aired, sending children all over North America screaming to their mommies and daddies in horror. In other words, the producers snufflefucked it all up — in a major way. Twenty years later the Sesame Street team has regrouped, dusted themselves off, and decided to try again. This time, however, they’ve built a storyline that is web-only and won’t be seen on the main television show.
For parents who want to gently teach their kids about divorce in a smart and intelligent way, the episode is only one click away. And as for parents who have decided to stay together — even though daddy was snuffling his secretary’s upagus — their children won’t be subjected to living out the emotional trauma of their favorite muppets. To visit Sesame Street’s online resource Tookit for Divorce entitled Little Children, Big Challenges simply head over to SesameStreet.org. You can also download the free Sesame Street Divorce app (ugh) on iTunes.