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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Sesame Street: Count on Sports
Sesame Street: Count on Sports
Other // Unrated // July 22, 2008
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted July 28, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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In 10 Words or Less
Learn about math and sports with the Sesame crew

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Sports, Hockey
Likes: Sesame Street, filthy puppets
Dislikes: Most kids TV
Hates: The respect not given to hockey

The Show
Bert and Ernie share an apartment, which tends to put them at odds, since Bert is more buttoned-down and quiet, and Ernie is more energetic and boisterous. On this particular day, as Bert tries to enjoy a book about math, Ernie's making a racket, setting up a TV studio in their flat, to produce ESSN, Ernie's Sports Show News. The only way to get Bert to go along with the plan is to make him a co-host on the show, which focuses on math and sports.

With reporters like lovable Prarie Dawn, Grover and Elmo checking in with stories and several sports stars stopping by, the special takes the opportunity to teach math concepts like numbers, shapes and positioning via their applications in games like soccer, tennis, baseball and others (hockey gets the shaft), while providing a brief intro to the sports as well. Hammering home the ideas are a host of puppet character from Sesame Street, though Big Bird, Oscar and Cookie Monster are noticeably absent.

The lessons are cute and appropriate, like teaching geometry via the shapes on a baseball field or counting the number of cars going by on a race track, and the ESSN concept isn't overdone, simply pacing out the segments. I'm not certain, but some of the material may be reused from other shows, especially a musical scene with Elmo and his dad, which has a tenuous connection with the theme. It won't matter to the kids watching though. Whether they'll care about Dominque Dawes, Vince Carter or Venus Williams making appearances is questionable also. I imagine they'd probably prefer more Elmo anyway.

At 45 minutes, the DVD flies by, and isn't likely to bore anyone, though the Elmo and dad song is syrupy sweet (as is the norm for them,) My two-year-old watched intently throughout, counting along with the show, which is a positive sign, as she's a harsher critic than I am, and will get fidgety if not entertained or engaged. I can't say there's much here to keep parents too enthralled, but if you feel like taking something wholesome and making it absolutely filthy, you can listen for every mention of balls and twist it in your own dirty mind. Enjoy.

The DVD
The one-disc release arrives in a not-so-standard green single-width keepcase, which has another pointless slipcover that repeats the cover art. The disc has an animated full-frame main menu with options to play the show, select chapters, adjust languages and check out special features. Audio options include English and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks and English and Spanish subtitles, though there are no closed captions.

The Quality
There's a mix of full-frame source material here, which means you get a variety of video quality, ranging from somewhat dull, grainy video during the outdoor live-action sections (especially when not featuring puppets), to bright, beautiful letterboxed widescreen video during Elmo's song. The main video from inside the apartment is very good, with solid detail and color and no issues with dirt, damage or compression artifacts.

The audio is plain and simple, with right-down-the-middle tracks that are clear, but without any kind of dynamic mix. There's nothing negative about the sound, as it's just as you'd expect from Sesame Street.

The Extras
Did you wonder why football wasn't one of the sports represented here? So did I, especially when I saw special thanks in the credits to the New York Jets, despite them not appearing in the show. Well, apparently winning football games isn't the only thing the Jets have trouble with, as their segment apparently fell outside of the math theme. Coach Eric Mangini and players Chad Pennington, Laveranues Coles and Ben Graham stop by Sesame Street to help Elmo train, and he does the alphabet with them. It's rather cringe-worthy watching them try to act, but amusing nonetheless.

Also included are three animated shorts under the banner "Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures." Done in a claymation style, they are cute, but at about five minutes each, including the title sequence, there's not much involved. Plus, it's weird to see their feet.

The disc wraps with three previews of other Sesame Street DVDs.

The Bottom Line
A dual-introduction to the worlds of math and sports, this DVD presents both topics well, and in a way that will appeal to little kids. The DVD looks and sounds as solid as any entry in this genre, and there are actually some extras worth a look, if only for the one's cringe factor. Whether this gets a lot of spins by your child will depend on their interest in sports, but it's a good choice for anyone looking for a way to enforce math learning.


Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

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*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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