Some news this week: I was sad to hear that Joey Mazzarino has left Sesame Street. He's been with the show for over 25 years, and the show's head writer since season 40. Season 46 is mostly finished, so he'll still be in the cast for the upcoming season, but after that, no more Joey.
In a Facebook post, he said that "after almost a year of battling for what I believe is the heart and soul of the show, I lost the war. So I packed up my metaphorical bags and and my literal office and I parted ways with Sesame Street." A lot of people have speculated that must have something to do with the HBO deal. I'm sorry it didn't work out the way he wanted it to.
Where I'm especially disappointed is that Joey is the performer of Murray Monster. I don't watch Sesame Street every day, but I catch it at different points over the year when I'm flipping channels, particularly in the summer, and Murray is one of my favorite things about the current incarnation of the show.
For the past six seasons, Murray has been something like the unofficial host of Sesame Street, opening the show, hosting the Word of the Day segment, and appearing around New York City doing, er, Muppet on the street interviews. He never interacted with the main cast all that much, though he would appear sometimes and guest in celebrity segments. A few years ago they introduced one of my favorite segments on the show right now, "Murray Has a Little Lamb," which sees Murray and his pet lamb Ovejita (performed by Carmen Osbahr) going to different schools around New York, participating in them and finding out what they're all about. They go to art school, ice skating school, gardening school, magic school, cooking school, you name it. There's a lot of them on YouTube, and they're charming, especially if you have kids to show them to.
I don't know what happens with those characters now. Does Murray get recast? Retired? What does this mean for Ovejita? I love that little lamb. There have been some great moments on the show in the last six years, and it's too bad to lose Joey Mazzarino as head writer. I'm curious to see what he does next.