Remember Cookie Monster? He ate a lot of cookies. That’s why he’s called Cookie Monster: He eats cookies in monstrous, hilariously exaggerated amounts. As a child, you laughed at his antics. It was cute. It was pure.
Now Cookie Monster is qualifying his eating. According to the makers of Sesame Street, the new season will feature a more “health conscious” theme. Now Cookie Monster is being lectured by a pompous owl who reminds me of those health nuts I routinely like to eat bacon cheeseburgers in front of. Telling Cookie Monster not to eat cookies is like medicating Big Bird for his continual hallucinations about his imaginary friend “Snufflupugus.”
I can just imagine the scene. Grover tells Cookie Monster, “This is an intervention. We’re worried about you.”
Cookie Monster, crumbs still falling from his furry mouth, replies “Me can quit anytime me want.”
The Count replies: “Three! Ah ha ha! You’ve tried to quit three times!”
Then, Cookie Monster, after years of therapy and conditioning, finally gets that monkey off his back. He begins to chain smoke and only eats granola bars. He thinks the hollowness they leave in his Muppet body can only be outdone by the hollowness of his soul.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for teaching kids about good eating habits. Obesity is a problem in this country, but then again so is anorexia. Personally, I’ve always thought Elmo had an eating disorder because you never really see him eat.
I just think to a certain degree it gets a bit ridiculous. It’s silly to take away Cookie Monster’s cookies, corrupting a Sesame Street tradition thirty some odd years old. Somehow “The Tofu Monster” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
If you’re going to be politically correct on Sesame Street, there are better places to start. The Count would probably have to be staked because having a vampire on the show that sucks the blood of misbehaving children probably isn’t the best image for the wee ones. And gosh darn it, why hasn’t Bert or Ernie found that special someone? And Oscar the Grouch — why not make him friendly, clean and move him into an upper end apartment?
But no. The folks at PBS want to corrupt one of the purest images I have from my childhood. According to the Sesame Street folks, Cookie Monster’s going to be eating healthier cookies and eating “the occasional object.”
Speaking of which, Sesame Street features singing vegetables. Forgive me here, but what kind of message are we sending to our children that it’s not OK to eat inanimate cookies but we should encourage them to eat singing, smiling, cute vegetables? Wouldn’t that confuse the hell out of the kids who are told to eat singing vegetables but not singing trees or rocks? “But Mommy, I don’t want to eat the singing tomato. Its screams burn the fibers of my being.” Little Billy then tries to eat the vacuum, because it’s the only thing on Sesame Street that isn’t smiling and singing.
With the exception of little Billy, though, I think kids are smart. If you want to make a show about eating healthy, you do it with characters the kids look up to and respect. Cookie Monster has never been much of a role model. He hasn’t seen his kids in years, blowing child support on Oreos and EL Fudge. Sure, Cookie Monster probably hasn’t been getting nutrition for the last thirty years, but wouldn’t you like to age as well as he does? If PBS wants to do a health show, which I encourage, then get the Count to count calories and put Big Bird on the Atkins diet or something. Don’t touch the C-monster though, or else I’m coming for you.
C is for Cookie and that is good enough for me. Cookie Monster, I feel for you. You keep eating your cookies and I’ll keep making adult jokes about a kid show.
Chris HoltThe Stanford Daily,Stanford.