Sesame Street - Big Bird Goes To Jail

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It's no shock that Sesame Street has covered many situations that many children and even adults struggle with, such as death and even incarceration. But what many people don't know is that there was one episode of Sesame Street that was too scary to be broadcast. The episode was filmed in 1994 and was called "Big Bird Goes To Jail".

I found out about this particular episode when working at the PBS Network, I had worked there since 1984 and let's just say that I hated every minute of it, the boss was a jerk and many of my co workers were no better. I almost got fired after I attacked one of them, Josh, in a blind rage as he snitched on me for something I didn't do. But can you blame me? Snitches get Stitches! My punishment instead of getting fired was cleaning out the archives. I thought that this would be the worst day of my life! I wasn't expecting what would come later!

As I was cleaning one of the shelves, I discovered an old tape, well from 1994, this happened in 2001 so it wasn't really old, but let's not have a debate shall we? It was labelled "Sesame Street- Prison Episode", the messy Sharpie writing confused me, but there was no time like the present to kill off my confusion, so I set up the conveniently placed TV and VCR and pushed the tape through the tray.

The funky 90s remix of the Sesame Street intro started, and when the official episode began, Gordon was the one to introduce the audience. "Hi, there! Welcome to Sesame Street! Big Bird is very excited, because it's his birthday party!" Birthday Party? What does that have to do with Jail or Prison? I thought it was just a mistake and continued watching. Big Bird then approached Gordon, claiming that he was really happy over and over again, typical Big Bird style. I thought this was any normal happy episode, but what came next was so shocking that it still haunts my nightmares.

Two cops come by, sirens and everything on, and when they get out of the car, they approach Big Bird and aim their pistols at him. "What on earth is happening?" Gordon asked, Big Bird tried to say something, but just as he was about to speak, a 3rd cop ran over and pepper sprayed AND tazed him at the same time! They then pinned him down and cuffed him. Gordon tried to tell the cops that they were mistaken, but he received no reply. "Big Bird, you are under arrest for theft and attempted murder of Cookie Monster, you have the right to remain silent!" spoke the female cop who dragged the weeping bird to the patrol car. Gordon asked if he can accompany Big Bird. "If you want to, say goodbye to him that is!" the same female cop taunted snickering. The car drove away after that.

Obviously this must have been a sick joke! A one off prank on the PBS staff. I continued watching to see what would happen. Next was one of the fun cartoons that would appear in the episodes, but this time it was foreshadowing what was to come, it showed a depressing looping animation with a guy sitting sobbing in a prison cell and orange jumpsuit, this realistic sounding cartoon was on screen for 2 minutes, but it was still unsettling and depressing. It then cut to outside the jail, it's stated that Big Bird has been charged with theft and attempted murder.

"Gordon?" weeped Big Bird, "I'm gonna miss you!" Gordon tried to hold back, "I'm gonna miss you to, buddy, don't worry, you'll only be in here for 10 years, that's not that long!" Big Bird, hearing his sentence again, broke down realistically and uncontrollably, and soon after Gordon shed some tears. The cops dragged Big Bird into the prison, or the "Sesame Street County Jail" as it said on the sign, and one led Gordon to the exit.

This is when the episode takes a really nasty turn, you would expect for Sesame Street standards that the prison will just be fake and the inmates will be Jim Henson's extra puppets. But NO! HELL NO! The prison was real, and the inmates were just as real and as dangerous as ever! When Big Bird and the officer walked by their cells, they automatically started jumping around and punching the cell doors to get to them. Big Bird was clearly terrified so he covered his arm over his eyes, but the officer restrained him, saying that moving his arm or wing was classified as an act of disobedience.

The scene faded into a frame of Big Bird in his jumpsuit, he was then lead into his pod, almost too small for him. "Officer... I'm scared!" Big Bird whimpered, "Oh you're scared are you?! Well, you asked for it! BOYS!" the officer ran out of the pod, followed by the faint yells and roars of the inmates getting louder, two of which came in and started to antagonise Big Bird. "YOU MINE, SON! YOU'RE MAKING MY COCK FEATHERY TONIGHT!!!" roared one with dark frizzy hair, and the other who was Asian with a large black beard screamed, "IT'LL BE YOUR EYES FOR OUR DESSERTS TONIGHT!!! IF NOT IT'S YOUR WHOLE FACE!!!" he then took a SHANK out of his pocket and started violently waving it about Big Bird's face, causing him to sob for Gordon, Bob and Maria.

It then cut to Bert reading the paper in the apartment. Turning the page he finds out the news about Big Bird. "Wow! Big Bird arrested and incarcerated? My gosh! What could possibly be next? Oscar The Grouch going to the town dump?" Then Ernie walks in weeping, "Oh, Bert! I'm worried about Big Bird! I heard that you can get raped and killed in prison! Oh Bert! What To Do?" Like Ernie, I was kinda getting worried myself, but then Ernie said something in which I could not explain, "Bert, it's so sad that Mr Snuffleupagus had committed suicide after the trial! Big Bird has no one now!" GOOD GOD! What even was this episode? This was so depressing and somewhat scary, I checked and there was only one scene left. Thank God! But when I saw it, it scared me so much, I fell backwards off of the stool I was sitting on!

It was shot of Big Bird, lying all bloody in his pod, with the shank the inmate used next to the blood pool surrounding him. It popped in so quick, can you really blame me for falling over? There was no sound at all except for faint echoing noises from the prisoners. The credits then roll over the image and the tape popped out of the VCR afterwards.

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