Sesame Street Celebrates 40th Birthday With Michelle Obama

The first episode of Sesame Street's fortieth season aired this morning, featuring a pre-taped segment in which First Lady Michelle Obama gardens and talks healthy eating with Elmo and friends.

Politics Daily reports that the clip, which you can watch at left, was recorded last May. In it, Obama works together with Elmo and three children to plant a vegetable garden of tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and carrots. Big Bird also makes an appearance, declaring his love for seeds and demanding to know whether the first lady is part bird.

"No, Big Bird, I'm not…" Obama said, grinning. "You see, I really don't eat these kinds of seeds at all. But I do eat what grows from these seeds."

The first lady continues her campaign for healthy eating by plugging good nutrition on the show, encouraging the children to eat the produce that they plant. Towards the end of the clip, she is praised by a basket of animated vegetables that invite the audience to cheer for her.

"You know what, guys?" she says to Elmo and the kids. "If you eat all these healthy foods, you're going to grow up to be big and strong, just like me."

In May, when the segment was recorded, the Huffington Post reported that Obama had called the experience, "probably the best thing I've done at the White House." Politics Daily points out that while she is the fourth first lady to appear on the show -- Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush have all previously guest starred -- Obama is the first who would have actually been able to watch Sesame Street growing up. The show's first episode aired exactly forty years ago in 1969, when the current first lady was five years old.

After forty years, the show is still going strong. The Associated Press reported that the show brought in an average of five million viewers each week last season. It is currently viewed in 140 countries, and is widely translated. Even the translations have become cultural staples: "The World According to Sesame Street," a 2006 PBS documentary on the show, explores different cultural variations of the show, such as Japan's "Takalani Sesame," which features an HIV-positive Muppet, and Mexico's "Plaza Sesamo."

After Obama's appearance, the episode features Big Bird's search for a new home after he meets with a rapping real estate agent. The "Word on the Street," in case you were wondering, is "habitat." The first lady did not incorporate it into her segment.

From CBS' Sunday Morning: "Sesame Street" Is Now 40 Years Young
Washington Unplugged: Elmo and Bob Schieffer