This Is What ‘Sesame Street’ Has Taught Kids About Shoes and Shopping

neil patrick harris sesame street
Neil Patrick Harris as the "Shoe Fairy" on "Sesame Street."
Courtesy of Sesame Street.

“D” is for “defunded” — what Donald Trump has proposed for PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). The President’s administration aims to strip $485 million in federal funding from the network, which has provided enriching, educational and cultural non-commercial programing for kids since 1970.

“Masterpiece Theater,” “Antiques Roadshow” and “Sesame Street” are among the network’s shows, and without the proper funding, PBS’ programming is in peril under Trump’s proposed budget cuts.

pbs sesame street donald trump shoe shopping “Sesame Street” explores fussy customers in “Two-Headed Monster Goes Shoe-Shopping.” Courtesy of Sesame Street.

Since PBS made its debut nearly 47 years ago, “Sesame Street” has been broadcast to millions of children for free — presenting supplemental teaching aids that research has shown improves their well being and outcome, according to a Wellesley University study.

And without free access, which since 2015 airs new episodes 9 months after they debut on HBO, generations of children will lose out on important academic and cultural axioms — ranging from learning to count with Count Von Count — to learning how to tie your shoelaces with Savion Glover.

Throughout its history, the program has delivered some lifelong lessons using shoes and the retail industry for storytelling.

Below, we take a look back at “Sesame Street’s” greatest hits with shoes.

Embracing different styles: “Shoes, shoes, shoes, shoes, shooooes.” Too much is never enough for Neil Patrick Harris— who sings a love letter to footwear of all sorts. “Let’s not stop with high-tops or shoes with polka dots.” And the tune rhymes, too. The actor-singer waxes poetic on novelty, performance and avant garde trends. “Shoes that hop” (bunny slippers) and “shoes that mop” (literally a pair of shoes that polish the ground you walk on). “Shoes that come with straps, shoes that come with taps,” he adds. You get the idea.

Retail can be hell: In “Two-Headed Monster Goes Shoe Shopping,” the realities of sales associates are in no way obscured. A dutiful clerk deals with a fussy customer who has quite the split decision to make, as he has two heads and two sets of opinion, but only one pair of feet.

What a cobbler does: Set to a piano score and no dialogue, a young girl pops into a shoe repair shop with footwear she hands over to a cobbler without exchanging a word, and voilà, in under 1 minute and 30 seconds her shoes are resoled. The segment highlights the meticulous craft of a cobbler.

The importance of a good fit: In a segment titled “Maria Goes Shopping,” the episode is a primer on what a satisfying shoe shopping experience should be like. It showcases what a shoe sizing looks like, along with how the measurement device operates. The viewer also gets a brief introduction on silhouettes — pointing out the differences between boot and peep-toe styles with the song: “One of these things doesn’t belong here.”

How to tie your shoes: With Elmo and tap dancing star Savion Glover, tying shoelaces is “as easy as pie.” The pair show step-by-step through song—and dance—how to master the art of a knot.