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Up to date as of February 02, 2010

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Elmo's World is an approximately 20-minute segment that has run at the end of every episode of Sesame Street from Season 30 through Season 37 and on most, but not all, episodes after that. Regular features include inserts featuring the Noodle Family, Elmo asking questions of a baby and email messages which feature other Sesame Street regulars. The segment takes place in a computer animated crayon-drawn apartment.

Each segment focuses on a specific topic - ranging from Balls or Jackets to Fast and Slow or Hands. The segments follows a series of skits and interviews centered on that topic. The skits and interviews are essentially the same every day, only changing the subject matter.

For a complete guide, see Elmo's World Episodes.

Contents

Origins

The idea for an Elmo-centered segment came just before the 30th season of Sesame Street. Research was showing that the average viewing age of the program was getting younger and was more popular with viewers under the age of three than ever before. Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, vice president of Education and Research for Sesame Street, attested that tests showed younger viewers were losing interest around the show's 45-minute mark. Producers came up with the idea for the original format to end around 45 minutes, and that a shorter, and very different styled, segment that was specially designed to engage the younger viewers, would air during the final 20 minutes of the show.[1]

The first episode of "Elmo's World", which was about Balls, debuted on November 16, 1998 (in Episode 3786). Elmo's World" has undergone a few changes since its conception. In the beginning, the same "Elmo's World" segment was repeated on all five shows for the week, but by the end of the inital season the practice was dropped. When the segment first appeared, Elmo narrated the "Elmocam" home videos. However later the documentaries switched to being narrated by the kids featured in them. In 2001, Elmo's computer began delivering video e-mails from other Sesame Street characters on the topic of the day. These computer segments replaced the "Elmocam" home video portion of the show used in the first two seasons.

Each [episode] is about a specific subject, on dancing, or food - things that are of interest to kids. The hope is to increase the child's curiosity about finding out more about those things...Elmo's World" is a self-contained 15-minute segment with its own opening, song and set. It looks at the world through the eyes of a 3-year-old and can be described as a crayon drawing that comes to life with sophisticated special effects.
-executive producer Michael Loman[2]

Format

One characteristic feature of "Elmo's World" is that every episode has the same segments, in the same order. Research has shown that the formula appeals to young children's attraction to ritual and routine, and that children's participation with the program increases with repetition.[1]

  • Guess what Elmo's thinking about today?: Elmo introduces the episode topic, which leads into a film montage of the subject.
  • Dorothy has a question: Dorothy's bowl has a decoration related to the topic, Dorothy relays something factual about the subject and has a question.
  • The Noodle Family: Skits featuring Mr. Noodle, his brother (known as Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle), or his sister (known as Mr. Noodle's sister, Ms. Noodle), or any combination of the above, attempting to answer Dorothy's question.
  • Kids and Baby: Kids answer Dorothy's question, followed by Elmo asking a baby with a prop related to the topic.
  • Elmo Has a Question for You: Elmo asks the viewer to help him, often counting items in a CGI animation.
  • Home Video/Video E-mail: During the first few seasons, home video footage shot by Elmo of other Sesame Street characters. Later replaced by video e-mail, in which Sesame Street characters demonstrate something related to the main topic.
  • Quiz: Elmo asks different questions about the main topic, often with multiple choice answers, and kids, in voice-over, provide the answer. Usually, at least one Sesame Street character appears in each segment.
  • Film Insert: Live action films, usually involving a child and their experiences with the subject.
  • TV: Animated segments, seen on a channel devoted to the topic, and usually featuring the Lecture Lady.
  • Expert Interview: To learn more, Elmo talks with an expert, often an inanimate object related to the topic or activity. Book is featured in certain segments.
  • Elmo Variants: Usually occurring during the guest's speech, Dorothy imagines a version of Elmo as a specific animal or in an occupation/activity.
  • Closing Song: Elmo and the guest(s) sing the topic word(s), usually to the tune of "Jingle Bells".

Inside Elmo's World

As shown in the Happy Holidays home video special, Elmo's World takes place inside one of Elmo's crayon drawings, which explains the scribbly look and bright colors of the digitally-generated set. While Muppet representations of the day's topic have always appeared inside Elmo's World, it was not until the season 35 special The Street We Live On that major Muppet characters also visited Elmo's World in person. Most segments usually feature cameos by at least two other recognizable characters (one of whom usually appears in sequences where Elmo asks a yes or no-type question).

Behind the Scenes

Kevin Clash is Elmo's principal puppeteer, but for shots that require the use of his entire body, Matt Vogel and John Tartaglia have served as handlers who are matted out digitally for final shots. Rick Lyon served as motion-capture puppeteer for Elmo's drawer, shade and door when the segments first started.

Other productions

Elmo's World has spawned two hour-long direct-to-video specials. Wild Wild West! in 2001 and Happy Holidays! in 2002. It was also the featured setting for the 35 aniversary special The Street We Live On, in which Elmo takes on Sesame Street as the topic of the day for an hour-long special. The Sesame Place amusement park features an Elmo's World Live! stage show based on the show.

In the Season 37 episode "Cookie World," the plot features a spoof of the segment with Cookie Monster in place of Elmo.

Internationally

The segments have also been broadcast as a standalone program (on Britain's Channel Five, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and translated into Danish and Spanish, among others).

Bangladeshi co-production Sisimpur has a segment inspired by Elmo's World, Ikri's World. Instead of being inhabited by animate objects that are normally inanimate, Ikri's imagination features traditional Bangladeshi puppets.

See Also

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 Whitlock, Natalie Walker. Behind the Scenes of Elmo's World, HowStuffWorks.com. 2006.
  2. The Houston Chronicle. What's new in show's 30th season?. November 18, 1998

See Also

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This article uses material from the "Elmo's World" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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