“Sesame Street” is smarter and funnier than about 99 percent of current programming for adults, so I smiled today when I saw Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony hanging with Grover. (After all, I did dress up as The Count for my first couple of Halloweens as a toddler. And I was adorable.) The trio, dressed in Knicks warmup gear, use basketball to teach the definition of “compare.”
Some very important observations:
• Amar’e really goes for this, more than Melo does. Amar’e gives Grover an exaggerated “what’s wrong with you?” eyebrow raise when Grover acts as if he knew the definition of compare the whole time, even though he clearly didn’t. Melo just maintains the same broad, semi-blank smile. And when Grover skies for that climactic lay-in, Amar’e shoots up on tip-toes and peers upward with an exaggerated combination of glee and shock. Solid work from STAT. Melo is game, and he’s smiley, but he’s not putting forth an actorly effort on Stoudemire’s level.
• Was Grover always so dumb? I have little memory of him as a character, so perhaps he was always used as a sort of dolt straw man whose doltishness provides teaching moments.
• Alan Hahn of Newsday nailed this right away: Notice how the adidas logo in the center of the official NBA warmups is colored in all-white and thus unidentifiable to neophytes as an adidas logo. Melo and Stoudemire are Nike guys, Hahn notes.
• Sources indicate the Timberwolves are prepared to offer Grover a contract when the lockout ends. He can’t shoot, obviously, but he appears to have off-the-charts athleticism. Grover’s agent, who is really good with numbers, did not return calls seeking comment.