There’s nothing like a good children’s TV show to take the edge off adult life.
Any parent who has sneak-watched kids’ shows when the kids aren’t around knows what I mean. It’s a great escape from harsh grown-up realities to stroll down “Sesame Street” (special shoutout to its awesome “Stranger Things” spoof last fall) or chill with “Arthur” (where anthropomorphic aardvarks and other animals are deeply, wonderfully human) or tune in to the manic energy of “DuckTales” (which now has Lin-Manuel Miranda as recurring character Gizmoduck, an intern/inventor whose lab in his bathroom).
This past weekend, HBO launched the first new series from the Sesame Workshop folks in more than a decade: “Esme & Roy,” a half-hour animated show (9:30 a.m. on Saturdays) about a little girl and her monster pal. The premise is that they’re “monster sitters” — taking care of challenging child monsters.
It’s not exactly groundbreaking TV, but it is a lot of fun. Esme is a calm and clever human. Roy is a furry, horned monster, and a quipster: “It’s like I always say — breakfast is the most important meal before lunch.”
Even though humans and monsters aren’t exactly the same, Esme and Roy get along famously. In each episode, the pair gets new baby-sitting clients — like Simon, the incredibly finicky eater. All he wants for lunch is his favorite fish and stinky cheese sandwich, but the one-eyed family dog ate it first.
Then comes the “monster meltdown.” And it’s up to Esme and Roy to restore calm and order. But not by yelling. They come up with fun interventions, like convincing Simon to build a sculpture of veggies and then taste it. Turns out carrots aren’t so bad!
The show adds “mindfulness” to the mix, but it’s not too touchy-feely. Esme gives good instructions on overcoming a meltdown. D.C.’s stressed out multitaskers and motorists would benefit: “Take a deep breath, put your hands on your tummy, feel your belly rise and fall, in through your nose and out through your mouth.”
I feel better already. Thank you, Esme!