The Electric Company is an educational series for preschool-aged children that originated on Sesame Street. The puppets (often wearing green or blue body suits) perform stunts that include painting clothes on their puppets and moving from room to room. The shows are best seen during the daytime, at first. The network decided to launch the show in 1998, so it was only fitting to have it during the preschool season.
The show became popular so quickly because it featured a wide range of voices instead of just one. The most recognizable of these is Bill Hader. He plays Dr. Electric Company, the head of the Electric Company that specializes in turning people into Electric Company employees through electricity. Hader also does the voice of Big Bird, a character from the same TV series. There are many other characters from the “TV series” who have made their debut in the “Sketch Shop” episodes.
In addition to featuring well-known faces from the Sixtiesixties, the Electric Company features some lesser known actors from the time. Mike Minoro played a young man who sells records to the shop. His trademark fedora hat also appears in one episode. Frank Oz, the famous face of Chihuahua, makes several appearances as himself, often playing the station is who gives the children tips on how to turn their cars into engines.
A fun fact is that “The Electric Company,” which started on CBS in the early fifties, was actually created by a man who wanted to create a children’s program that included some western elements. It was this man that brought the idea of using a radio call to advertise to the masses, and it was this exposure that led to the present day Electric Company. When making an episode, Coleman must decide what he will feature as a commission payee. The show’s creator, Leo Hirshfield, would make suggestions through a list that he had compiled. Once Coleman has decided on a role, he would send it to Hirshfield so he could add it to the Electric Company’s existing cast members.
The “Mystic River” episode is the third installment in the “Cartoon Shop” television show. In this episode, Big Bird goes to work for the Electric Company, replacing Marge. He brings with him his friend, an escaped criminal named Herman Stickfoot, who is trying to help the employees to sell their products legally. When Herman attempts to steal a box full of coins from a store, Big Bird stops him, and the two go toe to toe in an underground struggle.
The writers of the Electric Company series do an amazing job of combining traditional sit-down comedy with some clever one liners. They combine a number of different elements to create a show that has a lot of staying power. The episodes are short, but have a very strong ending. The combination of great humor, some great one liners, and the ability to combine elements of the real world with the whimsical world of an animated cartoon makes “Spidey Super Stories” an interesting watch.