So, They're Reviving "Electric Company"

How true to the original will it be, I wonder?

Will we get someone as talented and sexy as Rita Moreno?

No good can come of this…

Ah, yes. This looks quite interesting. Karen Fowler, executive producer, told Time Out New York Kids that the series is “a loving homage, not a rip-off.” To quote the mag’s Mike Albo, “Three hallmarks of the original have been revived: a cast member opens each episode yelling 'Hey you guys!,” Paul the Gorilla pops up now and then, and those silhouettes still whisper sweet phonetic nothings. Otherwise, the show has been completely revamped." The new series stars four young teens who travel around New York City using their word-based powers to solve problems and defeat bumbling goons. As with the original, animated inserts and songs will help educate about phonics and letters. (Silent E, according to a new song, is “the baddest ninja in town” due to its ability to sneak up and change a vowel’s sound. Probably not the way Tom Lehrer would have put it, but a clever turn of phrase.)

The official EC YouTube channel has clips of the show and inserts and also explains why Sesame Workshop has decided to bring the show back- much as there was at the time the original series was launched in the '70s, there is a literacy crisis in America, with a number of young people unable to read at an elementary level. PBS’s Between the Lions, co-created by Sesame Street vet Christopher Cerf, also has dealt with phonics and reading in a clever way for the past couple years- Chicken Jane, Cliff Hanger, Arty Smartypants, and other recurring characters are probably as memorable to today’s children as Letterman and Fargo North, Decoder were to kids in the '70s.

This isn’t the first time a PBS show has been revived for a new audience- from 1999 to 2005, WGBH produced an updated ZOOM, bringing back viewer interaction and Ubbi-Dubbi.

The series will feature varied guests including Wyclef Jean, Jimmy Fallon, and Samantha Bee. The original Electric Company started the career of such luminaries as Morgan Freeman- one wonders if any of the young cast will become famous.

A two hour preview of The Electric Company airs Monday on PBS stations- check local listings.

After seeing the videos and the reasons they’re reviving the show, I retract my curmudgeonly objections. I’m not the target audience (which is good, because I don’t really find it anywhere near as interesting as the old show was), and despite the natural desire to believe that one’s childhood experiences and nostalgia are universal throughout time and space…they’re not.

The motivation is noble, the revival is necessary, and though I hold onto my nostalgia for the original show, I welcome the new incarnation.

“cuh” … “rack”

… “crack”

No Bloodhound Gang???

As long as they don’t bring back that horrid “dunking donuts” song.

Frankly, they should never have taken the show off the air in the first place.

That was 3-2-1 Contact.

According to Michael Davis’s recent (excellent) history of Sesame Street, Street Gang, the reason the original Electric Company went off the air was because CTW had to cut their federal funding and couldn’t license products from the show in the same way they could Sesame Street because there were no characters that could be marketed (Sesame Workshop is a non-profit and makes a lot of their operating profits from the sales of licensed merchandise).
For some reason, the fact that the bumbling goon in one of the preview clips is wearing a Mattel Power Glove amuses me.

Huh? Easy Reader, Jennifer of the Jungle, Paul the Gorilla, J. Arthur Crank, Maurice, The Director, Letterman, Spellbinder…there were plenty of characters. Admittedly, most of them weren’t cute and cuddly, but still…

You’ve got a point, but I don’t think stuffed animals of them would fly off the shelves the way a stuffed Cookie Monster or Oscar the Grouch would (or, to use a later example, Tickle Me Elmo).

There were Electric Company books, and even a special version of “Spidey” comic books tied-in with the show.

The Electric Companeeeeeeeeee. I now have this theme tidbit as my new earworm! I don’t remember much of this show, but I do know that I thought it was ‘cooler’ than Sesame Street. It was so modern, man!

Will the soap opera saga “Love Of Chair” continue?

And what about…Naomi?

For the answer to that and other questions, tune in tomorrow.

How can they not have Spidey Super Stories?

I’d buy a Letterman action figure.


I’ve seen the previews and they aren’t good.

The problem is there is no need to remake the show. Just rerun it, it’s not like

Lah - Ike = Like

Is gonna change anymore.