First off, let me just say that I love Sesame Street. I think it is the greatest educational program on television, and I hope it never goes off the air. My earliest memory comes from an earthquake when I was three years old; the clearest part of that memory is the Sesame Street t-shirt I was wearing at the time.
There was one clip that never failed to terrify me as a child. It was a music video called “Wet Paint.”
My terror whenever this segment appeared onscreen supplied my parents (and, later on, my siblings) with endless amusement. “It’s just paint, Munchkin!” my father would say while I burrowed my head in his shoulder and cried.
I was too young to articulate exactly what it was about this that freaked me out so very badly. And one would think that, now that I’ve reached the ripe old age of 22, I would no longer be able to describe those feelings, since there’s no way it could freak me out now.
But it does.
You guys, it freaks me out so bad.
I saw the clip on Hulu as I was enjoying a trip down memory lane (a.k.a. the Sesame Street Hulu page) and laughed. “Oh man, this used to give me nightmares.” I clicked on it, eager to prove to myself just how much I’ve grown up.
My flesh immediately began crawling.
So now, I will attempt to make you all see why, exactly, this gives me the creepy-crawlies. (Side note: Remember Creepy Crawlers? I always wanted that set.)
First, the beat and melody to this song are bone-chilling. One of the beat-makers sounds like someone stepping into quicksand, and we all know what happens to people who step into quicksand. The melody does not indicate the happy fun times painting that the lyrics seem to want to indicate.
Furthermore, the lyrics do not actually indicate happy fun times with paint. There’s lots of throwing imagery (“you slosh it all around,” “slather it and slop it”) and unpleasant words like “gushy,” “smelly,” “slippy,” “sloppy,” and “gloppy,” which I associate with that horrible fudge monster in Candyland (a game I never liked, incidentally). And I also have to be careful not to drop it on the cold, cold ground? Like the ground that my corpse will soon be in?
But worst of all is the actual imagery. The way the paint plops down the wall in the background, like multi-hued blood; the way the video’s title creepily drips down the screen. The be-galosh’d-legs (that look as though they are not attached to any sort of body) slipping around on a ton of paint on the cold, cold ground. And all throughout, occasional sprays and splotches cover the camera lens, blotting out the singers, culminating in an absolutely horrifying orgy of paint that completely covers the lens.
Go ahead and laugh, if you like. But now I know that some fears never die…Including that of wet paint.