From the NY Times Magazine: Sweeping the Clouds Away.
Early episodes of Sesame Street, available on DVD, come with a warning that they may not be suitable for today's preschoolers. Why? Several factors, including Cookie Monster's smoking in the Monsterpiece Theatre pieces, his unhealthy eating habits, Oscar the Grouch's misanthropy...
It's been a few years since I watched the show, but it's a part of my childhood warm-fuzzies. And I turned out... more or less OK. I'm not a smoker, not obese, and only borderline misanthropic. Which leads me to one conclusion:
It must be a strange experience to raise a child in this day and age. On the one hand, kids have cell phones and Internet access from a young age with access to everything the web has to offer, but on the other hand they must be so sheltered. They must be guarded from smoking (a current social bugaboo right now--it makes a convenient scapegoat), they must be shown people indulging only in healthy eating habits (because no doubt mommy or daddy, juggling both parenting and careers, are the very models of healthy eating), and they must be shown a technicolor-bright world where no one is unhappy (because it's that sort of thing that leads these current generations to being the Prozac nation, not increased anxiety from things like pressure to perform on tests and witnessing the violence of our society).
(Gee, but that "wtf" tag has come in more useful than I anticipated.)