Nuggets of Wisdom

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Top 13 Sesame Street Scares (#4)

Muppet Wiki

One aspect that Sesame Street especially excels in is its music. Throughout the years, the show has had many of its songs performed by fictional Muppet bands, from "Little Jerry and the Monotones" to "Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats."

Being around for more than 40 years, the show’s music and musicians often reflected the popular music trends of the time period they were broadcast in, from the rock n roll of the 1960s to the disco of the 1970s.

So when the 1980s came around, the show needed a band that reflected the new wave music of the era. Thus "How Now Brown and the Moo Wave" were introduced.

Muppet Wiki

The group only performed two songs on the show, and since this was a time when MTV was a new channel rising in popularity, their musical skits were filmed like music videos.

Yeah, remember when MTV actually aired music videos? It’s in its name! What do you think the ‘M’ stands for? Melodramatic Reality Shows? Well...

Image Fanboy

Anyway, true to the era of their time, the "How Now Brown" music videos had a trippy, psychedelic feel to them. You could even say they were downright creepy. Terrifying even!

#4: Danger/Wet Paint

Their first music video was called "Danger", and true to its name, the song was about how everything in life had the potential to kill you (like mentioning Sherman in Savannah!):

And what better way to reflect the dark theme of the song than with a music video set in a dark creepy alley?

The song itself really isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s really upbeat and catchy, even if they’re singing about the different ways you can die. (And am I the only one who thinks that the backbeat sounds almost like a beating heart?)

The setting, however, does have a creep factor. Its set in a dark, dirty city alley at night with a lot of heavy traffic noise in the background. It's the type of setting where you can easily get a knife in the back before either getting mugged or raped.

On top of that, in the middle of the song, there’s a part where a man is playing a piano while dangling from a rope—which ends up snapping, sending the piano and its player crashing into the street below.

Um, foreboding.

Is this supposed to be one of those music videos where somebody supposedly died while on set? Seems like it.

Truthfully, this music video never scared me, though from what I hear, it did send a chill up the spine of other children.

Their other music video, however, scared the living Celestia out of me.

Now, on the surface, a music video about paint really shouldn’t be all that “scary.” But I don’t know. Am I the only one who thinks that the paint dripping in the background looks almost like blood? Not in color, mind you, just in consistency? It almost drips like it, too.

I never saw MTV growing up. My folks never had cable. So I wasn’t very familiar with the music videos being shown at the time, or the effects they had. So this entire video, with both its music and visual effects, seemed really trippy, like I was going on an acid trip. (Though, obviously, as a kid, I had no idea what that was.)

But then halfway through the video, things get a whole lot more, well, “weird.”

It starts when a blotch of paints splatters across the screen. When its starts to drip down, it almost seems like everything in the room is melting.

The music video then cuts to the lead singer, who now appears to be naked. (It’s really his white shirt blending in with the green screen, but as a kid, I didn’t know that!) He lets out a loud scream as paint splatters on him and the screen begins to melt away.

No lie. That. Was. TERRIFYING. To me as a kid.

I honestly believe the guy was melting away and that he was screaming in agony, almost like the Wicked Witch in Wizard of Oz.

I kid you not. Whenever that music video ever came on again, I would quickly race to the remote and switch over to another channel and wait for a long time until I knew it was over.

Even when there was an episode that came on that I knew would have that music video, I would refuse to watch Sesame Street for that day.

And if I were in a setting that prevented me from changing the channel, like my kindergarten class, which often showed Sesame Street before school began, I would excuse myself to the bathroom just to get away.

Yes, aside from the "Sesame Street News Flash" opening, this was the single most scariest thing on Sesame Street for me. Now, admittedly, most of this fear was grounded in me not knowing much about music videos as a kid. But isn’t that what most childhood fears are based on: children not knowing any better?

And fortunately, from what I can tell in this video’s comment section, I wasn’t the only toddler to be scared silly by this. That’s probably why this particular band never made more than two songs.

Oh, and as for this being the single scariest thing for me on Sesame Street? I take that back. There is one other skit that was scarier than this. And we’re only on #4 on this list!