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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Furchester Hotel is a Sesame Street production set in an underperforming British hotel staffed by comically inept but well-meaning monsters. Every episode presents the hoteliers with a new group of guests who have unique concerns that need to be met, sending the employees into a flurry of attempts at solving the problems. Their fixes don't always do the trick the first time around, so viewers see the benefits of perseverance and a lot of teamwork. Kids will learn that it's the effort -- not always the outcome -- that counts and that there's great joy in helping others. This highly enjoyable series is an excellent pick for preschoolers and their parents.
What's the story?
Tucked between two modern high-rises in a bustling metropolis is a slightly off-kilter establishment called THE FURCHESTER HOTEL, a half-star inn run by jovial monsters who cater to guests of all shapes and sizes. Proprietors Fergus Fuzz (voiced by Andrew Spooner) and his wife, Funella Furchester (Louise Gold), take pride in offering their guests personalized attention for a relaxing stay, be they monsters, penguins, or garden-variety vegetables. Daughter Phoebe (Sarah Burgess) always has ideas for better customer service, and her cousin Elmo (Ryan Dillon) is on hand to help out, too. Rounding out the core staffers are Isabel, a tiny monster who doubles as a call bell at the check-in desk, and Cookie Monster (David Rudman), the dining room chef and waiter. But with such a varied clientele, there's no telling what sorts of troubles will arise under the hotel's roof or the lengths to which the staff will have to go to accommodate their unique needs.
Is it any good?
Parents who grew up watching Sesame Street will love how The Furchester Hotel extrapolates on many of that show's beloved traits. The show's all-Muppet cast reflects diversity in characters who are human (well, Muppet-human anyway), monster, animal, and vegetable in heritage. There are songs that relate to the day's catastrophe, breakout dance numbers, and classic Muppet humor à la talking food, animals running amok, and monster impulses. And no, Cookie Monster still can't be trusted around plates of his favorite dessert.
Focusing on social skills, this show puts the characters in situations where they have to consider other people's feelings and think creatively to accommodate their needs, and the fact that the monsters seem so happy to do so reminds preschoolers that there's great satisfaction in showing kindness. As they solve the problems that arise, they also learn that things don't always work out on the first try, but they set good examples for kids in their positive attitude and determination to see their efforts through to a satisfactory end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes the Furchester Hotel a special place. How do the monsters who work there strive to give their guests a good experience? How does that make the guests feel? Does it make your kids happy to do something nice for friends?
What are this show's messages about family unity? What are the common goals of the Furchester family? How do they show that these are important to them? Why is it easier to make these goals happen when they work together?
Kids: Do you get frustrated by problems that are difficult to fix? What are some coping techniques for working through situations like this? To whom can you turn for help when you face them?
- Premiere date: September 26, 2014
- Cast: Sarah Burgess, Ryan Dillon, Louise Gold
- Networks: BBC, Sprout
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Music and Sing-Along
- Character strengths: Perseverance, Teamwork
- TV rating: NR
- Available on: Streaming
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