Katy Perry fans wondering how to get to “Sesame Street” can forget it, for now. The singer’s appearance on the Sesame Workshop show has been canceled, according to the Silicon Valley Mercury News. A YouTube video of the singer caused some parents to think twice about wanting their children to see the episode because Perry was reportedly showing too much cleavage. The video is still viewable here on YouTube. Though the dress does show some cleavage, it’s not the same level of exposure she usually displays at concerts.
There have been a number of embarrassing and controversial moments in television history, from 1965 when Soupy Sales encouraged children to send “green pieces of paper” from their parent’s wallets to him to the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” from the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. Jackson, performing with Justin Timberlake, accidentally exposed her right breast during the Feb. 1, 2004, event.
Another example: The original “Star Trek” episode “Plato’s Children” that aired Nov. 22, 1968, was a controversial and groundbreaking television event at the time. The episode was thought to have shown the first interracial kiss on television between actors William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols. The full episode can be seen here on YouTube. However, Sammy Davis Jr. and Nancy Sinatra had kissed briefly on the “Movin’ With Nancy” show in 1967.
Bloomfield Hills mother Terry Rakolta wrote the sponsors of “Married with Children” to complain about the episode “Her Cups Runneth Over” on Jan. 15, 1989. In it, Al Bundy and his friend Steve buy a bra for Al’s wife Peggy. Rakolta appeared on talk shows and subsequently wound up raising the ratings for the show, according to Bundology.com. A segment of the episode can be seen here on YouTube.
Controversy is all a part of the entertainment business, and it can be difficult to determine where the line of what is and isn’t appropriate for younger viewers exists. One person’s sense of indecency is another person’s norm. There are divisions among parents regarding whether children should be exposed to the world as it is or whether they should be protected until children can better understand the images they may see. Today’s parents must look beyond television and movies and consider the images their children may be exposed to online.
The controversy with Katy Perry will likely blow over in a week or so, unlike the Janet Jackson incident, which coined the term “wardrobe malfunction.” Considering the many real threats and crises children may be confronted with, it seems like a low-level issue to be concerned about anatomy that most children, not that long ago, found to be a source of nurturing.
Tony Hicks, “People: Katy Perry’s cleavage too much for Sesame Street” Silicon Valley Mercury News
ZackBlackv1, “Katy Perry- Hot N Cold with Elmo on Sesame Street” YouTube
Bundology.com, “Terry Rakolta’s Fight against Married… with Children”
CBS, “Star Trek: The Original Series: Plato’s Stepchild” YouTube
mwcvideos, “MWC: Her Cups Runneth Over” YouTube