Move Over Maria, Here Comes Leela

April 10, 2008

leela.jpgSesame Street has a new neighbor running the laundromat: Leela, or Indian American actor Nitya Vidyasagar.

I remember feeling really warm seeing the Puerto Rican Rodriguez family -- Maria and Luis -- because they kinda looked like me. How cool that, from August 2008 -- Sesame Street's 39th (!!) season -- Indian kids will grow up with someone who REALLY looks like them.

The best part of this story is that the producers claim that they weren't looking for another ethnic character:

"When the producers of Sesame Street were looking for a new actor to run the local laundromat, they were not looking for an Indian or any particular ethnicity -- they just wanted someone who was charming and not patronizing to a young audience. According to the newspaper India-West, the fact that this character is a Hindu and Indian American is purely coincidental. In fact, the character was recreated for this actress since they were smitten by her theatrical abilities."

Momo recently blogged about the bi-lingual Madarin animated show Ni Hao, Kai-lan that Nickelodeon is showing. What other live or animated Asian American characters are there out there for children's programming?