Most of my generation who grew up in front of public television remember Sesame Street and its host of memorable characters: Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Elmo, Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, The Count… Who can forget such gems as “It’s Not Easy Being Green” or “C is for Cookie” or “Rubber Ducky?”
As fun as it is to wax nostalgic with Sesame Street, I can’t say that I really enjoyed the show that much as a child. I was terribly averse to anything that felt like learning disguised as entertainment. My fondest memories from the show actually come from some of the more obscure characters such as the Martians, a.k.a. the Yip Yips.
The premise behind the Yip Yips was to teach kids about the properties of certain objects by looking at them from an alien perspective. Although this concept was by no means new or revolutionary, the Yip Yips were able to pull it off in a way that still makes me laugh today.
These were probably the simplest puppets ever featured on Sesame Street, controlled by only a pair of sticks. Yet I remember quoting them back and forth with my dad for years after, well into my teens.
Thanks to the wonder that is YouTube and some other kind souls who apparently thought the Yip Yips were worthy of preservation, my kids have now become subject to my crazy sense of humor.
So now, we’ve found ourselves going around in public saying dumb things like, “Book say Earth person have hands!” And the little ones oblige me by replying with the obligatory, “Yip yip yip yip yip!” It’s a strange feeling, to say the least – I’m so proud of them for having such offbeat senses of humor, but I worry that I’m going to make them as nuts as I am.
Unfortunately, Tabitha is not immune. While digging around for Yip Yip videos, we found one with a Yip Yip family singing a cute song that I didn’t seem to remember from my childhood. Of course, it didn’t take long before we all knew the words and started singing it back and forth, because it embedded itself in our heads. It’s getting as bad as Bananaphone was at first.
So, if you happen to see us over the holidays or any other time in the future reciting some ridiculousness back and forth, please don’t be alarmed. Don’t start making your way to the nearest exit while pretending to take an important phone call – all the while dialing 9-1-1. Just ask us what movie or show we’re quoting and we’ll happily show you what’s so darn funny on the nearest available interweb portal.