Poor Big Bird can’t catch a break. In October, presidential candidate Mitt Romney threatened to effectively fire the Muppet by defunding PBS. Later that month, Mr. Snuffleupagus’s BFF had to contend with costume retailers selling unlicensed “Sexy Big Bird” outfits. And on Friday, the yellow guy will face his biggest challenge yet: A devastating hurricane that rips through Sesame Street, destroying Big Bird’s nest and leaving his entire neighborhood in chaos.
Strictly speaking, this isn’t the first time Big Bird has faced a superstorm. The disaster-themed Sesame Street episode that will play later this week is actually a condensed, edited version of a five-part Sesame series that first aired in 2001. “[It] played out over five days and told the story of everybody on the street getting ready for a hurricane, and then ultimately recovering from a hurricane,” Sesame Street supervising producer Nadine Zylstra explained to EW over the phone today. Originally, the hurricane series wasn’t inspired by any specific event — “It was designed to stand alone as a piece,” says Zylstra.
In 2005, Sesame Street re-aired the series in its entirety weeks after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. And last week, the show’s producers decided to trot it out once more in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, albeit with a few twists. READ FULL STORY »