Written by El Puerquito Magnifico
Everyone’s favorite Muppet duo partner up once again for a series of all-new adventures this spring as Warner Home Video and Sesame Workshop bring us Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures. No longer confined to their bedroom and finally gaining bodies that exist below the waist, Bert and Ernie take preschoolers on fantastic journeys to the Wild West, the Arctic circle, and outer space. They even travel through time and hang out with some cavemen! It’s all in the name of good fun and a good education, as there is a lesson to be learned in each adventure. There’s no puppetry (or would that be Muppetry?) involved here; in Great Adventures, the beloved roommates appear as claymation creations, which allows them to take part in some of the most outlandish sojourns one could imagine.
Personally, I’m a big fan of this series. Having grown up with Sesame Street, I relish every opportunity to watch the show with my daughter and pass on not only my love of the characters, but the joy of learning. Like many parents, I’m not always big on Elmo or the new breed of Sesame Street regulars, so I think it’s awesome to see my old favorites getting some air time. Some might argue with the idea of using claymation rather than the old-fashioned puppet-on-a-stick method, but Great Adventures definitely stays true to the spirit of Sesame Street and continues the rich tradition that has been building for 40 years. The characters are true to their live-action counterparts, with Bert always playing it safe and fearing anything that might take him outside his safety zone while Ernie acts as the comedic foil, always pushing Bert to try new experiences and new challenges. Sure, they might be in outer space encountering a race of aliens who bear a suspicious resemblance to Bert’s pointy head, but a rubber duckie is the same on any planet, dig? So you can rest assured that the Bert and Ernie depicted on this DVD are the very same ones you grew up with, even with they’re made of clay instead of foam and felt.
The DVD runs about 50 minutes and features 11 short episodes, so you don’t have to worry about taxing your child’s attention span or becoming bored with it midway through. They’re just long enough to tell a complete story and just short enough to get it over with before you get tired of watching it. But the beauty is that you won’t get sick of it! This show is legitimately entertaining, albeit aimed at a much, much younger audience than most of the television programs you’re probably watching. Then again, if you’ve got kids who are into Sesame Street, you’re probably not watching much television anyway, are you? If you’re familiar with "Sesame Street" and you’ve seen this segment, then you know what I’m talking about when I tell you that it has one of the catchiest theme songs ever and you’ll be humming it long after you’ve turned the DVD off.
So you know it’s fun, but at this point, you’re probably wondering about the educational value. It’s Sesame Street – do you really need to ask? Great Adventures tends to shy away from recognizing the alphabet and learning to count and instead puts the focus on problem-solving abilities and social skills. A great majority of the episodes deal with the life lessons that Bert and Ernie teach each other as well as showcasing values such as loyalty, respect, and tolerance. Like I said, it’s "Sesame Street". You know what to expect by now and they don’t disappoint.
At nearly an hour in length and retailing for $12.99, Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures is money well spent. It’s a treat for the whole family, whether you’re spending it inside on a rainy day or on a long car ride to grandma’s place. Educational, fun and (most importantly for parents) not annoying. You can’t go wrong with Sesame Street’s dynamic duo.