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Rosita2
PERFORMER Carmen Osbahr
DEBUT 1991
DESIGN Ed Christie
Rosita

Rosita with her wings.

Zoe abby rosita hands

Zoe, Abby Cadabby, and Rosita.

Rosita snowball
RositaWings2021

Carmen Osbahr performing Rosita with her newly-restored wings in 2021.

4063-Rosita

Rosita plays the guitar.

Character

Rosita with her family.

Rosita-2017

A new Rosita puppet introduced in 2017, with much thicker fur (especially on her head and upper lip).

3466b

Benny Rabbit teaches Rosita how to be a bellhop in Episode 3466.

4027c

Little Richard sings a song to Rosita.

Mynameisrosita

1995 book, My Name Is Rosita.

Rosita workshop

Rosita in the workshop.

Rosita Super Morphin Mega Monster

Rosita as a Super Morphin Mega Monster.

ModernRositaPose
Abby Rosita Elmo astronauts 4621 screen

Rosita plays an astronauta captain with Abby and Elmo in Episode 4621.

Rosita-ByTheStoop
Pvc-rosita

Rosita in PVC form from Tyco/Fisher-Price

Rosita is a turquoise, bilingual monster who first appeared on Sesame Street in 1991 in Episode 2888 (Season 23). Hailing from Mexico, her full name is Rosita, la Monstrua de las Cuevas (Rosita, the Monster of the Caves).[1] She is five years old,[2] and celebrates her birthday on December 7. She is the second bilingual Muppet to recur on the show (after Osvaldo the Grouch), speaking both English and Spanish.

Rosita has often presented the Spanish Word of the Day, and features frequently playing her guitar, which Luis taught her to do in Episode 3794. She's very good with history, as well as geography.[3]

Rosita has an extended family which includes an abuela and other relatives. Her dad, Ricardo, served in the military and is in a wheelchair due to injuries related to his service. He made his debut with Rosita's mom, Rosa, in the 2008 resource video, Talk, Listen, Connect: Changes.

Some of Rosita's favorite toys include a doll named Lola who appears in Episode 3857 and "Monster Lullaby," a stuffed cat named Gatito from Episode 5118, and a purple doll named Carmen (after her performer) from the 2022 illustrated book Meet Your Neighbors on Sesame Street.

Development[]

The idea of a bilingual Muppet character for the show was conceived as early as 1990 by Jim Henson. Carmen Osbahr remembered "having just one conversation with him before he passed away... "I always wanted a bilingual character, what do you want?"... We thought that animals would be politically incorrect as any Mexican could be offended, so we decided that we wanted a monster... a colorful monster." After Henson's passing, Osbahr met with some of the show's creative team to finally develop the character as she became.[4]

Rosita was named after one of Carmen Osbahr's best friends in Mexico, and was originally conceived as "a young girl monster proud of her heritage who encounters problems learning English."[5] Sonia Manzano devised the character's surname "the Monster of the Caves."[6]

Wings[]

Rosita originally had wings attached to her arms, akin to those of another cave-dwelling creature, the fruit bat.[1]

Members of Rosita's family have exhibited the ability to fly, as seen in Episode 3341 where Rosita practices some flying of her own, but has trouble with making landings. Her family's wings are referenced again in Episode 3846 where Rosita decides to find something else to do with her wings rather than fly. In 2017, performer Carmen Osbahr explained that "She couldn't fly but she was able to glide like a flying squirrel. But mainly the big arms with wings were [designed] because she [used] to give very big hugs and to play the guitar."[7]

Her designer Ed Christie went into detail on the puppet's construction in the same social media post:

β€œI designed Rosita with wings. Totally my invention. She was described to me as a "monster from the caves". I took it upon myself to reference a bat....and she was a monster that evolved similarly. I also thought (and hoped) that it would have been characterized as a sign of female empowerment...a way for the character to do things the other monsters didn't. It was a sort of superpower built into her species.

Unfortunately, the writers didn't pick up on that. Add to that, it was a great solution to hiding the performers arms....kind of like the way the performer is hidden under Cookie Monster's sack shape. Another thought was that she would do great dance movements - like if she wanted to teach "flamenco". The wings were cut from the fur fabric in such a way to form pleats. They moved beautifully.

One year, while I was no longer in charge of running SS for Henson, she had no wings. I was really pissed off and if I had the opportunity, would have had a meeting or two to defend their existence. I was so determined to make her different than the other monsters. Aggravating! But Carmen continues to do amazing work with her and it's such a joy stumbling across a Rosita performance.[7]”

Beginning with Season 35, Rosita was rebuilt and no longer had wings. Years later, Osbahr revealed that the decision to remove Rosita's wings had never been communicated with her:

β€œThe first day of Season... I don't remember which one she just didn't have them. It shocked me. It was Production at Sesame Workshop. What they told me was that the people in Merchandise took that decision.

The interesting thing was Rosita doesn't have a lot of merchandise.

I really like the wings. It made her look like a different Monster. Like 20 years ago they wrote a very funny script. Prairie was helping Rosita with her flying and landing. At the end of the show Prairie was wearing a helmet because no matter what Rosita keep landing on her head.[7]”

In a 2011 interview with ToughPigs.com, Rosita offers an explanation for the loss of her wings: she claims that her family flew from their cave (near Snuffy's) during a storm, like a flying squirrel, and she lost her wings.[3] A spare Rosita puppet, with the wings intact, continued to be used as Rosita's Abuela.

By 2021, Rosita's wings were reinstated, as first seen in web videos produced for Sesame Workshop's Coming Together initiative.[8]

Notes[]

  • Years before Rosita first arrived, Big Bird made friends with a chicken named Rosita on his trip to New Mexico.

Filmography[]

Album appearances[]

Book appearances[]

See also[]

Sources[]

  1. ↑ 1.0 1.1 Borgenicht, David. Sesame Street Unpaved, 1998.
  2. ↑ Season 46 press kit
  3. ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Tough Pigs Live From Sesame Street: Abby Cadabby & Rosita" June 2, 2011
  4. ↑ Below the Frame, season two, episode two. (YouTube) 5:15
  5. ↑ Apodaca, Rose, "Sesame Street's Newest Resident Is Furry, Affectionate and Latina", Los Angeles Times, January 28, 1993.
  6. ↑ Sonia Manzano interview, video interview for the Archive of American Television, conducted on July 15, 2004.
  7. ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Muppet Wiki on Facebook August 29, 2017
  8. ↑ YouTube: Spanish Is My Superpower
  9. ↑ TVBroadcast.com "Preserving The Value Of Sesame Street" by Debra Kaufman
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