“Sesame Street” Divorce: Show Tackles Sensitive SubjectBy: Amanda Crum - December 12, 2012
As most longtime fans of “Sesame Street” know, the showrunners aren’t afraid to sometimes take on big, sensitive subjects in order to teach children about the things most of us have to go through at one time or another. Topics ranging from natural disasters to the death of a loved one have been broached, but, surprisingly, it’s taken the show this long to talk about divorce.
Actually, in 1992 the writers took on the subject from Snuffy’s point of view, when he told Big Bird his dad was moving out because of a divorce. The episode was tested to a group of children before it was aired, to disastrous results: the kids became upset at the idea of one parent leaving and it brought up many uncomfortable questions. This time around, the writers think they’ve done it right.
“Writing about divorce is not easy. My approach was from the point of view of Abby whose parents have gone through a divorce in the past, so that it is not a new, raw emotion,” writer Christine Ferraro said.
Also, the show won’t air as part of a normal episode; it’s a 13-minute feature which will be available online for parents to access at their discretion.
“This isn’t an easy topic, but that’s the beauty of Muppets,” says Lynn Chwatsky, who oversaw the project. “They can do things that even some grown-ups can’t.”