'Sesame Street' favorites have a sunny day amid coronavirus outbreak with 'Elmo’s Playdate'

Erin Jensen

The friendly and fur-covered faces of "Sesame Street" characters attempted to sweep the clouds of the COVID-19 pandemic away with a half-hour special Tuesday. 

During HBO's "Sesame Street: Elmo’s Playdate," the red muppet dialed up some of his favorites via video chat with assistance from his dad, Louie. (The special also aired on networks including PBS, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network.)

Viewers might've seen friends, colleagues – and even perhaps themselves – under the current quarantine. 

Grover had some difficulty mastering the video chat. First, he didn't realize he was on mute; then, he accidentally turned himself upside down. Later he stumbled upon filters. Those who are constantly snacking have a friend in Cookie Monster. He got so excited just reading the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies that he devoured the paper the recipe was printed on.

Elmo had a great joke about the need to thoroughly wash hands. “Elmo sang happy birthday more times than Elmo’s even had a birthday,” he said.

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Tracee Ellis Ross, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anne Hathaway were among those he called for check-ins. 

Ross, who sported a stylish neon turtleneck, said she'd been spending her days knitting and walking on the treadmill. She warned those activities should not be done at the same time, and said knitting is a new hobby she's still mastering.

"Actually, last week, I got tangled up in the yarn," she said. "I made myself into a mummy. Kind of funny, but also a little hard to get out of." The two played "Elmo Says" (like Simon Says).

With Miranda, Elmo sang "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," and they pretended to be animals. Elmo encouraged make-believe for viewers. (Therefore, I will pretend my quarantine ensembles are as chic as Hathaway's.)

The "Modern Love" actress had a rose wash over her cheeks and dainty gold jewelry as she led Elmo through a breathing exercise 

"Sometimes, when I want to calm myself down, I take a deep breath in, and I raise my shoulders up to my ears, and then, when I exhale, I push them down," she said.

Hathaway exposed more of her fashionable short-sleeve utility jumpsuit when illustrating how to knead bread dough. Viewers got a peek at her star-covered booties when she kicked her feet into the air. (How long have I been wearing leggings?!)

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Elmo rings his friends, Abby and Cookie Monster, for a video chat.

Elsewhere in the special, the "Sesame Street" cast offered tips on things to do during quarantine. 

Grover said he's been delivering groceries to those who are unable to venture out. Abby used her imagination to turn a paper lunch bag into a platypus. Elmo said he's also a fan of at-home art projects, revealing he's "been drawing and coloring a lot."

Abby and Elmo also acknowledged the helpers during the pandemic.

"There are so many heroes right now: doctors and nurses and police officers and firefighters," said Abby.

"And then there's the people who do all sorts of things," Elmo said, "like pick up the trash and put things on shelves in the stores. And mail carriers too!" 

The special is part of the Sesame Workshop's Caring for Each Other initiative. Introduced last month, it aims to provide resources for kids and those who care for them during the outbreak.

Last month, actress Kristen Bell hosted the star-studded #KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall.” That hour-long special answered young people's questions about the pandemic, shared how kids were making an impact during the health crisis and helped separate fact from fiction. 

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