Saturday, September 25, 2010

Should the Media Set Standards for the Public?

PBS PULLED THIS skit with Katy Perry and Elmo from Sesame Street after a viewers complained about Perry's attire and the lyrics to her other songs.

The video was posted online as a teaser to the start of the 41st season of the famed show. Some viewers complained, like this person:

"Good gracious, I've never been so outraged!! Sesame Street and Elmo meet Katy Perry?! Have you seen what this woman promotes in her music and videos? I am appalled that you would let her anywhere near beloved Elmo, especially dressed like that!"

Should PBS have pulled the skit from the show? Are they giving in to a conservative minority or are they being responsible to the children? Both?

Is it the role of media to establish public standards for speech, dress and behavior?

27 comments:

Alexis Wright-Whitley said...

Seriously? The kids that watch these shows are out and about singing "Hot and Cold". I think that it 's cool that she tried to take the song and change it to something that kids could relate to. I'm tired of all of these people complaining about their kids being exposed to something negative, such as this. If they were really doing their job, their children wouldn't know who Katy Perry was, and there wouldn't a problem; their children would only think of her skit with Elmo, not her dressed like candy and sweets from her "California Girls" video. And when it comes to the way she's dressed, I would consider that mildly conservative for her.

I'm personally not a fan of Katy Perry, but I think that people just need to lay off and calm down.

Coeli Danella said...

I think it's absurd that parents become so upset over something so silly as Katy Perry being on Sesame Street. The children who are watching the show clearly don't understand what the words are to her songs or if there is any hidden meaning to the song. These children simply watch television to see learn the ABC's and how to count to 10.
I know I watched Sesame Street when I was little only because the Count taught me how to count to 10. I don't ever remember the guests who were on the show or what they did, just that the Count taught me how to count. Parents need to chill out & let their children watch Sesame Street. Honestly I think the parents have less to worry about if they let their kids watch that instead of what other television stations are showing.

Anonymous said...

I saw this on the news and I could not believe it. Katy Perry of all people? Look at what she's wearing. Is SESAME STREET SERIOUS? Seasame street is a show targeted towards toddlers and young children .. it would be different if the target audience was young adults...however it's not. The way she is dressed and her entire sexappeal is inappropriate for Sesame Street.
Thank goodness someone stepped up and stopped this.


Taisje Claiborne

Ali Watkins said...

wow. definitely not the same sesame street i watched as a kid. elmo must be popping some viagra, katie was giving him quite a view...

Jonathan Ristaino said...

I think it's fine she is on the show singing, however, she could have worn something else.

Kerri Lyn Rehfuss said...

I feel maybe viewers are being a little uptight. It's not like she is outrageously controversial in her lyrics or videos. I could understand if Lady Gaga was pulled from Sesame Street before Katy Perry. Also, I agree with the above comment that if the parents were worried enough that their kids saw Katy Perry on Sesame Street it would be due to the fact that they knew her otherwise, since it's not as if they could understand her real lyrics and regular dressing habits simply from this video. So if her appearance here was simply to act as a reminder of how she acts in her normal career, then perhaps parents should worry about censoring their children's viewing of her music videos and not her guest appearance on Sesame Street. After all, this alone is in no way a harmful portrayal of Katy Perry. Come on now.

Matthew Ransom said...

I don't feel that PBS was setting standards for anyone, but only listening to the people that decide what their children can watch.

If the parents are offended, then Sesame Street's viewership goes down, merchandise sells slower, Sesame Place loses attendees, etc. Networks are slaves to their viewership.

In regards to the parents' responsibility to monitor their children's exposure to the media, I'm honestly impressed that they would care in this instance. Good on them. Of course their reasoning is very flawed, but at least they're paying attention.

Shannon H. said...

From the perspective of a college student, I think this whole situation was blown out of proportion BUT they say once you have a child your whole mindset changes so I can see why parents were appalled by having her on the show. Sesame Street is one of the few decent and uncorrupt shows we have left to preserve the innocence of children. By putting a pop star who sings about "kissing a girl and liking it" is a bit much. Her outfit is also a little too tight for comfort but hey like I said from as a college student I would wear that any day. I feel that PBS did the right thing in pulling the skit before it was too late. I love the fact that Katy Perry is trying to appeal to a different demographic but leave the 1-6 year olds alone. She has enough pre-teens singing her songs.

Shannon H. said...

From the perspective of a college student, I think this whole situation was blown out of proportion BUT they say once you have a child your whole mindset changes so I can see why parents were appalled by having her on the show. Sesame Street is one of the few decent and uncorrupt shows we have left to preserve the innocence of children. By putting a pop star who sings about "kissing a girl and liking it" is a bit much. Her outfit is also a little too tight for comfort but hey like I said from as a college student I would wear that any day. I feel that PBS did the right thing in pulling the skit before it was too late. I love the fact that Katy Perry is trying to appeal to a different demographic but leave the 1-6 year olds alone. She has enough pre-teens singing her songs.

Kevin S. said...

I did a quick Wiki check of all of the people that have ever guest-starred on Sesame Street to see if Katy Perry was the only seemingly 'inappropriate' person on the show. Here's what I found:

-James Gandolfini, former star of cold-blooded mob show 'The Sopranos'.

-Ice-T, former gangsta rapper who's songs were usually about killing cops. Also on a Law & Order variation, I believe.

-Cheech Marin, of...Cheech & Chong.

And that's just three examples. When supposedly controversial subject matter shows up on a program like sesame Street, people tend to forget history.

Erin Magarity said...

When I watched Sesame Street as a child I barely remembered the guests, but I do know that they wore conservative clothes. Katy Perry on the other hand has every right to be a guest on Sesame Street, they probably should have had her wear something more appropriate and not so low cut. The skirt should be longer. I understand that parents feel like its improper to have Katy Perry on because of the lyrics to her songs, but what about guests like Jack Black? Doesn't he sing a song called "I wanna F*%$ you?" Why was nobody outraged then? Get over it people, the only thing that needs to change is her low cut shirt and short skirt.

Becka Katz said...

I think it's fine that she was on the show, she even changed the lyrics. But what I dont understand is why Sesame Street is letting her wear a tiny dress. I dont remember seeing all that when I watched the show.
As far as who the person on the show is, who cares. I think the only thing wrong with this is that her choice in dress is too much for little kids. It doesnt mean that little kids are going to go out and dress like that now but it should be more conservative. Media has a big influence in how people dress and behave etc. Little kids shouldnt be influenced with Katy Perrys boobs and legs.
So dont pull the skit, just change the clothes.

Matthew Albasi said...

So, what exactly constitutes a "tiny dress" or "too tight"?

I'm sure i can find you some people who find any skirt that breaks above the knee slutty. While we're at it, why isn't Katy Perry wearing a bonnet?

Regardless, PBS is giving in to the conservative minority. It is just a sad fact that the conservative minority organizes much better than everyone else. The squeaky wheel gets greased. I'm sure if everyone who wasn't offended (not to mention every father for whom this skit was made more enjoyable) wrote in to PBS to voice their support it would have never been pulled.

Kelly Offner said...

The kids that watch Sesame Street range from toddlers to, at the most, 6-7 yrs. old. They are not oogling her outfit and chest as this upset mother seems to have been doing.
PBS definitly gave into the conservative minority of adults who are too old to be watching the show anyway

Camille Mola said...

Sesame Street had to know that they would receive some sort of backlash from parents for not only having such a controversial pop star performing on a children's show, but also for her outfit choice. She could have easily worn a different outfit that would appeal to both the parents and children.

Ruth K said...

I think that both Sesame Street and Katy made a poor judgment call when dressing Katy for this skit. There is no reason she had to be showing this much cleavage, etc. I think that the media should be held responsible.

I however do think it was fine that she be on this show.

Hillary said...

As an avid fan of Katy Perry, I think Sesame Street should have put a little more thought into what her wardrobe was. Growing up with Sesame Street also makes your head turn when someone as "scandalous" as Katy Perry is guest starring. I seriously believe that the kids watching it have seen worse. I see no reason why they had to make such a big deal about pulling this from the show. Change her outfit if you're so worried about it, then film it! I want to see Katy Perry perform!

Allie Gentile said...

I think they should have ran the skit because they dressed her that way in wardrobe and at age five I dont think that the little kids watching would think twice about her outfit. She states she is in dress up clothes and I just dont see a little kid commenting on her outfit. Also she completely changed the lyrics to be kid appropriate. I think parents overreacted and even if they ran the skit they wouldnt have lost viewers.

Tetiana Bilynsky said...

This is ridiculous. Katie Perry did nothing wrong by doing this skit. The song said nothing wrong, she changed the lyrics to something that will entertain little kids. And as for her attire, there is nothing wrong with that either. I am pretty sure that children had seen worse just by going outside. These children are not looking at her other videos or hearing her other songs. If they happen to hear the songs or see the vidoes they will have no idea what the meaning of them is. Seriously, when i was younger.. AQUA (barbie girl), songs like "boom boom boom boom I want you in my room), i had no idea what they were talking about when I was 5. To children these are fun songs that they can sing and dance around to.

Lauren Petrie said...

I think that PBS shouldn't have pulled this skit because not only is Katy Perry a huge artist right now, but she's also funny. The song that she had sung in the skit was harmless. And there really isn't anything wrong with what she's wearing. There wasn't anything too revealing about her tinkerbell-like attire. It wasn't like she was pole dancing like Miley Cyrus at the Teen Choice Awards.

Cassandra D'Amelio said...

There was nothing offensive about the video or modified song. She may be talking about kissing girls and melting popsicles in other songs, but this one is innocent. Children watching Sesame Street do not have the resources to listen to her other song, let alone understand the subliminal meanings. Maybe she could have put a jacket on over that low cut dress but aside from that she isn't doing anything wrong and censoring her performance is catering to the ultra conservatives.

Caroline Cox said...

I 100% agree with Kevin S.'s argument. Sesame Street has always featured celebrities to garner publicity for their show. These people's careers are unrelated to their appearances on Sesame Street. Children are very selective in what material they choose to absorb. For example many people in the blog contest to not even recollecting the guest appearances. What the children are interested in is the poppy tune of the song, the bright colors of the background, and the fun of tag and dress up, not Perry's dress and most certainly not her career.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing about this skit that would warrant its being pulled from the program. Sure, Katy Perry may promote some things that are less than appropriate for Sesame Street's target audience, but she is not suggesting any of those here at all. The song's lyrics were completely altered so as to be "kid-friendly", and her dress is fairly unrevealing. Putting celebrities on shows like Sesame Street is completely okay, and there are many others I would have a problem with before Katy Perry.

-Graham Lyman

Lady Blah Blah said...

Her outfit isn't as risque as it is costumey, but she's still not a good role model for anyone, let alone the viewers of sesame street. I love Lady GaGa but it would be a little weird if she was on next.

Sinead C said...

katy perry isn't for toddlers. I'm confused as to why she would appear on sesame street in the first place. It just is not her target audience. The whole thing just seems weird to me. As for her wardrobe...she stayed true to her own style but that doesn't mean it is was appropriate for her role that day. More thought should have been put into the skit and costume, it needed to be re-worked so i see no problem pulling it. It was responsible. Media plays a huge role in standards for speech, dress, and behavior. It makes things popular. It wou;d be wrong to make katy perry's wardrobe anf image popular amongst toddlers.

Alison Curran said...

first of all the people need to take a closer look at her outfit. yes it may seem like it is low cute but actually there is material that comes almost up to her neck; there is practically no cleavage being revealed here. second of all these kids who watch this show have probably seen other music videos where they out fits are more scantly clad.

kids know who katy perry is regardless of what she is wearing. i used to watch this show and i can not remember any celebrities that used to appear on the show and im pretty sure these kids wouldn't have either.

however, i do see why they pulled her skit. parents are the ones who turn these shows on for young children and if the parents feel that the show isn't sending a good message to their children, they are not going to permit them to watch it. it is all about keeping the consumer/view happy so they continue to watch the show.

Lauren Arute said...

I personally see nothing wrong with what she's wearing. Sure, it's a little bit low-cut. I'm sure if these parents took their kids out in public anywhere, they would come across at least one woman wearing a low-cut top. Also, what little kid listens to Katy Perry? I would assume most don't watch her music videos on Youtube or MTV if they're still watching Sesame Street. If anything, parents should be complaining about Kidz Bop, rather, because they remake songs by Katy Perry and other somewhat controversial pop stars and target kids as their main listeners.