Watching this, it's kind of hard to believe that Bert & Ernie ever felt comfortable enough around the Count to invite him over for a sleepover, isn't it?
It is creepy that the Count could put other chracters into temporary trances, and yet Bert's and Ernie's entranced reactions are really funny. All the same, I'm glad they got rid of that aspect of the Count's character and that he's gotten so much friendlier over the years.
Nevertheless, I kind of get a subversive pleasure when Sesame Street bits take a darker turn like this. I remember being a little kid and watching things like Bert & Ernie in the pyramid or the I-beam film or the Floating Face counting to ten, and I remember feeling a little unnerved by each of them, but also feeling a weird sort of thrill--like I was watching something a little bit edgy that I wasn't supposed to see--secure in the knowledge that it wouldn't last too long, that it would transition back to something safe and fun before it got to be too much. Whereas nowadays, Sesame Street segments are longer, so I imagine that they have to keep it consistently light, which is fine too. But personally, I think I'm none the worse for wear having been occasionally challenged and pushed a little bit outside of my comfort zone.