Hurrah for Brandeis, the latest furry creature to join the cast of Sesame Street, a yellow Labrador retriever. This being Sesame Street, he is not just any old canine; Brandeis is a service dog, there to teach children that some people have special circumstances and need a bit of extra help. In his debut he starts his training, learning how to open drawers, turn on lights, and pick up and collect things.
Just about every new Muppet on the show, each of whom joins the likes of Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster, is introduced with a distinctive characteristic to teach the young audience a valuable life lesson. Last year, a little girl Muppet, Lily, arrived to raise awareness about hunger faced by American families and was meant to represent one of the many children who go to bed at night hungry.
A couple of months ago, Sesame Street announced an open casting call for actors to audition for a new Hispanic character, to be introduced to reflect the realities of the changing American population. There has also been a long-standing online campaign for Sesame Street to marry flatmates Bert and Ernie, making them the programme's first gay characters. Now wouldn't that be something?