We watched Follow That Bird this evening -- a 1985 Seasame Street feature length adventure which proved too harrowing for its intended audience in our apartment, but kept a few of us riveted until the end.
Follow That Bird features a cavalcade of its era's favorite and most affordable comedy stars in cameos, including John Candy, Chevy Chase (looking particularly sly), Sandra Bernhard, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas, and Laraine Newman.
The Street did not pull any punches about what was happening in the Heartland at the height of the Reagan Era. Big Bird got tangled in some sort of nest swapping scheme, resulting in being transplated from the singing, multicultural neighborhood of clever, happy monsters and charming salt-of-the-earth neighbors to a suburban cage with the Dodo family.
Those Dodo Reagan Democrats might have meant well by taking under their collective wings a very tall city kid, but they were so blank and insensitive and just plain stupid -- their lack of short-term memory, a suitably Reaganesque and most marked mental fault -- that Bid Bird had to risk it all in order to get back to the City.
The Wizard of Oz references flashing, Big Bird does make some friends on the way home, but the plot driver is his kidnapping by the bumbling and evil (F)unfair-owning Sleaze Brothers, looking very ContraGate congressional.
The message of the film was old school P.C. clear: That the beautiful mess of a city animated and motivated by the diversity of its citizens was the only place where any self-respecting liberal hero would want to live. Yes, there were nice people on the farm on which Big Bird landed and hid like a a runaway slave. After all, this was the was the moment of Farm Aid and Footloose, too. But just hang tight until you make it back to the bridges and tunnels if you know what's good for you.