That Time Sarah Jessica Parker Interviewed Oscar the Grouch About Passover – Kveller
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That Time Sarah Jessica Parker Interviewed Oscar the Grouch About Passover

Long before she was Carrie Bradshaw, SJP was an intrepid reporter for "Shalom Sesame."

via YouTube/Getty Images

I love so many of Sarah Jessica Parker‘s roles, but that time she played TV reporter Peggy Pey on “Shalom Sesame,” the Jewish spinoff of the classic PBS kid’s show, is truly one of my favorites.

The year is 1991, and the future “Sex and the City” star, known back then for her roles in “Footloose” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” is roving the streets of Sesame to ask folks what makes this night different from all other nights, and specifically, why we eat matzah on Passover. Wearing a suit jacket (because, serious reporter), she even has a microphone with the Pey TV logo — pey as in the Hebrew letter that makes a “p” or “f” sound, and the first letter of the Hebrew word for Passover — that features a piece of matzah. She soon notices the Israeli trash-can residing Moishe Oofnik (Oscar the Grouch’s Israeli cousin), who has pretty oof-inducing answer to her question: We eat matzah, he tells her, “because bread is too quiet and matzah makes loud, nice crunch when you eat it, it drives people crazy.” He then launches matzah crumbs at her tailored suit.

The expressions of exaggerated disdain on Parker’s face are priceless.

Parker then runs into Oscar the Grouch himself. Trying to again ask her intrepid questions about why we eat matzah on Passover, Oscar responds just as grouchily that we eat it because it is “flat, like the way I sin.” He then starts chanting the Four Questions

She finally notices a sweet boy who can answer the question and conclude her important journalistic mission. “Finally someone who respects the art of investigative reporting,” she tells the camera.

Oscar and Moishe then launch into a cringe-worthy musical number, in which Oofnik crunches and Oscar sings “Ma Nishtana,” and Parker wishes the audience goodbye, yelling over the cacophony.

What an incredible and giggle-inducing performance by all.

In the same 1991 Passover “Shalom Sesame” episode, Parker also plays another pretty iconic character — Jerusalem Jones, a version of Indiana Jones, in “Jerusalem Jones and the Lost Afikoman.” She wears that famous brown leather coat and khaki tailored pants, that honestly would make a pretty great Carrie Bradshaw outfit.

Kippi Ben Kippod, Rechov Sumsum’s (that’s Hebrew for Sesame Street) resident porcupine, helps Jones learn the basics of Passover, and search for that piece of dessert matzah, while Oofnik is the villain who hides the afikoman, and also plays Pharaoh in a part of the sketch where Kippi and Parker travel back in time to unravel the afikoman-related mystery. They end up finding the afikoman right under their noses, much to Oofnik’s consternation.

Revisiting this episode makes me miss the genius of “Shalom Sesame!” Someone needs to bring the brilliant Jewish spinoff — and Peggy Pey — back.

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