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This Scarily Accurate Sesame Street Parody of Orange Is the New Black Has Chilled My Soul


The fifth season of Orange Is the New Black is out on Netflix today, and maybe you’re thinking you want to break up the inevitably harrowing binge watch with something lighter, kitschy, more fun. Let me warn you: This Sesame Street parody of the show is NOT THAT.

The clip (which aired last year but is making the timely rounds again now) is titled “Orange Is the New Snack,” and it’s a disturbingly accurate recreation of the Netflix show.  And not even in the “is this appropriate for kids?” way, because actually, sure, probably. If you haven’t seen OITNB, I imagine this is just about oranges and cookies. But seeing the spot-on puppet versions of Red, Suzanna “Crazy Eyes” Warren, and Pornstache “Mr. Moustache” is creepily surreal. (Though IMO, Lorna Morello’s arc gets possibly the creepiest treatment of all.)

This kind of dark parody is nothing new for Sesame Street. They’ve done parodies of all sorts of more adult fare, including Game of Thrones and a reference to *that* scene from When Harry Met Sally. And this goes back long before the show’s switch from PBS to HBO. Back in the ’90s, at least one writer was a really big fan of Taxi Driver, one of the least kid-appropriate movies ever made.

I have a total love/hate relationship with these ultra-dark Sesame Street sketches. It feels morbid to see puppets make jokes about being sent to Shu, knowing what that meant for Piper and Sophia on the show, and it’s the same for watching Lorna’s delusions reenacted here. But it’s so strange, so nonsensical, that morbidity edges into delight.

If you need more too-cute morbidity ahead of your OITNB season 5 watch, you should definitely check out this adorable “Unraveled” recap of the show so far. And yes, the end of season 4 is still emotional, even when retold in felt.

(image: screengrab)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.