March 26, 2009

Milk, The Mayor Of Sesame Street

I'd completely forgotten about this till ten minutes ago. Milk is a documentary short from Sesame Street's "How do they make ___?" golden era, the 1970's.

Like the classic crayon film, and unlike their chatty competition over there in Mr Rogers' Neighborhood, Mr McFeely, Milk has no narration, just groovy music. Yet it wraps up the steps of milk production in a snuggly story blanket: in this case, a hungry baby is waiting for her bottle.

As I was watching it with K2, I kept thinking, "What kind of parents run out of milk like that? And what is this teaching my kid about demand forecasting and supply chain management?" And then at the end, they--well, I won't spoil it for you.

Sesame Street, Milk Crisis [sic] [youtube]
A 2007 interview with Robert Dennis, who composed Milk and Oh, Calcutta! [dothemath]

8 Comments

I totally loved that sketch when I was a kid... though at the time I thought the nice milk man was hurrying to bring that specific baby her milk RIGHT THEN.

(And the end... wow. Surprised Sesame Workshop let that ride!)

I loved it when I saw it as a young child, but I hate it now. Why didn't they just breastfeed the baby?

I was wondering what the "where does formula come from?" film would have looked like.

I can be pretty thick sometimes, so let me make sure I understand what the elephant in the room is here (spoiler alert)...you're talking about the fact that a pair of black hands gives the white baby its bottle?

I'd like to give Sesame Street the benefit of the doubt and given their tendency to embrace all different types of kids and families - maybe these hands really belong to the baby's parent?

Or, maybe I'm being too dense and this really was an oversight to display such a racist and classist image.

uh, actually, no, what I meant was what Shriek House thought at the time: that this milk man was delivering the milk to THAT baby. So the reason the kid had no milk wasn't because her parents didn't go to the store, but because the milk man hadn't delivered it yet; because that's how you got milk back then.

Interesting idea about the black hands, though; I'd never noticed that.

uh, actually, no, what I meant was what Shriek House thought at the time: that this milk man was delivering the milk to THAT baby. So the reason the kid had no milk wasn't because her parents didn't go to the store, but because the milk man hadn't delivered it yet; because that's how you got milk back then.

Interesting idea about the black hands, though; I'd never noticed that.

We'll sing the 'milk, milk, milk' refrain to our little guy when it's feeding time.

How you run out of milk is that one spouse is responsible for ordering and the other cooks the evening meal and makes rice pudding or cheese sauce without notifying the milk orderer in triplicate three weeks in advance. Or she drank loads in the night...

(in the UK we still get milk deliveries - though these days with the under-1s only having formula/breast milk and the under-5s having whole milk recommended but everyone else being weight conscious and drinking skimmed, most families I know have about 2 or 3 kinds of milk delivered).

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