Though it may sometimes feel like Game of Thrones is the only programming HBO has, that's not true. In the drama department, there are series like Westworld and True Detective, and in comedies, there's Barry and Ballers. The channel also brings viewers award-winning miniseries like Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects. But perhaps its best acquisition was Sesame Street, which it rescued from the constant fear of public television defunding in August of 2015. Sesame Street's parodies are one of the show's best features and this new Game Of Thrones-Sesame Street mashup as part of the "Respect" campaign the latter show is doing, is absolute genius.
It might seem only natural that Sesame Street would take advantage of being neighbors with Westeros and bring crossover parodies around to coincide with every Game of Thrones season. After all, GoT is HBO's most popular show by several orders of magnitude, and taking advantage of the Muppet penchant for parody seems like a no-brainer. But the last time Sesame Street even dared to touch Westerosi humor was during the show's fifth season in April of 2015, back when it was still a PBS series run by the Children's Television Workshop nonprofit. Since HBO bought the show, it hasn't referenced Game of Thrones, perhaps concerned it would be viewed as the series being affected by its new owner.
Thankfully that has changed. Check out this scene, which stars Elmo, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister.
I often say Headey is robbed of an Emmy for her work as Cersei, but this seals the deal. Her shocked response to Elmo's appearance and her horror at what the little red knight is demanding of her is something else entirely. Not that Dinklage is slouching against his furry felted costar, but Headey's performance makes this scene about a thousand times funnier than it might otherwise be.
The "Respect Brings Us Together" campaign, which kicks off the month, is part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of Sesame Street's first broadcast. Game of Thrones isn't the only HBO show that's agreed to participate in doing parody shorts for it either. HBO's other massive fantasy series, Westworld, is also stepping up to be a part of "Respect World," with a clip directed by the show's creator Lisa Joy.
According to the press release, the CEO of Sesame Workshop Jeffrey D. Dunn hopes this sends a message to both kids and parents:
Sesame Street was created in 1969, a time not unlike today, when there were large social divisions... Half a century later, our society is increasingly divided on many issues, and we know that kids pick up on this tension. We have always shown preschoolers that everyone is welcome on Sesame Street. Our hope with this campaign is that a lighthearted look at a very serious subject can help us all pause for a moment to remember the value in respecting the viewpoints of others, even when they differ greatly from our own.
Fans should expect more "Respect" crossover videos to roll out over the next few months, as the show gets closer to the official 50th-anniversary date this September.