C is for Kooky
The creators of Sesame Street recently announced that in future segments, the character of Cookie Monster will temper his frenzied desire for sweet cookies, adding the song “A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food” to his repertoire, and fruits and vegetables to his diet. Thus does public television dance along that fine, spindly line between education and mind control. Now, having a character named Cookie Monster not like cookies so much might seem like a triumph of socialization over art. However, it might be a necessary step. Our children have grown into corpulent beasts, draining the pool of potential teen hotties for our pedophilic society to drool over.
This of course would not be the first time Sesame Street’s developers have modified a character to suit the public’s needs. An earlier generation of kids tricked into learning might remember when Big Bird’s elusive friend Aloysius Snuffleupagus suddenly became visible to the other denizens of the street. It was decided that Big Bird’s having a friend that no one else could see would be counterproductive to those children experiencing schizophrenia or using hallucinogenic drugs. Society may have been better served, but something was lost in these characters, some of the edge was gone. Remember this scene, prior to the change?
Big Bird [Kneeling before the corpse of Mr. Hooper, blood coating his wings]: Why did you do it, Snuffleupagus? Why?
Snuffleupagus: Why did I do it?
Big Bird: Yes, why did you kill Mr. Hooper?
Snuffleupagus: Don’t you get it, Big Bird? Don’t you see it even yet?
Bob: Oh my God! Big Bird! Why did you kill Mr. Hooper?
Big Bird: I didn’t do it! It was Snuffleupagus! He…Hey, where did he go?
Once the shaggy mini-mammoth Snuffy was revealed to the other characters, this plot-line disappeared, as did much of the frisson of his encounters with Big Bird. One worries that a similar loss of dynamism will occur with a healthier, safer Cookie/Vegetable Monster.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only revamping of honored characters Sesame Street has in store. Here is a summary of some of the other changes to be phased in over the next few months.
Oscar the Mensch: Thanks to mood-stabilizing drugs, the famously grouchy Oscar becomes a blue-bagging glad hander. He finally moves out of his trash can into a homeless shelter, and his signature song “I Love Trash” becomes “Recycling Is Fun!”
Tagging Is Passe: The character in the bowler hat who is constantly causing havoc by painting numbers in public spaces learns the evils of vandalism, and creates number art strictly for gallery distribution. When he learned of the change, Paul Benedict, the actor who still plays the character said, “Whatever pays the bills. I’m just hoping for another Jeffersons reunion special.”
Count, Down!: Out of sensitivity to people with obsessive-compulsive disorders, The Count von Count will stop his disturbing fixation with counting everything he sees and get back to what he should have been doing all along: sucking human blood.
Grover Kicks: Grover, that loveable junkie, finally gets clean. It will be an uphill struggle, with scary letters and clips of animals in the woods tormenting him, but he will prevail over his addiction. Grover will also deal with many of the issues behind the emptiness that leads to addiction, such as his hatred of Elmo, whom he refers to as “Red Grover.” Interestingly enough, as Grover begins eating again and Cookie Monster slims down, the blue furred beasts will become identical, and the same Muppet will be used for both, as is the case with all the lesser Baldwins.
Wrapped, Not Raw: Ernie and Bert learn the hard way about the dark underside of infidelity and dangerous sex. Ernie sings a song called “Raw Is a Sometimes Experience, for Monogamous Partners Who Have Been Tested.”
Will all this make for better children? Will we have to iron out all the kinks of our beloved characters just to get our kids to stop being foul-mouthed, obnoxious fatties? What ever happened to beating our children? Not for any educational, instructive discipline, but just for the fun of it? What ever happened to fun?