Opposites, or antonyms, are word pairs that are adversly complementary - such as hot and cold, near and far, and up and down. Opposites are a common theme in eductional media, as they teach vocabulary, relationships and object properties. Sesame Street has featured opposites in many sketches, songs and books. Likewise, Bear in the Big Blue House has taught opposites to viewers.
Bear in the Big Blue House
The Bear in the Big Blue House episode "As Different as Day and Night" focuses on the concept of opposites. Bear decides betteen cold iced tea or hot tea. Tutter and Bear explore big and small. Pip and Pop show empty and full. Real kids discuss opposites they know - including hot and cold, left and right, day and light, hard and easy, and even apples and no apples. And in the Shadow segment, Shadow presents a feature called "Tales of Incredible Opposites," featuring a story about Jack Sprat and his wife. The episode also features the song "Opposites".
The episode was adapted into the book Bear Loves Opposites!.
Sesame Street Sketches
|Picture||Summary / EKA||Description|
| Empty and Full |
|Cookie Monster drinks Kermit's glass of milk, which he was going to use to explain "empty" and "full". When Kermit insults Cookie Monster, several of Cookie Monster's monster pals gang up on Kermit. Some of the monsters besides Cookie were Beautiful Day Monster, Snerk, and an unnamed Splurge-like monster.|
| Bert Explains "Before" and "After." |
| Ernie wants to have some cookies, which are on a covered plate. Bert asks Ernie if he knows the difference between "before" and "after." Ernie isn't sure. Bert explains that before Ernie can have the cookies, he has to lift the cover, and that after he lifts the cover, he can have the cookies. Ernie tries this a few times, until he loses his appetite for dinner.
| || Tall and Short / Big and Little |
|Two Snerfs help Kermit teach the difference between tall and short, until they keep changing sizes.Kermit then changes the lecture about little and big with different-sized monsters: Frank and Harold... but he also meets Splurge.|
| First and Last |
|A group of Monsters, led by a hippie, play a game where they march in a line and then switch direction. Grover wants to be first and not last, but can't keep up with the ever switching directions. This sketch was later remade, with the blue version of Grover and with the monsters being replaced.|
| Full/Empty Room |
| An Anything Muppet demonstrates empty by leaving his room, soon Grover and his friends including Cookie Monster occupy the room making it full. The Anything Muppet comes in and scares the monsters away leaving it empty.
| Quiet and Loud |
| Bert says that he's going to demonstrate quiet by talking quietly to Ernie. But when he tries, Ernie claims that he can't hear what Bert is saying. Finally, Bert gets frustrated and shouts at Ernie; Ernie tells Bert not to be so loud.
| Over and Under |
|Herbert Birdsfoot demonstrates "over" and "under" by having Grover lie over a mattress. Then Grover lies under the mattress, and Herbert drives the point home by adding more objects over Grover.|
| Long and Short Ladders |
|Kermit has Grover show the difference between short and long with ladders. He is amazed that Grover can carry the long ladder by himself, but then learns that Grover is on both ends.|
| Here and There |
|Kermit and Grover demonstrate "here" and "there".|
| Heavy and Light |
|Grover demonstrates heavy and light. First, he picks up a heavy barbell. Then he tries to pick up a light feather, but he can't move it. It turns out that the feather is attached to the top of Big Bird's head.|
| Short and Long |
|Grover does things for a long time while Kermit does things for a short time. Grover gets worn out and asks to switch places, and then they demonstrate by tickling each other.|
| Bert's brother Bart visits |
| Bert expects a visit from his identical twin brother Bart. Ernie notes that they're alike in many ways, but their major difference is that Bart has a sense of humor.
| Up and Down |
|Kermit has Grover help him demonstrate up and down by having Grover climb UP a sky-high flight of stairs -- while Kermit takes the elevator to the top. Exhausted, Grover faints and rolls DOWN the staircase.|
| Near and Far |
|A remake of a first season sketch.|
| Light and Heavy |
|Kermit has Grover help him demonstrate light and heavy. Kermit carries a feather and a ping-pong ball, while Grover has to carry a piano and a boulder. Grover then asks if he can carry something light (a balloon which carries him away!) and Kermit gets the heavy thing (a submarine sandwich).|
| Identity crisis |
| Ernie and Cookie Monster note that they're the same in a lot of ways, and then become paranoid that they can't tell each other apart. An Anything Muppet tells them how they are different, which relieves them of their stress.
| Fast and Slow Cookies |
| Ernie promises Cookie Monster that he's not going to be tricked out of his plate of cookies this time. Cookie Monster asks Ernie if he's going to eat his cookies fast or slow and demonstrates by eating the plate of cookies, and in the process finishes the entire plate.
| Near and Far (on Ice Skates) |
|A full-body walk-around version of Grover demonstrates near and far by ice skating, with Kermit the Frog giving commands in voice-over.|
| "The Opposite Song" |
|The Opposite Song is Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats' ode to antonyms and the difficulties they present in relationships, as when one person goes up and the other down, and one is false, while the other is true. On the show, Little Chrissy danced with a long-armed long-haired woman who did the exact opposite of everything he did.|
| Ernie and Ernestine's differences |
| Ernie talks about the differences between himself and his cousin, Ernestine.
| "Opposite Stuff" |
|Bip Bippadotta sings a song about opposites, including such demonstrations as "up" and "down", and "near" and "far", in front of a black background.|
| Happy and Sad |
| Kermit talks about Happy and Sad with help from Elmo. Elmo wants to play tag with Kermit but he can't not until he's done explaining happy and sad.
| The Opposite Game |
|Against Bert's will, Ernie plays a game with him in which he says a word which is the opposite of every word Bert emphasizes. When Bert finally agrees to PLAY, Ernie becomes stumped, since he can't figure out of the opposite of the word PLAY.|
| Heavy and Light |
|Ernie wants to play a game with Bert about heavy and light. Bert surprisingly wants to play. Ernie shows the audience all the light objects including a tissue, cotton candy and a feather. Bert has to bring in all the heavy objects including a barbell, a boulder and the piano.|
| Quiet |
| Ernie tries to do everything quietly while Bert is reading. Bert gets annoyed and shouts at Ernie, so Ernie thinks it's okay to make loud noise again.
| The First and Last Cookie |
| Cookie Monster is about to eat cookies when Prairie Dawn asks him which cookie he will eat first. He then panics when he's about to eat the last cookie, thinking that that will be the last cookie forever.|
| Ernie Walks Forwards and Backwards |
| While Bert is trying to read a book about pigeons, Ernie practices walking backwards and always bumps into Bert when he does. To solve this problem, Ernie pushes Bert's chair (with Bert in it) out of the apartment.
|"Near Far Monsters"||A song performed by four monsters about being near and being far.|
|Elmo and Zoe's Opposites|| Elmo shows Zoe how to play the opposite game.
|In and Out||When Bert reads a book called "In and Out", Ernie comes up with an "In and Out" game, where he keeps running in and out through the front door.|
Sesame Street Books
- Lots of Opposites
- Big Bird and Little Bird's Big & Little Book
- The Sesame Street Circus of Opposites
- Sesame Street Book of Opposites
- Ernie and Bert's Different Day
- Elmo's World: Opposites!
- Opposite Day
- Elmo is Red, Cookie is Blue!