NEW YORK – “Sesame Street” is about to get a whole lot cuter.
Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby and the rest of the Muppets gang are introducing a new character on the show this summer – a white and brown puppy named Tango, the Associated Press has learned.
“We wanted to explore this special connection between children and animals by introducing this new character,” said Kay Wilson Stallings, executive vice president of creation and production at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind. Sesame Street “.
Tango will join the 52nd season of “Sesame Street” as an animated character and live Muppet, in episodes this fall on HBO Max and streaming on PBS KIDS in 2022.
The puppy will be featured in a 30-minute animated special “Furry Friends Forever: Elmo Gets a Puppy,” which debuts on HBO Max on August 5. She is technically Elmo’s second pet – he has been caring for Dorothy’s goldfish for several years.
“He’s doing pretty well taking care of his goldfish,” Stallings said. “We thought he had successfully taken care of Dorothy and that this could be the next step in her development and responsibilities, in her learning and in her growth.”
Plans to bring a pet to Sesame Street predate the pandemic, when animal adoptions soared. Sesame Workshop hopes that Tango will lead to the modeling of an aid adapted to the age of pets, their care and their diet.
“The timing is perfect. It wasn’t like we decided six months ago,“ Let’s create this new character because a lot of people are adopting pandemic pets. ”But we do know that many families have adopted animals. companionship during the pandemic as a source of solace and joy, ”Stallings said.
“With Elmo adopting Tango, it will reflect for many of our children what they now experience at home and help them understand how to love and care for their furry friends.”
Details on Tango have been carefully researched, with internal discussions about what she should look like and which gender to choose. Stallings, who has a long-haired dachshund at home, has put his own preferences aside for the common good.
“We decided that it would be really better to make sure that the way to make her as accessible and really appealing to as many kids and families as possible is to just make her look like a mixed race,” he said. she declared. “She could be a bit of anything. Anyone who has a pet can see a bit of their pet in Tango.”
In the animated, song-filled movie, Grover and Elmo go out during recess and meet the friendly but sad stray puppy sitting mournfully in a cardboard box. She enjoys music and dancing and itches under the chin.
Even Oscar the Grouch calls her a “cute and adorable little furball.”
HOW TO MEET A DOG
Grover warns Elmo that whenever you approach a dog, move gently and let it sniff the back of your hand. “This is how doggies get to know you. Or, should I say, sniff you out,” Grover says.
Then the fuzzy monsters realize that the puppy is homeless. They decide that an animal fair is the perfect place to find him a new home.
“We’ll find you the home you deserve, little puppy,” said Grover.
The couple also name the dog after ballroom dancing because that’s what she loves to do. She dances the tango.
Along the way, Cookie Monster offers her dog treats and Abby Cadabby cleans her in a magical bubble bath, while singing, “It was fun getting dirty. Now, well done for getting clean.” The songs are by Paul Buckley.
Finding the pet fair empty, Elmo realizes.
“Elmo knows where Tango’s house could be,” he said.
Grover asks, “Where? “
Elmo replies, “With Elmo.” But first he needs parental permission. Elmo promises to feed, play, bathe, and take Tango for a walk. “We don’t need an animal fair to know we make a good couple,” he sings.
The message: let love take you.
Tango will remain a puppy – just as Elmo will always be 3.5 years old – but Stallings said the dog’s future as a recurring character is bright, with even the possibility of his own lead one day.
First and foremost, Stallings said, the creators focus solely on Tango and Elmo’s relationship as she gets to grips with the rest of the characters from “Sesame Street”.
“But if there are stories to tell and educational reasons for doing so, we could potentially consider turning Tango into its own series,” Stallings said.