I think what makes Sesame Street so enduring is that they understand the delicate balance between exclusively targeting children without making it intolerable to adults. Most kids’ entertainment that appeals to adults does so by targetting adults as well, throwing in a dirty joke or obscure reference for the parents. But when you enjoy Sesame Street as an adult, you’re enjoyment is collateral, you’re not the target market.
That’s why when celebrities appear, they always sing kid-friendly versions of their songs or at least truncate them for the sake of little attention spans.
So one may wonder why Stevie Wonder got seven minutes to do a full band version of his 1972 hit “Superstition.” When watching the clip, the mystery lasts about 30 seconds, when we see a child in a red jumper absolutely going nuts.
Musicians feed off audience energy, and this one kid has to be worth an entire stadium’s worth of concertgoers. Stevie Wonder surely felt his energy.
The band is absurdly tight, even though (or perhaps because) they barely fit on the deceptively tiny Sesame Street soundstage. The kids watching are perched on a faux fire escape that the child in red could bring crashing down at any minute.
The chaotic unselfconscious ecstasy of rock 'n roll embodied by a child.