It’s not because he has a beard.
It’s not because he’s goofy.
It’s because, despite the mythology surrounding Sesame Street that paints him as an uber-nice guy (which he might well be), he’s complicated and crass and commercial. I submit to you the following:
Yes, that was the original pitch for The Muppet Show and it shows all the wit and craziness, all the astute observation of society and plainspoken challenge of that society, all the refusal to sell out while gleefully and joyously selling out, all of that which makes Henson and his creations great. They aren’t simply one thing or the other — children’s entertainment or adult satire — and Henson doesn’t fit into either the idealistic artist or the canny capitalist category, either.
That video is an example of what I want to be when I grow up: i.e., I want to be paid for what I’m creating, and paid well enough for it that I can do that only, as my full-time job. There’s something so charming about the video, how it nakedly lays out the reasons for why the network should take on the show, and those reasons are aimed squarely at the ego and the pocketbook, but the way that the pitch does it, that’s the key.
Hilarity, hilarity, hilarity. With a touch of bitterness.