Over the course of 45 seasons, Sesame Street has proved to be just as effective (and hilarious) at spoofing pop culture and television shows aimed at adults, or rather the parents watching with their kids. From the inclusion of detailed Muppet-inspired opening credits to an overload of punny references, these lampoons are also love letters to hit shows. In true Sesame fashion, writers get inspired by the show titles and tweak the premises to teach clever concepts, be it Mad Men’s take on emotions or 30 Rock’s guide to counting. To celebrate Sesame Street Day (November 10), here are some of the best and most recent television parodies that the long-running series has produced.
Zach Hyman/Sesame Street
"Game of Chairs"
The race for the Iron Throne would be much simpler—and take up fewer books—if it was decided by a game of musical chairs (or thrones) as this sketch demonstrates. And though Grover’s many, many errors make the competition to become the ruler of “Chesteros” quite funny, it’s the references to many of the HBO series’ well-known deaths and catchphrases that send this spoof over the top.
"Upside Downton Abbey"
Sesame’s take on the hit PBS drama focuses less on class commentary and more on the fact that the Abbey itself is upside down—much to the chagrin of Carson the Butler, who is simply trying to serve the Dowager Countess her tea. After much of her meal finds its way to the ceiling, even the fickle aristocrat has to agree, that perhaps Upside Downton Abbey would be much better right side up.
Who says ad men don’t have hearts (or a wide range of emotions)? In the case of the acclaimed eMC AMC show, Sesame Street simply had to use the show’s title to find its educational message. The hilarious spoof takes viewers into the Muppet version of Don Draper as he and his associates come up with a perfect image for the Happy Honey Bear account. In their quest for the perfect pictures, Draper and Co. find themselves becoming sad, glad—and most importantly—mad men.
This parody of the Showtime drama is still about a wolf in sheep’s clothing—but one about the Big Bad Wolf infiltrating the lamb-filled CIA as Nicholas Baa-rody. Luckily, Caa-rrie Mathison trusts her instincts and takes a page out of Little Red Riding Hood’s book to compare Baa-rody’s facial features to a lamb’s. But in the process of trying to prove that he’s an imposter to Saul Baa-renson and the rest of her CIA colleagues, Caa-rrie falls for Baa-rody—just like on the actual show.
While the TNT drama often saw Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson close cases with her impressive interrogation skills, this Sesame version of Brenda focuses on closing literal cases within her office, like Lieutenant Provenza’s very full overnight suitcase.
Organized crime and bootlegging are far from the long-running show's educational wheelhouse, but the bird pun-filled parody of the HBO drama focuses on the “birdwalk” itself. Fowls “Duckie” and “Clucky” Luciano face off against each other in an effort to define the right way to walk down the boardwalk.
Tina Fey probably never imagined that Liz Lemon would be rendered into an actual lemon, but the spoof couldn’t be more perfect. The cute send-up of the NBC sitcom “really rocks, and then rocks some more” as it sees Liz, along with her boss Jack, forced to count the number of rocks that have been delivered to ensure she has the 30 rocks she needs for a sketch.