There's some prime-time Sesame Street 35th anniversary special going on right now on WGBH. I thought "Oh, neat, it'll be fun, probably some nifty retrospective documentary or something."
But it seems to be just like a regular modern episode of the show. It takes place entirely in a crayon drawing set called "Elmo's World." Elmo runs around it and gets e-mail from Big Bird and runs around some more and acts annoying and talks to his goldfish and every now and then oh hey there's Sesame Street outside what a neat place Sesame Street is, in fact it's so neat we're gonna stay in "Elmo's World" and talk about it!
Then Big Bird goes off to find Ernie in a segment that looks like it's a regular one, and they run around a greenscreen environment interacting with minimally-animated cartoon characters, like the three little kittens who've lost their mittens, or Humpty Dumpty, or Little Bo Peep. I was somewhat amused while watching until I started grousing "In the Henson heyday, they wouldn't have needed to use cartoon characters, they'd have just grabbed three cat muppets from the workshop, put them up on a wall, and..."
That's when I realized that I shouldn't be grousing so much. The show is no longer made for me. It really hasn't been for quite some time, honestly, so who am I to bitch? And I am sure a five-year-old watching Elmo dance around his computer-animated house is having a blast and isn't thinking "Gee, this show was much better when they showed the funky pinball counting animations and more Muppets." And twenty-some-odd years down the line, if Sesame Street still exists, this kid will watch and go "Gee, this show was much better when they had Elmo's World on."
Time and memories march on.
However, I do have to admit that watching Beverly Sills in full Cleopatra-esque getup singing an operatic version of "C Is For Cookie" while muppet attendants marched around her with feathers and fans was pretty hilarious and cool.