Sesame Street Introduces Karli, Whose Mother Has an Opioid Addiction

Illustration for article titled iSesame Street/i Introduces Karli, Whose Mother Has an Opioid Addiction
Image: AP

Sesame Street, certainly the most progressive long-running children’s show featuring muppets that I’m aware of, has a new addition to the crew: Karli, who is green, golden-haired and has a mother with an opioid addiction.

According to the Guardian, Sesame Street decided to add Karli’s character on the basis that around 5.7 million children under the age of 11 live in a home with a parent with substance abuse issues.

“There’s nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective,” said Kama Einhorn, a senior content manager with Sesame Workshop, adding that the program also aims to help parents explain their situations to their kids. “Even a parent at their most vulnerable—at the worst of their struggle—can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids, then that serves the purpose,” Einhorn said.


Sesame Street has a long history of tackling difficult issues with sensitivity. It has touched on death, racism, and in 2017, the show introduced a muppet with autism. It also mercilessly dragged Donald Trump back when he was just a well-fed condo hustler, giving him fluorescent orange hair and calling him “Donald Grump.” Keep doing your thing, Sesame Street. Our doomed future generations need you.

Night blogger at Jezebel

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If what your day is missing is a good ugly cry, here’s a piece from NPR on a camp for kids whose parents are struggling with opioid addiction. Good that it exists. Terrible that it has to. And how much these kids still love their parents in spite of everything breaks my heart in half.