A few months back, my son started watching Sesame Street, and I was excited for him to learn from all of the great Muppet characters. But I wasn’t expecting to gain a new appreciation for the show. Unbeknownst to me, Sesame Street has a history of tapping into popular culture. From Monsterpiece Theater to Crumby Pictures, Sesame Street has created many great parodies of TV shows, films, and plays. The parodies are deliciously fun for adults and often educational for children. In 2014, San Diego Comic-Con even hosted a panel with the show’s performers and executive producer discussing 45 years of spoofs. So, I decided to find the best examples of spoofs that pay homage to geek culture. Below are 13 geeky and awesome examples.
1. “Sharing Things” parody of Stranger Things
Cookie Monster is the Cookie Gorgon who eagerly comes to Earth from the Snack-side-down on Halloween after hearing voices calling out about “treats.” But the Cookie Gorgon needs to learn how to share. This parody of season 2 of Stranger Things includes most of our favorite characters—all of who try to help the Cookie Gorgon learn what it means to be a friend who shares.
2. “Game of Chairs” parody of Game of Thrones
In this spoof, the next king or queen of Jesteros is determined through a game of musical chairs. Grover Bluejoy helps Ned orchestrate the game, providing some upbeat music to the challenge. With characters from the series and quotes that fans will recognize, we can enjoy this safe way of battling for the throne. This sketch also begins with an awesome intro that truly pays homage to HBO’s series.
3. “True Mud” parody of True Blood
Oh, the confusion that can happen with rhyming words. This parody lets kids hear words that rhyme with “mud,” as a patron to a restaurant tries to place an order of “true mud.” While others think, “He must be one of ‘em grouches,” the peppy, blond waitress doesn’t seem to mind and tries to help her customer. This parody is another that has a great intro, modeled after True Blood’s brilliant montage.
4. “Star S’Mores” parody of Star Wars
My favorite part of this parody is the creative, snack-themed names of the characters. Princess Parfaita needs the help of Luke Piewalker and Flan Solo (Cookie Monster). But Flan struggles to control his urges upon realizing that his partner Chewy is a cookie. With the help of Only-One-Canoli, Groda, and Darth Baker, can Flan learn self-control?
5. “The Hungry Games—Catching Fur” parody of The Hunger Games
When Katniss Everdeen volunteers for the Hunger Games in the original novel and film, it’s to protect her sister. But Cookieness Evereat (Cookie Monster) is eager to volunteer for the opportunity to get some COOOOKIES! Now Cookieness is back for the sequel. In order to win the Hungry Games, Cookieness and fellow contestants need to think about different types of patterns and make the right choices about what follows. Choose wisely and “may the cookies be ever in your flavor.”
6. “The Walking Gingerbread” parody of The Walking Dead
Gingerbread men who eat cookies?! Sounds like the Crumbies! Don’t open a box of cookies or else the Crumbies will come and steal it and eat all of the cookies. If Sheriff Graham (Cookie Monster) can learn self-control and not open a box of cookies, he can keep the Crumbies away. But he needs help and has to try different strategies to control his urges.
7. “Twin Beaks” parody of Twin Peaks
This parody is almost as eerie as the original show. Special Agent Cookie (Cookie Monster) visits the town of Twin Beaks but is having trouble learning why this is the name of the town. Perhaps it is because all of the birds have two beaks? Makes sense, but seeing double-beaked birds on Sesame Street paired with some intense musical effects certainly gives a creepy feel. At least there’s no Bob.
8. “Furry Potter and the Goblet of Cookies” parody of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
An entire goblet of cookies?! Cookie wizard Furry Potter (Cookie Monster) is pumped and ready to get his hands on this goblet. But first, he needs to follow Professor Crumblemore’s directions. In this sketch, the great costumes and settings tap into the Harry Potter books and film, while the plot teaches kids the importance of listening carefully. There’s also some fun magic involved, which, of course, takes us into the wizarding world.
9. “Lord of the Crumbs” parody of Lord of the Rings
Cookie Monster is Gobble who loses the recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Gobble needs to practice self-control around the ingredients and remember the recipe in order to restore cookies to the world. This parody provides useful memory recall techniques for Gobble to successfully bake “me precious.” While the objective here may be the cookies, we can appreciate the mystical narrator, the journey through Monster Earth, and the abundant Lord of the Rings references.
10. “Spaceship Surprise” and “Spaceship Surprise: The Next Generation” parodies of Star Trek
Everything is a surprise for the crew aboard Spaceship Surprise! In a series of sketches, they land on planets Ch, Tr, Sh, and H where everything on the planets begins with those letters. These are educational parodies for kids who can hear and see several words at once that begin with the same letters. And it’s fun to see Muppets exploring outer space.
11. “The Aveggies: Age of Bon-Bon” parody of The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Dr. Brownie (Cookie Monster) and his team of Onion Man, Captain Americauliflower, and other veggie superheroes need to save the day from a villain who wants to make desserts out of all the vegetables. This requires Dr. Brownie to focus and not get distracted by his teammates’ tools that resemble tasty treats. This parody is humorous and exciting and teaches a good lesson about staying focused.
12. “The Spy Who Loved Cookies” parody of The Spy Who Loved Me
In 1994, the sketch “Dr. No” parodied the James Bond film, Dr. No, where a Muppet James Bond seeks the medical expertise of Dr. No. Nearly 20 years later, in “The Spy Who Loved Cookies,” when Ladyfinger steals the Crown Cookies, Double-Stuffed 7 (Cookie Monster) is on the case! But he must follow the directions to get into Ladyfinger’s lair. This parody teaches children the importance of listening closely to the directions—otherwise, you might get hit with a flying chicken.
13. “Numeric-Con” episode #4504 spoof of Comic Con:
Numeric-Con has come to Sesame Street, where everyone is dressed up as a character whose named includes a number. Elmo, dressed as The Dark Nine, and Leela, dressed a Princess Three-ah first go see a sneak peek of the new Dr. 2. Then, they get a photo and autograph and with famous number heroes. And Elmo can’t wait to count to 10 with a number hero. This must-watch, full-length episode celebrating geek culture also shows Murray Monster and Ovejita visit cartooning school and take a comic and cartooning class where they crate their own superheroes and write a superhero story.
I’m pumped that my son can simultaneously receive lessons from Muppets and get glimpses of some of my favorite TV shows and films. While the show’s target audience is clearly children, it’s also nice that Sesame Street caters to all audiences and has repeatedly created sketches to amuse parents. It’s especially fun seeing Cookie Monster dress up in all of the different costumes. Sesame Street has truly excelled in parodying geek culture, creating clever sketches that fans can appreciate and enjoy.