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To try to get a handle on this debate that no one is discussing, I compared some of the Sesame Street's recent musical guests with those on Yo Gabba Gabba! to see who out-cools whom.
John Legend vs. The Roots
Which show's cooler? On the surface, this looks like it would be close, but it's no contest. There is no musical act right now that is cooler than the Roots. Don't take my word for it; just ask Jimmy Fallon. He's gotten cooler just been hanging out with them on a nightly basis. Yo Gabba Gabba!
Which show's cooler? It's the Tangle From the Tundra! The Uprising From Up North! The Clash of the Caroling Canucks! Well, it would be if Of Montreal was actually from Canada. And it's that type of artistic dishonesty that kids shouldn't be exposed to. Plus, what kid wouldn't want to spend a day hanging out with Feist? Sesame Street
Which show's cooler? Perform your song as a Muppet or perform your song dressed in bug costumes? I'm sorry, but being immortalized as a Muppet will always out-cool ... well, anything short of having an orgy with Eva Green and Jon Hamm while reaching escape velocity on the last space shuttle mission, ripped to the tits on DMT. Sesame Street
Chris Brown vs. Jack Black
Which show's cooler? This is sort of the anti-cool face off as these guest spots really show which program made the least embarrassing booking. You really can't fault The Street for not knowing in 2007 that Chris Brown was going to go all Jake LaMotta on Rhianna. Whereas if you're an over-the-top, edge-of-surreal, flamboyant show like YGG! having Jack Black on is gilding the lilly. Still, it's Chris Brown, and it's a children's show. It still creeps me out. Yo Gabba Gabba!
NON-MUSICAL TIEBREAKER: Jason Mraz vs. Paul Williams
Which show's cooler? The only reason that this is non-musical is that I can't find the proper performance clips online. (The Horror!) This match-up is interesting in that both musicians perform the same song*: "Rainbow Connection." Now, you're probably thinking, "This is a no-brainer! Sesame Street wins because that's a Muppet song, and Yo Gabba Gabba! cribbed it!" Except that YGG! had the man who wrote the song perform it, which makes it a nice tip of the cap to the enduring legacy of Jim Henson's legacy. Plus, Paul Williams was in Smokey and the Bandit. All Jason Mraz has been in is someone called Tristan Prettyman. Yo Gabba Gabba!
The cool verdict By a half note, Yo Gabba Gabba! shows its a smidge cooler than Sesame Street. But The Street shouldn't feel bad. It's staying competitive, and it's nice to see it's stepping up its game and not resting on its well-pedigreed laurels.
Ultimately, though, the real winners are the kids. Who wants a generation raised only on kiddie icons like Hannah Montana, Justin Bieber and Insane Clown Posse?