Five Times Bob, Luis and Gordon from ‘Sesame Street’ Taught Us to Be Better

Bob McGrath and Matt Robinson (the original "Gordon") on 'Sesame Street' in the 1970s.

Bob McGrath and Matt Robinson (the original "Gordon") on 'Sesame Street' in the 1970s. (Image via Muppet Wiki)

Sometimes the news just hurts.

After the revelation that Sesame Street has cut from the show its longtime cast members Bob McGrath, Roscoe Orman and Emilio Delgado — Bob, Gordon, and Luis — just about anyone who grew up on the show is asking the same question: How can you get rid of family?

Simply put, Bob, Gordon, and Luis raised me. And they raised me right. They, like the show’s other characters, taught me to be a better person: to be kind, empathetic, non-judgmental. To live with humor and smarts. To be myself, but also understand and respect the world’s diversity and interconnectedness.

Here are five times that Bob, Gordon and Luis helped all of us toward those goals.

‘People in Your Neighborhood’

As a child, I thought of this song as a basic introduction to various jobs I might have when I grew up. But the Bob McGrath staple is really about something deeper: the way the world is connected, and how we’re all pieces of something bigger than ourselves. This theme may sound familiar; it’s guided me solidly into adulthood.

‘Sing’

A simple reminder to enrich yourself by staying creative. We’ve all felt the drought when we’re not activating the creative part of our brain, and no matter how rudimentary or amateur, participating in creativity is important and often lost in today’s world. I’m always singing songs, and finding new ones, even as I get older. Luis’ verse, in Spanish, reminds me that there’s an entire world of new, different songs out there.

‘Gordon Rides his Bike Through the City’

The world is fast-paced, and in the computer age, it’s tempting (and sometimes expected) to work around the clock. There’s no dialogue in this clip — just Gordon, on his bike, taking a relaxing ride and exploring the world around him. Paired with a laid-back jazz flute soundtrack, it serves as a reminder that it’s healthy to take time off, to get outside, and to come back to work a more centered person.

‘Gordon and Luis are Hungry’

An apple tree, two hungry friends, and a wooden crate. The idea presented here is easy enough for the youngest mind to understand, and vulnerable enough for the older, staunchly independent mind to forget: that sometimes you’ve gotta ask for help.

‘Goodbye Mr. Hooper’

It still gets me. From one of the show’s most famous episodes, which approached the death of shopkeeper Mr. Hooper with groundbreaking skill and grace. McGrath shed tears for us all when he explained to Big Bird: “It’ll never be the same around here without him. But you know something? We can all be very happy that we had a chance to be with him, and to know him, and to love him a lot when he was here.” As I get older, accepting death becomes more and more valuable. This episode taught me how.

 

Read more: ‘Sesame Street’ Lets Go Longtime Cast Members Bob, Gordon and Luis

Five Times Bob, Luis and Gordon from ‘Sesame Street’ Taught Us to Be Better 28 July,2016Gabe Meline

  • Powers

    Good article and great clips! But that lead image doesn’t show Roscoe Orman. I’m pretty sure that’s the original Gordon, Matt Robinson.

    • Gabe Meline

      Correct! Noted above, thanks.

  • jq747

    Gordon’s ride was always one of my favorite clips. It encouraged me to learn to ride a bike.

Author

Gabe Meline

Gabe Meline is KQED Arts’ Senior Editor. He lives with his wife, his daughter, a 1964 Volvo and too many records in his hometown of Santa Rosa, CA. Find him on Twitter at @gmeline.

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