A chance to meet Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and other Sesame Street friends? Yes, please! We jumped at the opportunity to say hi to our fave characters at a special reception and screening party for the new season of Sesame Street, which kicked off Nov. 11 on HBO. Season 48 continues to follow the kindness curriculum, which focuses on mutual respect and understanding, helping kids recognize similarities and celebrate differences.
Our VIP at the party, held at The Metrograph in New York City? Our creative director’s 2-year-old son, Jett, who was a tad overwhelmed seeing his heroes Elmo, Big Bird and friends IRL. But he loved munching on Sesame Street-branded organic snacks, fresh fruit, veggies and popcorn, of course, since we screened the all-new prime-time special, “The Magical Wand Chase,” the show’s first feature-length special shot on-location since 1994. Starring Elizabeth Banks and filmed in New York City, the special follows Abby Cadabby and her friends on a magical hot air balloon ride. The fun takes a turn when Abby loses her wand to a curious bird, voiced by Banks. Without Abby’s wand, the friends can’t get back to Sesame Street! While chasing the bird in their hot air balloon, Abby and the gang discover new places, food and culture, not to mention a few new friends along the way who help them get back home. The movie was cute and actually kept Jett’s attention, which is no small feat, since 2-year-olds can usually focus for about five minutes, tops. He loved it so much, he ended up dancing in the aisles!
The night was capped off by a visit from Cookie Monster’s Food Truck, which was a nod to a new segment airing on Sesame Street this season. In each five-minute installment, Cookie Monster and his new friend Gonger will receive a video call from a child who orders something special from their food truck. Part-way through each recipe, Cookie and Gonger jump behind the wheel to get a key ingredient straight from the source, visiting a cranberry bog, a pasta factory, an avocado farm and more. Farmers and artisans will show them how the ingredient is grown or produced before sending them home with some to get cooking. It’s a fun way for kids to learn where food comes from.
This season’s celebrity lineup is also impressive and includes Lucy Liu as a reluctant Cinderella who wants to ditch her glass slippers, Tony Award-winner Josh Groban with a new song called “Hey Friend,” Kate McKinnon as Mother Goose, helping the friends create a new rhyme about Elmo, Alessia Cara with new song “So Much Alike,” Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi visiting an international street food fair on Sesame Street, John Legend singing a new song called “Come Together,” Ellie Goulding learning all about clouds, soul singer Leon Bridges with a new Thanksgiving song and Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez telling kids about the letter “C” for “Counting.”
Sesame Street airs on Saturdays at 9 a.m. on HBO and weekdays and Sundays on local PBS stations.