Welcome back to CoolGuy Reviews! As you may know, this season is 2 for 2 in terms of episodes that are just OK. Will this episode break that chain? Let's find out. Also, I just want to apologize for not posting a review in a while. I was on vacation, and I couldn't log on.
Anyway, the cold open features Grover setting up the safari theme for the episode. Some Muppet animals pop up behind him, only to disappear when he tries to see them. This is a gag I've seen so many times that it's no longer funny, and it's only made worse by the lack of a payoff.
And now the street story. When I read the description, I got excited to see some more Grover/Mr. Johnson moments for pretty much the first time since Jerry's death. So anyway, Grover is taking Elmo and Mr. Johnson on a safari around Sesame Street, the latter of whom wants to see a warthog. Their first stop is to see monkeys near Hooper's Store, which they attract by impersonating monkeys. It's cute, but then it's ruined by the monkey trying to take a selfie with Mr. Johnson. Thankfully, as far as I can tell, this is the last time I've seen these things in the show. But if I'm wrong, I'll be sure to cringe over it. Anyway, then Elmo and Grover impersonate elephants to attract Horatio, a character I find very annoying. BTW, Horatio has all the traits of stereotypical gay people, so why don't we see "moral guardians" trying to out him as gay instead of Ernie and Bert? Oh well, the last stop is the steps of 123, where Grover claims there are warthogs, but can't get them to come because he doesn't know how they act, nor does anyone else in the safari car-y as they call it, except for Mr. Johnson. He then impersonates a warthog, attracting an one who takes him back to her family, thinking he's an actual warthog. I'll admit, that was pretty funny.
Then comes the letter of the day, which is S. And thus begins an infuriating trend that will last the entire HBO era, the "letter" segments. If you are unaware, a "letter" segment is a segment that claims to be about the letter of the day, but is just a film about the theme of the episode with the letter lazily slapped on at the beginning and/or end. I can't even remember anything about the segment other than it's the first "letter" segment in the HBO era.
Now for another Smart Cookies. Yay. Like with the previous installment, this is the best part of the episode. It features the Crumb bringing animal crackers to a party to wreck it, and the only thing that can stop them is something that is made of fruit, purple, and goes great with peanut butter. While Cookie brings in a purple crayon and a Carmen Miranda hat, which made me laugh, the answer is clearly grape jelly. Which makes me wonder if any other kind of jelly would have also worked, or just grape for some reason. Anyway, I always love the ending gags where they solve the problem, but create a new one in the process.
Anyway, the number of the day is 5, and we get a pop song about 5 Kangaroos. It's catchy, but the lyrics can sometimes be unintelligible.
And now, Elmo the Musical, which they played Cowboy the Musical. It doesn't fit in to the theme of Safari they ditched after the LOTD anyway, but at least they put in segments relating to animals. This one really doesn't. Anyway, Elmo has to take 6 kitty-cows (How does that work?) to the Double Double Dude Dude Ranch Ranch. The only real conflict here is that the kitty-cows (really, HOW?!!?!?) are kidnapped by wrestlers and a boulder blocks their path. I really think EW: Wild Animals would've fit better.
All in all, this episode had many problems. From a theme ditched halfway through and eventually just give up, to selfies, to Horatio, to the birth of "letter" segments, to the ETM. The only saving graces were the gags in the Street Story and the Smart Cookies. This episode gets a 4/10. I don't like it, but I know that there will be worse. Strap in, because we're just getting started...