In May, Sesame Street introduced a new character, a green Muppet with yellow hair named Karli, and on Wednesday, the show revealed that Karli's mother is battling substance abuse.
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Karli addressed her mom's addiction and recovery in a series of videos released by Sesame Workshop, one of which finds her telling Elmo and Chris about her mom's "problem" and the meetings her mom attends "every day so she stays healthy" as well as kids-only meetings where she spends time with other children dealing with the same issue.
The green Muppet was initially introduced as part of a foster care initiative and it was revealed this week that she was placed in foster care while her mom was in treatment. This is the first time that the show has addressed addiction in any capacity, Sherrie Westin, president of social impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, told the New York Times.
Karli is the latest character introduced on Sesame Street to help address difficult issues — in 2011, the show introduced a Muppet named Lilly whose family was struggling with hunger and later homelessness, a Muppet named Alex with a father in prison was added in 2013 and Julia, an autistic Muppet, was introduced in 2015.
Many fans were happy to see the show choosing to address the disease of addiction and the impact it has on families.
Wow! I love this. https://t.co/C1mBQ5SU9z— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 10, 2019
Addiction is an illness. It's a disease that requires treatment, and people struggling with addiction need support and care rather than shame. I'm glad Sesame Street is showing us that those with addictions and their families deserve our understanding & help, not our judgment https://t.co/SVavSB7BN5— 💀👻 Helle 🎃 MarBOOska👻💀 (@ellle_em) October 10, 2019
Sesame Street tackling the opioid addiction crisis has me very emotional and grateful today. We perpetuate a lot of shame cycles by not being vulnerable and honest with children. https://t.co/jM9WK6KP0r— Beth Newell (@bethnew) October 10, 2019
HUGE shout to @sesamestreet for helping kids feel less alone with thoughtful and meaningful writing tackling parental addiction. This would have been a life-changer for me as a kid.
Karli is adorable. If you ever need a guest artist on the show—call me!https://t.co/DaoWM2kDYX— Jarrett J. Krosoczka (@StudioJJK) October 10, 2019
The D.A.R.E program that goes to schools and tells kids that drugs are bad and makes them promise to never do them: trash
Sesame Street talking about addiction in an educated and understanding way to help kids know from a young age that it’s an illness and there’s help: pure— taylor nicole dean (@taylorndean) October 10, 2019
Others feel that children in Sesame Street's age demographic don't need to be learning about addiction.
Sesame Street has given up on being kid friendly https://t.co/1ZjJONsFHZ— Cassandra Fairbanks🕊✌️ (@CassandraRules) October 11, 2019
I know Sesame Street gets deep like talking about death with stuff but uuuhhhhhhhhhhhh pic.twitter.com/doNxbxqzsD— DemonicPlush (@mush_plush) October 10, 2019
I’m sorry what now? An opioid addiction? This is fucking Sesame Street not Law&Order.— Crashrobot (@crashrobot) October 10, 2019
Photo Credit: Sesame Street