July 2, 2015

Sonia Manzano Retiring from Sesame Street After 44 Years

Sonia Manzano the actress who played Maria on Sesame Street for the past 44 years is retiring. It makes me kind of sad. I grew up with Sonia, she was always my favorite human on Sesame Street. She always seemed more real than any other humans on the show. She had deeper emotions; she would get frustrated and angry sometimes like that amazing scene at a grouch restaurant with Sandra Bernhard in Sesame's feature film Follow That Bird. And sometimes she would get legitimately sad: there's another scene in Follow The Bird where Maria is reading a letter from Big Bird that ends with Big Birds asking "What's wrong with me?". I remember once I was watching that movie with my little sister (I think I was about fifteen years old and she was about six), when we got to the part where Maria reads the letter my sister stopped watching it because she said it was too sad.

Looking back now it's interesting to realize how beautiful Maria is - something you don't really notice as a kid. But she really is stunning. She even inspired this Buzz Feed post a few years ago called Maria from Sesame Street Was Hot. But really, it's all about her personality. She was never a cardboard cut out of a person. She was a person who would get annoyed, scared, upset, happy, sad, etc... and she'd always learn from her mistakes. 

Here is an amazing scene where Maria is nervous about asking for a raise at the fix-it shop:

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and watch Follow That Bird. It was robbed at the 1985 academy awards.

Sonia, thank you for all the years and sincerity you've invested in children's education. You are a national treasure!