When You Wish Upon a Pickle: A Sesame Street Special

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
When You Wish Upon a Pickle: A Sesame Street Special TV Poster Image
Role playing reinforces affirming themes in fun TV special.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Strong social content that reinforces life lessons about embracing learning opportunities, being open to new experiences, being satisfied with your uniqueness. A few scenes incorporate basic preschool skills like counting, and one character uses common Spanish phrases in a conversation.

 

Positive Messages

Kids see characters take on unfamiliar roles, responsibilities when wishes unexpectedly come true. The experience forces them to face fears, try new things, step out of comfort zone, all of which has valuable lessons but ultimately reinforces appreciation for just being themselves. Story demonstrates importance of learning through role playing, imagination. Much diversity in show's cast, and the fact that characters try out different roles highlights the different jobs people do in a community.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the characters are open to new experiences and to learning from them. They go out of their way to be helpful. Even grouchiest one (Oscar) puts aside his own needs for those of his neighbors when it comes down to it.

 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that When You Wish Upon a Pickle: A Sesame Street Special illustrates the value of role playing in a story: Characters get to try out jobs that interest them after a magical newcomer grants their wishes. The message is clear: Imagination and curiosity are the building blocks of learning, and there's no better way to learn something than to try it firsthand. By immersing themselves in different experiences, the characters learn new skills, overcome challenges, and identify limits on their own abilities. In addition to these strong social themes, the show incorporates simple preschool concepts like counting, the senses, and using clues to solve puzzles. A culturally diverse cast, classic puppet characters, and lively musical numbers round out this special from the longtime leader in learning entertainment for preschoolers.

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What's the story?

In WHEN YOU WISH UPON A PICKLE: A SESAME STREET SPECIAL, a mysterious delivery causes mayhem on Sesame Street when a magic pickle grants wishes that have unexpected results for the residents. Suddenly Bert's a TV star, Elmo is running Hooper's store, Chris (Chris Knowings) is revisiting childhood, Cookie Monster has lookalikes running amok, and Abby and her favorite book character, Natalie Neptune (Amanda Seyfried), are hot on the case to figure out what's going on and how they can fix it. As everyone gets the chance to see what life is like in someone else's shoes, will they want to stay as they are or get back to being themselves?

Is it any good?

In keeping with Sesame Street's new "Learning Through Play" curriculum, this special sees three characters role playing in areas of career interest a store owner, a TV personality, and a detective. By making a wish (or having one made for them), Bert, Elmo, and Abby get to try these jobs and learn some of the skills that go along with them. There's mixed success in every case, but the experiences still teach them valuable lessons about their own capabilities. Meanwhile, other residents turn to the wish-granting pickle for hopes that don't turn out exactly as they had planned.

Sesame Street's nearly 50-year presence in preschool programming is no lucky accident. It has set the bar for TV that draws and maintains viewers' attention while incorporating quality prereading learning content and social themes. When You Wish Upon a Pickle aptly heralds the start of another season with classic puppet characters, a diverse human cast, and an amusing newcomer in the magic pickle who's "kind of a big dill" around town.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the characters in When You Wish Upon a Pickle: A Sesame Street Special learn from making and being granted their wishes. How does the reality compare to what they imagined it would be like? Are they happy to get back to their real selves at the end of the story? What do they learn from having had a different role?

  • Kids: How does seeing a situation from someone else's point of view help us to understand him or her better? What opportunities do you have to do so in your life? Whom do you admire for characteristics like courage or perseverance?

  • If you got a visit from the magic pickle, what would you ask for? What if you faced a choice like Oscar did, choosing between his own wish and making a wish on someone else's behalf?

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