Sunday, March 6, 2011

Twins in Popular Culture: Sesame Street

Sesame Street recently had a "Twins Day" episode. We at watched the episode to evaluate its portrayal of twins.

All in all, the verdict is mixed. While the word of the day was "identical" which was explained to mean exactly the same, Sesame Street did try to include the lesson that twins are individuals with their own likes.

I suppose it would have been two much to ask Sesame Street to explain the biological basis of twinning (for that, I'll have to wait for the Twins Day episode of 3-2-1 Contact). I imagine the motivation for this show (aside from, "Shoot, we need a theme for a show") was to teach children about twins, since the kids will no doubt encounter them in preschool or beyond.

There's a fine line between celebrating the coolness that is twindom without indulging in twin mysticism (a line this site knows a little something about treading). Unfortunately, Sesame Street stepped over the line a little bit with having regular cast member Chris (and the actor's real-life twin, Christy) talk about how they often are thinking exactly the same thing, and having them proclaim their "twin power".

On the other hand, the "important lesson" was taught by a segment where Abby and Zoe attempt to be twins to get into the Twins Day party, only to find out that having Abby cast a spell to make them both look alike doesn't truly make them the same. Also, real-life identical twins Micah and Aria explain how one of them likes knitting and the other likes tae kwon do.

All in all, a B-grade effort for introducing the concept of twins to young children. I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that my boys are going to confuse the heck out of their peers, but maybe educational efforts like this will mean they'll be confusing for other reason, not for their twinness.

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