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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Feist on Saseme Street

I love it when singers parody their own songs. I loved it when James Blunt appeared on Sesame Street singing a song about his triangle (a parody of “You’re Beautiful”). And here is Canadian singer-song writer Feist‘s appearance on Sesame Street. In this really cute video, she sings a song about counting to four, parodying her hit song 1-2-3-4. (If you can’t see the embedded video, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fciD_II7NI.)

This video is so fun to watch. The monsters (Elmo, Zoe, Telly, Rosita) are cute. The chickens are wearing hats and sunglasses. The penguins are silly looking. But what I really love is Feist’s performance. She is such a puppet! Okay, let me explain: she is totally matching the puppets’ movements. When she is walking along with the monsters, she bounces up and down like puppets would. And when she dances around with the chickens and monsters, she does this really exaggerated head and body motion that’s such a puppet movement. (When TV puppets sing and dance, you see this very typical move of bodying swaying left and right, the head tilting to the left for two beats, and then right for two beats and so on.) It’s very typical for a puppet, but when a human does it, it’s just so totally adorable. And apparently she’s having way too much fun and that feeling of joy really beams over to my monitor.

They also did a good job of designing the shots. There’s Feist, four monsters, four penguins, and four chickens, a total of 13 characters in the shot at one point and yet it was never chaotic. And they took many elements from the original video (which is also very fun to watch, by the way). It was not easy because all the characters are moving all the time, and so was the camera. Everything had to be carefully planned out, especially when they were using the edges of the screen so much (just like the very classic Mahna Mahna sketch from Muppets). Towards the end there were three groups of four and they each used one edge (monsters on left, chickens at the bottom, and penguins on right). There were many characters but they were organized into groups, so you didn’t need to try to figure out what each of the 13 characters were doing.

Ah, this is way too cute, seriously.

(Via PuppetVision blog. Get well soon, Andrew!)

Update: After watching the video for the 5th time, I spotted Oscar the Grouch in this video. It was really a subtle but nice touch. Anyone spotted Oscar too? (That was quite a Where’s Waldo moment for me.)

Related Posts:
James Blunt on Sesame Street
Walking Down the Memory Lane and Mahna Mahna

Comments

  1. July 25th, 2008 | 10:28 am

    Kelvin,

    I just watched your video – wow! You are so right! To make a puppet move like a human is one thing – to make a person move like a puppet is sheer genius and talent.

    One of my biggest regrets in life (truly) is that Sesame Street began when I was JUST a bit too old to watch it. However, once I had children, a new world opened up to me – and my favorites were always when a singer that you would NEVER expect showed up and sang with the Muppets. An entire generation of watchers was breeched! (And yes, I saw Oscar!)

    Your blog reminded me (trust me, you DON’T want to take a vacation in MY head) of when Dr. Seuss died. Saturday Night Live, of all places, did the most honorable tribute that I had ever seen: rather than joking or eulogizing, Jesse Jackson came out, sat on a chair, and read “Green Eggs and Ham” – cover to cover. My husband and I sat there with tears running down our faces – while watching SNL! (The clip is available on Google.)

    I could give you a list of the singers I saw when my 20+ year old watched Sesame Street – and perhaps you might have heard of quite a few of them. I didn’t know who Feist was until today – and I wonder what memories the “younger” generation will bring to the table when THEIR children watch Sesame Street wiith their children. Though I already knew how to count to 10 (in both English and Spanish) when my then-toddler watched Sesame Street, the biggest bonuses for me were ALWAYS when a popular singer appeared, and I could tell me daughter who it was, and share one of MY CD’s with her.

    Great blog!

    Rita’s last blog post..Reader’s Choice – Wanna Play?

  2. July 25th, 2008 | 12:38 pm

    I actually didn’t know who she was either, but I’ve heard the 1-2-3-4 song and liked it. Now that I saw this video, I think I’m in love. (Ha!)

    Well, I grew up in Taiwan and although there was Sesame Street (don’t remember if it was close-captioned or dubbed), I never watched it. I really started watching it as an adult. And it had nothing to do with kids either (maybe my inner child).

    I think, while their target audience is kids, they want adults to enjoy it too. The celebrity appearances are more for grown-ups than 3-year-olds and from time to time they have jokes that only adults would get (not that they are off-color, just they are hidden references to current events or work places, etc.).

    Thanks for sharing the story!

  3. July 25th, 2008 | 8:08 pm

    I agree – Sesame Street is for everyone – and I will occasionally “catch” my High School Senior switching back and forth from MTV to Sesame Street! (Yeesh, I remember the FIRST music video on MTV.!)
    Just wanted to let you know – my current blog is a very peculiar “hats off” to you – my first “weekend blog request.” I think that after you read it, you will agree – taking a vacation in MY head would NOT be worth the airfare!

    Rita

    Rita’s last blog post..Creative Crackdown on Crack Crisis – and Murray

  4. July 27th, 2008 | 10:26 am

    Damn Sesame Street, Now that brings back some young memories

    Gavin’s last blog post..Paisley or Shankly who is the best? – The greatest debate ever

  5. July 27th, 2008 | 11:42 pm

    Looks like lots of people have Sesame Street memories to share!

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