May 14, 2012

Threadless-ame Street, part 4

Filed under: Feature — Tags: , , — Joe Hennes @ 9:57 am

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6

When last we met, we’d just completed part three of our coverage of the Threadless Sesame Street T-shirt Design Contest, having succeeded in reviewing about half of the entries!  So enough small talk, let’s keep moving with part four, and the next 100 submissions!

Face Strips

Cute idea, but isn’t it strange that none of these characters have an egg-shaped head like this?  It is kinda neat how recognizable these guys are by their chins, upper lips, and the bridge of their noses.

My rating: 3

Bird’s Best Friend

Okay, my heart just melted into a big puddle of syrupy molasses.  I can’t even imagine anything more adorable, and I’ve been thinking about sneezing panda cubs.

My rating: 5

Do as Me Say, Not as Me Do

What a great reference to Cookie Monster’s controversial “A Cookie is a Sometimes Food” campaign.  The downside is that the front of the shirt isn’t all that interesting without seeing the back.  Much like the “Sometimes Food” campaign, which is most interesting when we get to see Cookie Monster deviate from it.

My rating: 4

ELMOtrioska

This is probably what American Sesame Street viewers think the Russian Sesame Street takes for entertainment.  And to be fair, I had to Google it myself to make sure that wasn’t the case.

My rating: 2

Let’s Count the Time

I have no idea what’s going on in The Count’s head, but I can’t stop looking at it.  There’s so much detail, and none of it is random.  It’s complicated and creepy, just like The Count.

My rating: 5

I Love Trash!

Aw, Oscar can be really adorable when he tries.  Of course, even when he tries, he’s in the middle of declaring his love for filth and refuge.  But hey, we’ll take what we can get.

My rating: 5

I Love Cookies

Y’know, some of these designs really don’t have anything to do with Sesame Street.  Take away that afterthought of a Cookie Monster head, and you’re left with a simple declaration of the love of baked goods.  Sesame Workshop doesn’t own that, so feel free to print your own “I Love Cookies” shirts without fear of legal action.

My rating: 1

Portrait of a Martian

The design may say “Nope”, but my heart says “Yep”.  A beautiful portrait of a Martian which, with just one word, makes me laugh.  That’s a tall order, and this shirt succeeded.

My rating: 5

BE Yourself!

I love Bert like the dickens.  And I love it when artists get him right.  Sure, he can be drawn looking angry or getting chummy with Ernie, but it takes a real fan to draw him doing something like getting lost in a boring book.  The rest of this piece is great too, but it’s that subtle arch in Bert’s eyebrow that pushed it over the edge for me.

My rating: 5

Name That Sound!

Aww, why did they have to go and ruin a perfectly good Guy Smiley picture with a fart joke?  I like laughing at flatulence as much as the next guy, but there’s not a gas molecule in my body that thinks it belongs anywhere near an officially licensed pieces of Sesame Street merchandise.

My rating: 1

It’s Elementary

I’ve been watching the recent BBC Sherlock miniseries lately (which is brilliant, by the by), and I can’t help but think that  the roles should be reversed.  Holmes has a very strict set of rules, thinks logically, and in the case of the BBC series, is tall and lanky.  Watson is more free-thinking, sympathetic, and (again, in the series) shorter.  Plus, Bert would look great in a deerstalker hat.

My rating: 4

Scram Soup

I shudder to think of what the ingredients of “scram soup” are.  Though I guess this picture is telling us that it’s made with one Grouch.  And maybe some chicken broth or something.

My rating: 3

ABC’s

I think you missed a few letters there, pardner.  And that diamond pattern does not lend itself to a pretty t-shirt design.  It’s just too busy, too bright, and too small.  And too bad for this artist.

My rating: 2

Super Grover to the Rescue!

It must be strange for Grover, who is usually naked, to be wearing not just one, but two costumes at once.  Add that to all of his fur, and he’s gotta be baking in there.

My rating: 3

“Children of the Night, Count Me In”

This is an interesting one.  The Count has been boiled down to his eyes, nose, mouth, monocle, and purple hue, and is being lowered from the ceiling as if he was in Mission: Impossible.  And it works, despite the creepiness of the idea behind a descending vampire.

My rating: 5

“H” is for Hipster

It’s funny, there really isn’t much of a different between a hipster and a grouch.  They’re unbathed, they’re surly, they wear used and unfitting clothing, and they often eat things found in trash cans.  I guess the big difference is that Oscar doesn’t do any of these things for the sake of irony.

My rating: 3

Let’s Play with Sesame Street :)

I admit, Tetris would be a lot more fun if the pieces were Sesame-themed.  But the character choices are all wrong!  Bert and Ernie are the zig-zags, Big Bird is the long piece, and Cookie Monster is the cube.  I mean, come on.  Bush league mistakes, guys.

My rating: 2

Release Your Inner Cookie Monster

Which is more disturbing?  Cookie Monster popping out of your chest cavity, or discovering that your ribcage is full of whole cookies??

My rating: 3

Street Fit

Come on, Bert.  I know you have spindly arms, but you can try doing some push-ups that aren’t girly-style.  And someone should tell Cookie Monster that he doesn’t have to dance while using his shake weights.

My rating: 2

Street Party

It’s the return of Sesame Street Colorforms!  And with the added bonus of “Singin’ in the Rain” Grover!  For some reason!

My rating: 2

Onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelve!

Oh, this is beautiful. It’s not just a screengrab from the Pinball Number Count, but a recreation with colors that pop and a fading around the edges.  I want to buy twelve of these.

My rating: 5

Turn On the Lights!

I want you to just imagine how close all of these guys have to be sitting to get this picture.  They sure are friendly there on Sesame Street!

My rating: 2

Bedtime Snack

It must’ve been a real nice dream for Cookie Monster to find himself on a planet-sized cookie.  And that dream must’ve turned out to be a nightmare once he realized what will happen once he finishes eating said cookie.

My rating: 4

It’s Super Grover!

What a great, cartoony version of Super Grover.  It’s a shame they left off his chest emblem, but I won’t fault it for that.  Though I should, because I’m a perfectionist.  Just like Super Grover.  Uh… right?

My rating: 5

Sesame Dress Up!

I think this is some sort of Japanese fad, dressing chibi-like characters up in costume.  But the end result is a little unsettling, with a bunch of kids staring straight ahead as if they were standing in the hallway of the hotel from The Shining.

My rating: 2

Cookie Moon-Ster

Cookie Monster!  Stop eating the moon!  You’re gonna ruin our tides!  And one of those chocolate chips could fall and destroy El Salvador!

My rating: 4

Sesagram

Oof, my head hurts.  Can someone else review this shirt for me?  Maybe say something about how I can’t look at it for more than a second at a time.  Oh great, now my nose is bleeding…

My rating: 1

You Can Count On Me

I would totally count on an animated version of The Count like this.  Can’t you see him teaching kids about their numbers on a Saturday morning cartoon?  If you can’t, you can just stop reading this article right now.

My rating: 5

Raider of the Lost Cookies

This is hilarious.  Not just that, but you know exactly what just happened to Cookie Monster, whose gluttony forced him to sneak into a cave to steal a precious jar of cookies, only to then be chased by a cookie boulder.  He also hates snakes.

My rating: 5

Oh, I Love Trash!

What I like most about this design isn’t the lyrics to “I Love Trash” filling up Oscar’s face, but the fact that he looks like he’s made out of discarded newspaper.  I’m sure Oscar would love that too, since he loves… well, you know.

My rating: 4

The Street I Grew Up On

This design comes from our pal Ivan Guerrero, and it’s truly magical.  He’s showing an entire life passing through Sesame Street.  And I guarantee that every single one of us can relate to this.  This piece doesn’t just belong on a t-shirt, it belongs behind a frame on our walls.

My rating: Withheld, since we know the artist personally.

Brought to You by the Letters C, M, Y, K, and R, G, B

This is similar to one we saw last time, but instead of primary colors, it uses the CMYK color model.  The two ideas are almost too similar, and they work almost as well as each other.  The Count sticks out a little here, as he’s the only one whose entire head gets to be seen.  But that makes more sense than just showing his eyes and mouth, fading into the darkness.

My rating: 4

The Hero Within

Is… is Super Grover jumping out of his own chest??  Is that one of his superpowers?  I suddenly have an urge to go buy some Kryptonite… just in case.

My rating: 3

Moon Cookies

Ah, now we have some precedence for Cookie Monster’s hunger for the moon.  He’s apparently been doing it since he was in diapers.  It makes you wonder why we’re not all dead yet…

My rating: 3

Abby Cadabbyfly

I guess it’s not totally out of the question for Abby Cadabby to give herself butterfly wings, but aren’t her regular fairy wings good enough?  Does she really have to show up the rest of us non-winged normals like that?

My rating: 2

Grover in the Groove

This design is delightfully retro.  It makes me wonder what Grover would’ve been like if he really grasped ’60s culture in his pre-Sesame days.  I’m just gonna let your imaginations run wild there.

My rating: 4

We’re Cool Colors

More eyes on rainbows!  It’s a pretty picture of the brush and paint, but it doesn’t have much to do with Sesame Street, doe sit?  Unless there was an episode in which the characters were transformed into a liquid and then used to spruce up Hooper’s Store.  I may have missed that one.

My rating: 2

Me and Me

Boy, Elmo can really be full of himself.  This was supposed to be a puzzle of the Grand Canyon!

My rating: 1

Spaghetti Big Bird

Ever wonder what it would be like if Big Bird was made of thumbprints?  Well wonder no longer!

My rating: 3

Listening

Guess what Elmo’s thinking about today!  That’s right, Elmo’s thinking about catching up on his NPR podcasts!  You know, NPR podcasts.

My rating: 2

Growing Up with Colors at Sesame Street

This is a busy one.  Maybe a little too busy.  Or maybe it’s like a Where’s Waldo, forcing you to really spend some time poring over all the adorable details.  Because they really are adorbs.

My rating: 4

The Rubber Duckie Has Landed

Okay, I can get behind the idea that Ernie studied with NASA and managed to get picked for a lunar mission, but I’m left wondering how much rocket fuel a giant Rubber Duckie  needs to reach escape velocity.  Vo vo vo-de-oh.

My rating: 2

You and Me

If Elmo and Zoe were just a little older, this piece would have a completely different meaning.  And I’m mentally kicking myself for coming anywhere near that disturbing thought.

My rating: 1

The People In Your Neighborhood

These little guys look a lot like Evan Cheng doodles (which is impossible, since he works for Sesame Workshop and is ineligible for this contest), but that’s a good thing.  There’s a lot of character in their faces, and I love the use of the tiny eyes, especially with Cookie Monster.  I wish there was more to this than just heads, but I’ll take it anyway.

My rating: 4

Cookie Monster Pattern Design

So, this is a picture of Cookie Monster vomiting the quilt my grandmother slaved over, and then the echo of the same behind him.  Why would this artist want to remind me of this terrible memory??  For shame!

My rating: 3

Inspiration

The subtlety is deafening.  And hilarious.  And I’ll never eat another unibrow-less banana again.

My rating: 5

The “Big” Birds

This is a great parody of The Birds poster, though I have to admit that I hadn’t seen this one before.  But even still, it’s a cool looking image, from an artsy point of view.  I could totally see this one selling well as a t-shirt design.

My rating: 4

Helvetica

“More” is my favorite Sesame Street character.  Remember that time he tried to lift Mr. Snuffleupagus over his head, got a hernia, and spent two weeks in a body brace, all to teach about the letter “D”?  Classic More.

My rating: 2

A Fun Color Test

What?  I don’t see it.  Is there supposed to be something in this mess of dots?  My dog agrees, there’s nothing to see here.

My rating: 3

Sesame Street Car Named Flat Tire

I feel like this design needs a “Monsterpiece Theater Presents” prefix, if only to justify the pointless “flat tire” pun (and no one sells a bad pun better than a pipe-smoking, jacket-wearing Cookie Monster).

My rating: 3

Have to Make a Decision! Eat or Not to Eat

I thought this was pretty dumb at first, but then I got to thinking about the ethical quandary Cookie Monster might be going through when confronted with a problem like this.  Sure, the cupcake looks delicious, and normally Cookie Monster wouldn’t hesitate to demolish it and hope that most of the baked good makes it into his stomach.  But would it be like eating a miniature version of himself?  Is he willing to take that small step toward cannibalism? Toward self-mutilation? Toward his eventual destruction at his own hand? Or mouth?? Oh just eat the cupcake already.

My rating: 4

How Crayons are Made

And the winner of the “We Just Blew Your Mind” Award goes to this design.  It’s just as wordless as the video, but it evokes so many memories in all of us.  It’s easily the best non-Muppet design in this entire contest.  This one has to get printed, because I need to wear it now now now.

My rating: 5

Ernie’s Bathtime

For all your naked Ernie cosplay needs!

My rating: 2

“Never Refer to Me as an Item. I’m a Bird.”

Props to the artist for spending so much time on all the details of Big Bird’s feathers, but the end result is still a little dull.  I think it’s all in the eyes, which seem a bit too tired, and not up to the standards of the rest of the piece.

My rating: 3

Sesame Seeds Snacks

I see Sesame, but no seeds.  So this picture just looks like someone trapped our Sesame Street pals in a jar, slowly dwindling their air supply until they’re all asphyxiated.  Or you could put in on a t-shirt.  You know, for kids!

My rating: 1

I Bet U Can’t Find My Cookie, Dont You?

I know I’m not supposed to care about the design titles, since none of them will actually appear on the shirts, but I’m befuddled at the title to this one, which contains both the words “U” and “You”, a missing apostrophe, a confusing order of words, and the fact that it has nothing to do with the image.  I’m sure I could find something to say about the picture, but… nope, can’t do it. That title is just way too distracting.

My rating: 1

99 Problems But a Title Ain’t One

But this is a title we can make fun of.  Would it have been that hard to have The Count say something that could fit in the cadence of “…But the Bitch Ain’t One”?  I think I discovered what one of his 99 problems is.

My rating: 1

“If Moon was Cookie”

Seems like Sesame Street needs a sunny day to sweep all those clouds away!  Whatever else I write in this space can’t compare to that brilliant bit of commentary I just made.

My rating: 4

Finger Muppets

If you’re showing someone your middle finger, you’re really flipping them the bird!!! Oh man, I am totally on fire today!

My rating: 2

R is for Recycling

Oscar may love trash, but he seems pretty apathetic about recycling.  And who can blame him? All those cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, and glass bottles… it’s enough to make a Grouch cry.

My rating: 3

Kinder Garden’s Sesamo

This one could probably do well with a larger palate of colors.  Murray and Abby are neon pink, The Count is yellow, and Bert and Ernie are the same color.  Even still, all the characters are different sizes and ages (are some of these guys wearing diapers??), and I’m not sure why Telly is lounging like a girl in waiting.  The whole thing is just bizarre, and not in a good way.

My rating: 2

“Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world.” ? William James

I’d like this design a lot more if it weren’t for Elmo.  I’m sure many people are saying the same thing about pretty much every design, but it’s not my dislike for the little red guy that makes me think that, but his weird position, the upward eyeballs, and the fact that he’s five times as large as everyone else.  Take that away, and you’ve got a nice black-and-white sketch of the Sesame Street gang.

My rating: 3

Power of Imagination!

There’s something delightfully “Calvin and Hobbes” about this one.  Elmo really seems like an imaginative little kid here, and I can’t help but think that if he were real, I’d totally want to play a game of Calvinball with him.

My rating: 5

Stay Classy… Big Bird!

I’ll be the first one to tell you that a top hat, monocle, and mustache instantly make everything more awesome.  And I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m obviously wrong, as is evidenced by this t-shirt design.

My rating: 2

Yip Drip

This may not be the only paint dripping Yip Yip Martian picture in this contest, but I love them all equally, as if they were my own gibberish-speaking, dangly-tentatcled children.

My rating: 5

Count’s Castle

I’m glad to see The Count’s castle get a little recognition in this contest.  It’s quite possibly the most spooky thing about The Count, and this piece appropriately spotlights it.  I mean, I still wouldn’t want to live there, but I’d totally wear it on my shirt.

My rating: 5

Bert’s Dream

I had no idea Bert’s dream was to choke a pigeon with a giant paperclip while not wearing socks.  To each his own, I guess.

My rating: 4

Sesame Burger

I generally haven’t been caring for the pictures of regular things with Sesame character eyes, but this one seems to work.  Maybe it’s because of the (very loose) connection between Sesame Street and a sesame seed bun.  But it’s definitely not due to that mysterious blue slime with the Cookie Monster eyes.

My rating: 4

The Cookie Monshirt

I bet this shirt would look great on some people and terrible on others.  And it would probably just look provocative on a woman whose chest lines up with Cookie Monster’s eyes.

My rating: 3

Girl Power!

I’d be surprised if a shirt like this didn’t already exist.  It seems a little obvious in retrospect.  I should probably be rewarding the artist for coming up with this simple idea, but it just isn’t groundbreaking enough to rave about.

My rating: 4

Making Geometry Creepy Since 1979

I would buy a hundred shirts with this design if it didn’t claim that the Philip Glass animations were “creepy”.  They’re not creepy, they’re freaking magical.  And don’t you forget it.

My rating: 5

Pick-a-Boo

Look out, Grover stuffed animal! A giant Elmo is gonna eat your hot air balloon!  Yep, that’s a sentence that no one has ever typed before.

My rating: 1

Scram

Another great one!  What I like most about it is that the art style is reminiscent of the old Sesame Street storybooks.  I wouldn’t’ve been surprised if this was drawn by Joe Mathieu or Michael Smollin if I didn’t know better.  (Which I do.)

My rating: 5

ABC Fun

Fairy, feathered, and furry letters may be cute, but I can’t imagine many t-shirt buying adults would go for a design like this.  The smiley face doesn’t exactly help in that regard.

My rating: 3

Monster Park

This design deserves to get made if only for the sunglass-wearing Jeff Goldblum cookie.  Brilliant.

My rating: 5

Elmo’s Song

So this is what Elmo’s room really looks like before he crayonizes it for Elmo’s World!  It kinda highlights the delusion though, doesn’t it?

My rating: 4

Snap a Picture!

I really like this idea.  I only wish that the characters were going a little more off-the-wall in the photobooth, rather than just getting close to the camera.  Still, the end result looks like a lot of fun.

My rating: 5

O…r / E…e / C….. ……r / B.. …d / E..o / B..t

These six designs all came separately, but they’re all similarly dull.  I’m not sure why anyone would want a picture of their favorite Sesame characters as see through the inside of a bowling ball, but hey, to each his own.

My rating: 2

Scram!

Ever wanted Oscar to hold on to your ta-tas?  If so, not only will you finally have a t-shirt to match your dream, but you also hold claim as one of the stranger ToughPigs readers! Congrats!!

My rating: Withheld, since we know the artist personally.

I Heart Rubber Duckie

Much like the “I Cookie Cookies” shirt above, this one really doesn’t need Sesame Workshop’s participation to get made.  Just get some plain white Hanes, a stencil and a can of spray paint and you’re in business!

My rating: 1

Birth of a Monster

This is far more terrifying than Frankenstein ever could’ve been.  Why would this cookie regenerate a monster whose sole purpose is to demolish his own kind.  And it raises the question: Who is the real monster???

My rating: 5

Street Karma

Okay, this is kind of adorable.  But poor Snuffy!  He’s keeping the one guy on Sesame Street who loves being damp and smelly dry from the rain!  But it worth it to keep little Alice dry.  What a mensch, that Grouch.

My rating: 4

It’s Cold Outside

Snuffy looks miserable here!  Does he have to hole himself up all winter?? Look at those hashmarks on the wall.  Is he counting days or weeks?  Months??? Hibernation must be terrible.

My rating: 3

You Can ‘Count’ On Me

I like this one a lot.  It’s a great use of The Count, the font is pretty interesting, and it’s got one of those “pun” things.  I dig it.

My rating: 5

Sesame Street Gallery

Any one of these might make a fine t-shirt on its own, but I’m not sure how I feel about putting them all together like this. On the one hand, it’s 7 pictures in one, with a lot to look at.  On the other hand, it’s cluttered and less focused.  I think I like it more than I dislike it, so I’ll give it the thumbs up.  (Does anyone know what the Ernie picture is supposed to be a parody of?  Or is it just a random picture of Ernie?)

My rating: 4

The Adventures of Super Grover

I go back and forth on how I feel about Super Grover 2.0’s costume.  It’s really cool-looking, but it pales in comparison to the original. (Note: I feel the same way about most comic book superhero costumes.)  This image makes me like it all over again.

My rating: 5

Dream Big Little Girl

Wow, Alice is really getting some love in this contest! I had no idea she was so well known (by Threadless artists, at least).  This is a nice depiction of her, with a nice little inspirational message.  It’s all quite nice.

My rating: 4

Sunny Day Chasing the Clouds Away

Super Grover is a street vandal!!!  I always wondered how some graffiti artists get to such hard-to-reach places.  And now I know.  They can fly.

My rating: 4

Sesame Maps

This is a cute idea.  The map with the character street names is the best part, but the whole doesn’t quite pop as much as it could.  Maybe they should try MapQuest.

My rating: 2

Count Ripper

GAH!!! Ohmygod.  Why would anyone want a t-shirt of The Count jumping out of your chest, shouting about a number with those demonic eyes??? I mean, beside the obvious reasons of awesomeness and hilarity.

My rating: 5

Ancient Rulers

Speaking of scary, this design (made by ToughPigs’ own Evan G.) harkens back to the Sesame Street sketch that gave everyone nightmares. Looking at the video, the artist obviously tried to copy the puppet designs, so props to them for that.  I wonder if the shirt would give people PTSD.  Only one way to find out!

My rating: Withheld, since we know the artist personally.

Dressing Room

I get the joke, but the lack of color really hurts this piece.  It’s not supposed to be “artsy”, just funny.  I’m also confused as to whose hand this is supposed to be.  The puppets in the picture are performed by at least three different puppeteers.  Maybe it’s a Muppeteer wannabe?  Or the overseeing hand of Jim Henson? Or maybe I’m just looking way too far into it?  Yeah, that one.

My rating: 3

Got Cookies?

Fine, I’ll give you some cookies, just let go of my nipples!!! (And don’t call me chef!)

My rating: 2

Make the First Thing Last

Another bizarre Sesame skit, thankfully immortalized in art form!  In case you don’t remember, this was the one featuring the little boy who got lost, passed a bunch of crazy things, and then a scary “yo-yo master” tells him how to remember how to get back home.  It’s one of the more insane-looking things the show has done, and I’m so glad it has the potential to be printed on a t-shirt.

My rating: 5

Mission Impossible

I shudder to think about how stale those cookies must be.  And how Big Bird got transformed into an unnecessary flying bird.  And why anyone would play such a cruel trick on Cookie Monster.  And how they got there in the first place.  And how much upper body strength he has.

My rating: 3

The Famous 4

This design looks great.  I especially like the wood-like grain underneath the paint.  It’s almost like it’s one of those wooden puzzles for toddlers, and you can pop all the character heads out.  Actually, that sounds like a great idea.  And now I want one.  Uh… for my nephew.

My rating: 5

Tellyvision

It’s too bad Kermit is off limits, because this would’ve looked great with Reporter Kermit.  Reporter Telly is a great substitute, and putting him on a TV (his namesake) is a nice finishing touch.  How’s that for a scoop?

My rating: 4

Bird Watching

I looked at this a few times, trying to figure out what the Sesame connection is (besides the street sign brand on top).  It wasn’t until I sat down to write this review when I noticed that the binoculars are Big Bird yellow, with his leg stripes on the lenses.  Now I like it a little more, but it’s way too subtle for people to get at a first glance.

My rating: 3

Hide and Seek

Love the idea, hate the execution.  Bert looks flat and as if he was being seen at an angle.  Cookie Monster looks drugged.  Oscar looks like he’s dead.  But again, I love the idea of The Count putting everyone to sleep by taking too long with the counting before Hide and Seek.  This piece just needs a second draft.

My rating: 2

Super-Signal

And now we continue the trend of spoofing Super Grover with Batman motifs, rather than the obvious Superman ones.  Not that I’m complaining, it’s just an interesting choice.  I wonder who’s shining the Super Grover signal.  It wouldn’t be any of the kids he usually helps, since they rarely want his help when he offers it.  Is there a Commissioner Gordan-type who works with SG?  Can he be played by the mustachioed Fat Blue??  This stuff writes itself, folks!

My rating: 4

Thanks for reading part four of our six-part review, Muppet fans!  Stay tuned for part five, coming to a ToughPigs near you!

Click here to make the first thing last and the last thing first on the ToughPigs forum!

by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com



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