When I grow up,
I want to be
part of this great big family.
Across the land, across the sea
when I grow up!
I watched Sesame Street to a limited degree as a kid, since I always preferred the muppets in Fraggle Rock (my favourite) and The Muppet Show. Still, when I heard that Big Bird, Grover, Elmo, Oscar, Cookie Monster, and pals were going to be singing live at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA, I couldn't pass the chance to check them out!
I wasn't disappointed: we had more fun than the kids out there (we were arguably one of the few people there without children). The show started off with the Sesame Street theme song and then launched into the When I Grow Up theme. The plot, which served as a showcase for a variety of musical numbers, essentially illustrates the dilemma Big Bird faces when he has to decide what he wants to be when he grows up.
Big Bird is depressed because everyone else knows what they want to be: Telly Monster wants to be a baseball player. Zoe wants to be a surgeon. The Cookie Monster wants to be a chef (guess what he cooks). Bert and Ernie want to be forest rangers (as long as they follow a "don't ask don't tell" policy, I presume :). The Count von Count is who he is. Elmo wants to be everything, including a cowboy. What will Big Bird be? Ah, the suspense.
As the show was progressing, I thought the pressure placed on Big Bird to make a decision was sending a wrong message to the kids. The resolution of his conflict in the end, and Elmo's attitude, tells them exactly what to be when they grow up (if they do at all).