This isn’t more Donald Trump news, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it was. After decades with the program, KQED reports that Sesame Street has let go of three of its longest-running cast members, sending them out into the world, their meager remaining possessions in a box, to face the cruel realities of life in a universe where there are no puppets around every corner. Who are the people in your neighborhood? Not Gordon, Bob, or Luis any more!
Speaking to attendees at Florida Supercon, Bob McGrath—a.k.a. “Bob” since the show’s inception in 1969—revealed he, along with Emilio Delgado (“Luis”) and Roscoe Orman (“Gordon”) were fired from the show as part of the changes made for its new iteration on HBO. “As of this season, I have completed my 45th season this year,” said McGrath, whose tenure on the show has made him an expert in being able to count the number of years he was employed. “And they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka—who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us—and Chris Knowings, who is also young.” Of course, the definition of “young” is slightly different for McGrath, who turned 84 this past year.
While Delgado wasn’t a founding member, he has played the role of Luis the handyman since 1971, while Orman took over the role of Gordon in 1974. However, Sesame Street has decided to hang on to Loretta Long, who plays Gordon’s wife Susan. Presumably, this will be part of a new educational segment in which the children’s program explains how the heartless vicissitudes of global capitalism’s exploitation can rip apart even the most stable of families. Soon, children will learn the terms “rapacious” and “privatization,” as the former public television mainstay uses its newly condensed 30-minute time frame to teach its impressionable young viewers that we no longer require outdated terms like “job stability” or “common good.”
Then again, perhaps it was simply time to make a change. Despite how much we all know children love spending time with the elderly, it’s possible that McGrath had become like the uncle who refuses to acknowledge he’s no longer capable of driving at night thanks to his cataracts, leading to an inevitable collision. Of course, this would still be secondary to the collision of demands for profits in the ostensibly non-profit world of public broadcasting, but given that one-half of the country’s two major political parties think any recipients of government funds are lazy “takers” leeching off the hard work of benevolent narcissists, it’s surprising a bulldozer wasn’t taken to McGrath’s home on the magical street long ago. It’s about time we threw out the more unsavory elements of that neighborhood—a guy living in a trash can has no place near our organic grocery stores, for God’s sake—which is why the opening song is also overdue to be retooled:
Sunny days, sweepin’ the / low-income people away
On my way to where the rent is steep
Can you tell me how to get / How to get maximized equity?