[w] Look at me with longing eyes and I will always know the score.

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Okay, see, the thing is? It's so happened before. Probably within your memories, and almost certainly within your lifetimes. The world didn't end last time, nor was the character diminished. And it definitely didn't screw with how we understood the character, so it's not like future generations are going to get screwed over so much by the retcon, either. It might even help.

Do you understand? Do you hear what I'm saying? See this psycho Fairuza Balk face?

This is not the first time Cookie Monster's been driven to promote balanced eating. Not by a long shot:

Me promise that when you eat varied menu,
You get more out of every meal.
You need balanced diet,
Come on and try it!
"Healthy Food" went into rotation in 1987, folks. (Warning: clips from this and other songs from Sesame Road may contain explicit lyrics.)

Yeah, I know. It's mindnumbingly pedestrian and obvious. It flies in the face of Cookie's basic id nature. Cookie's supposed to be the ultimate in monofocus, right? Writes to Santa and eats the pencil? Types at Santa and eats the ribbon, then the typewriter? Phones Santa, eats the phone, and pulls off a miracle in then-contemporary telecommunications? (Yeah, I know. I hate that it's out of TV circulation myself. Douglas fir give me heartburn, too. It's on DVD.)

Hey, we're getting off light. Sesame Street has a precedent for dropping characters perceived to be harmful in some fashion, okay? Roosevelt Franklin "was abandoned because he was thought by some to be a negative cultural stereotype and because the schoolroom in which he spent most of his time was considered to be a bad example." Don Music got "complaints about his alarming tendencies toward self-punishment. Apparently, kids were imitating his head-banging tendencies at home." (It'd take some hunting through 1998's Sesame Street Unpaved, the CTW-issued puff book cited above, to confirm it, but certain live-action segments went by the wayside for similar reasons over the years. Cake pratfalls down stairs? Dude.)

If you're gonna get upset about the American version of Sesame Street this week? Okay, there are plenty of reasons to get upset over Sesame Street. The way Mr. Hooper was an Event, but David just kinda vanished, say. Elmo's just bloody obvious. The scaling back of the show's target market's also bloody obvious; it sucks that they have to dumb down the one show which never assumed we were freakin' morons. In fact, Elmo's focus-stealing stems from that. And so do the other cardboard "characters" which began to populate the show. Baby Bear. The mindnumbingly heavy focus on Telly, who was at least suitably neurotic back in the day. Did you see how they mishandled Grover and his friends in that one direct-to-video special a little while back? Appalling. Fuckin' Rosita de la Great Big Hug thing. Plaza S»samo's awesome, but this? Fuckin' Rosita? So not. (And, hell, I'll just go with you on any of the generic, bland monsters from about 1991 onwards. The real character development on monsters seems to be going on over with the international markets. The ones which don't just dub Big Bird and Elmo, anyways.) A little character depth? A little nuance and unforced charm? In the ten games we've played, she's only beaten me twice? Hello? Yeah. Yeah, see, no issue there. None at all.

And Noggin dropping those fantastic, grainy, perfectly bumpered late-night reruns from a few years back? Yeah, I'm with you every step of the way here (and if you taped 'em? My family wants a giant gushing word with you). That? That was for us. And it's not like Sesame Workshop don't know from the market here; we're getting Roosevelt Franklin figures from Palisades, after all.

(Look, my people got Sesame Park, okay? I have no bloody sympathy. Canadians can't deal with the grim urban reality of the Sesame Street ghetto, they told us. Yeah. Because, you know, couple generations of kids didn't do just fine with having the Spanish segments replaced with French ones, or just watching cable (MPBN, represent, yo) and being able to tell you what on earth a salida was. Fuckin' inane Francophone beaver. Fucking beaver. Beaver, bear and biplane. Grim rural reality. I want me some North of 60 or Due South? I will watch me some of that. No sympathy at all. No.

None.

It got cancelled, by the way. But I digress.)

Look, he's still going to be Cookie Monster. It's like how, when Cartoon Network picks up a show to run on Toonami or Adult Swim, the original Japanese materials don't just somehow vanish from existence. They'd pretty much have to stomp this character, or purge him, to eliminate his basic appeal. And, in a few years, when the current wave of perceived urgency settles down a little, we'll probably see him go nuts again. And there's way, way, way too much stuff in circulation now to remind us of what was.

Frank Oz doesn't even perform him anymore, now, anyways. Likewise poor Grover.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go put more butter on my ham, demand the establishment of a delicious buffet, and fail to be harmed by the puny weapons of the lametastic alien fleet. Oh, wait.

33 Comments

Should I feel bad that I've never heard of that song?

Also.. as for the big CM...

NOOOOOOOOO!

(Power Word: No. 9th level. Stops time for as long as the caster can yell the word "no.")

*gasps for breath* OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

*gasps again* OOO... *hack*

*gasps*

Ok, I'm really really out of shape...

Know what's the worst part of this? I know the justification is partly because it isn't for us anymore, that we aren't the reason Sesame Street is made nowadays.

It just hurts that, after all this time, I'm being told something that helped me bond with the woman who became my wife (nobody is the Cookie Monster fan that she is) isn't for me anymore.

Fine then. I'm just going to go and play with Legos, which are somehow still for me even as they're for the kids growing up today.

wow. that's the longest rant about sesame street i've ever seen...

Wait... what cultural stereotype was Roosevelt Franklin supposed to represent?

My roommate, Shadowbourne has a question for 32_footsteps - Your wife has a cookie monster fetish? Does that mean you dress in blue fur, jump into the room, and shout "Me the Nookie Monster! Me want nookie!"

Does that mean you sing the Nookie song? N is for Nookie, that is good enough for me?

I have orbital targetting coordinates for anyone who wants to Death From Above him... ;)

Rob

There's a huge difference between "fan" and "fetishist." My wife is the former, and certainly not the latter.

My wife would do the Death From Above routine, except she's self-conscious about that. She prefers the Death From Right In Front Of You technique.

All the same, I'm just imagining this getting turned into a violent beating in a webcomic. Whether it's my own or someone else's, I couldn't say.

Oh don't give me this crap. Cookie Monster hasn't been right since Crisis on Infinite Streets and you know it.

I never saw "Sesame Park" .. We got "Sesame Street" in Edmonton and it had both the French and the Spanish. (Generally the counting sequences were done in all three.) I totally dug the pinball cartoon thing.. and it irritated me that no one was Snuffy but Big Bird! ..but then, 8 was probably out of their target age group. ^_^

Everything has to be PC. The Gov't has to protect us from everything because so many people refuse to take responsibility for themselves or their children.

In a way it's nice to know that a Children's show is cognizant of its influence among their target audience, and are willing to modify characters in recognition of that influence. There was once a time when only Big Bird knew Snuffeluphagus existed, and no-one else would believe him. They changed that when they learned that a child molester had convinced one of his victims not to tell the child's parents, because he was "like Snuffeluphagus," and no-one would believe he was real.

I remember liking the "no-one believes Snuffeluphagus is real" schtick. But I can see why they changed it...

Personally, I just miss Teeny Little Super Guy. He was awesome.

"What's the matter, old chum? Touch of the old ennui?"

"and a Plaza S»samo theme park in Monterrey, Mexico."

Wow, this brings back old memories. I lived in Monterrey for a time and have been to this theme park. It's a popular water park during the summer. I remember that we bought a "Las Tortugas Ninjas" water bottle from there. It was quite possible the coolest water bottle in existence, until the dishwasher made the pictures and writing go away.

I've been thinking about this.. For some reason it REALLY bothered me. And first I thought it was the reasons stated above, but it's not afterall.

It's not the kids that need to be retrained, it's the parents. Parents control what food is in the house and what isn't. If you can't get your kid out and exercising then you can at least feed them decent food. I spent most of my youth running around the neighborhood playing football (soccer) and climbing things. I wasn't THIN but I wasn't overweight and I WAS in shape.. but I can COMPLETLY understand that parents in big cities don't WANT their kids running all over the place without supervision because of all the dangers.

But, more than once in the grocery stores I see parents feeding their kids candy to "keep them quiet" .. I didn't get candy, I got in trouble if I didn't behave! But today parents can't grab their kid by the ear and give them a smack on the ass and tell them to "Quit your crying or I'll give you something to cry about!" After all, that would be inhumane punishment and the child would HAVE to be taken away for it's own protection. (Think I'm being facetious? Happened to a woman in Ontario who spanked her child one thwap for not listening and trying to climb through the safety railing.)

My friend's daughter wanders to her mum every half hour or so to whine she's hungry. This kid is fed fast food, granola bars and other calorie or fat filled snacks and this kid is FAT. There's never any healthy "ready made" snakes like celery sticks in the fridge.. and what kid is hungry every half hour? Especially considering how often she fills her face.

I didn't control my own food intake until I started high school (grade 8) .. so to try and convince kids that cookies are bad when that's all that's about is rediculous. It's parents who fill the cupboards, it's parents who teach the eating habits, parents are the ones who should be retrained.

I have a problem with the Cookie Monster change, myself, and it's not that they're making a change. As Wednesday pointed out, Sesame Street changes. It changes individual characters, it responds to the needs of its viewers.

This is a good thing.

But there's a degree wherein Sesame Street has a responsibility to change to fit its viewers and a responsibility to which, as a show with trained educators on staff, it needs to be a leader and provide its viewers with intelligent and trend-setting education.

The Cookie Monster change bothers me not because he's now being used to demonstrate healthy eating but rather because he always has. Before now, Cookie Monster's every appearance that I can remember has been a clear demonstration of the problems inherent in his gluttony. He consumes to a ridiculous extreme and it causes problems for him and those around him. It's intelligent and not at all preachy.

My problem with the change in Cookie Monster, then, is that they're changing him to more overtly do what he's already been doing, presumably so that children will easier get the message. I don't believe that children are that stupid. I don't believe that we have to reduce education to the Least Common Denominator in order to get the message across.

Rather, I think we need to teach our children to recognize metaphor and irony and symbolism from an early age, which I feel the old version of Cookie Monster did.

Change Sesame Street, by all means, but change it to meet the changing needs of children, not to dumb it down.

Eh, I'm not so worked up over the whole "Cookie Monster says eat good food too" thing.

I tend to agree with Shadowydreamer, though, to a point. While I don't advocate spanking a kid for being bored in the grocery store (I mean, c'mon, weren't you bored in the grocery store as a kid?), I'm certainly not afraid of applying a bit of discipline. Too many people in today's society (at least here in the States) try too hard to be their child's friend instead of their parent. Not to say that you shouldn't have fun with your kids - oh, no! That's not what I'm trying to say at all.

But so often those parents seem to want their kids to be their FRIENDS.. y'know, their buddies. And so the kids lose that critical guidance point. Do you tell your friends what they can and can't eat? Heck no. But your kids, well, they're another story.

Do I deny my child junk food on occasion? Of course not. However, it is true that, in order to make room for the Easter candy, we had to throw out some of the Valentine's candy that came home from school. "Can I have a coke?" is nearly always followed by "no, but you can have some juice or milk," and sometimes by "no, you've already brushed your teeth, but you can have a glass of water." Is this popular? Of course not. Do they learn that this is just how it is, after a while? Of course. And hopefully it's a habit that becomes ingrained over time.If they hear "that's enough junk food today" enough times, hopefully they'll internalize it and start saying it to themselves as adults.

That's how kids get good habits.. by eating in moderation, 360 days per year (not counting those gorge-fests that are family holidays). By seeing their parents eat in moderation, and by discussing those choices, and the reasons for the rules. Good habits do NOT come by forcing Cookie Monster, whose schtick is to introduce the letter of the day and then.. well, EAT THE LETTER COOKIE, to babble about healthy eating in a 3-minute-ish song. Sheesh.

Besides, it's just bad continuity.. he just wouldn't DO that. Bad storytellers! Bad! Bad!

Sorry if I gave the impression I thought kids should be smacked for being bored / tired / cranky .. I meant more the kids who pick something of the shelf in the store and throw it at brother/sister or person or.. *shudder* Y'know, the entire "this is the line of good behaviour, if you cross it into bad you will be punished."

And I'm even all for non-physical punishments if they're actually a punishment to the child, is consistantly applied and teaches the child their lesson.

I sort of assumed Cookie Monster to be sort of a likeable jokey vice.

I mean, the whole point was that he'd sit there chomping things with reckless abandon while Big Bird or Maria or whoever the hell served as the moral compass explaining why that maybe wasn't the best idea?

Dude, all they really need to do is bring back Captain Vegetable.

I mean, come on.

Dude, all they really need to do is bring back Captain Vegetable.

I mean, come on.

Captain Vegetable is pure awesome...

I actually heard that song on the radio a few weeks ago, on some college radio station

Now be nice about us Canucks, Wednesday. Otherwise we'll have to lock you in a small igloo (sans plumbing, yet) and make you watch infinite reruns of The Starlost...

I spend quite a bit of time watching kids shows because, well, I did quite a bit of babysitting and at some point I may want to have children.

I think Sesame Street has a bigger problem it's trying to address. They aren't the 800 kilogram gorilla anymore. It has actual competition. The Wiggles, Boobah (Really, really, really weird show. Makes the Teletubbies seem normal by comparison.), Dora the Explorer, and many many others. I'm currently very impressed with a 15 min. show called Charlie and Lola (the BBC does it right!). Noggin has this woman named Laura Berkner whom an ABC news reporter commented that she's generating a Grateful Dead like kiddie and adult fans. I mean when was the last time you saw the worlds Greatful Dead and kid fans in the same sentence? That's what Sesame Street has to face against, so much so, it isn't even a shoo-in anymore for Daytime Emmy nominations.

So I think this whole Cookie Monster thing is more about getting kid's attention more than anything else.

I have no substantive comment on the post - suffice it to say that I agree from tip to toe - but Paul G.'s comment is the single funniest thing I have read all day, perhaps all week.

That is all.

Wow. All of us reminiscing about Sesame Street. How cool is that. (Dude!)

The reason so many people are suddenly jumping about this is because we all remember it. It's an institution. Henson et al created something that had the power to be FUN and EDUCATIONAL without pandering to kids. They created something that almost every person who watched it remembers fondly. We all love it and we can't bear to see it change.

But the truth is that it has always changed. And not just because of various socio-political reasons. My fianc»e avidly remembers Telly Monster. Someone I can barely picture in my head. Where'd he go? Why'd they take him out? I don't know.

In my own way, I applaud Sesame Street for addressing modern issues and using the icons they have available to generate awareness. I don't think that Cookie Monster will ever really change, but it's nice that he can try (can't we all?) and perhaps teach a few lessons along the way. Educational and fun.

As for the spin-off Sesame Street-esque shows... Don't even get me started. Although I always though it was weird, when growing up (in Edmonton, strangely enough), I'd be learning to count in Spanish. But the relatively recent creation of Sesame Park was just wrong! Sure, have Canadian characters, but change the whole show? Gah!!

there's a reason why there's so many canadians on here complaining about Sesame Park.

Because it just SUCKED. Man, I long for those days when I was REALLY YOUNG and the real Sesame Street was on. I remember when it switched over... I was so bored by that stupid beaver and bear combo. And their dumb plane.

Sesame Street was neutered at some point in the early 90s. I've babysat plenty of younger siblings, so I've seen good preschooler shows (Blue's Clues was excellent in the Steve days) and bad ones (Barney, of course, but also stuff like Max & Ruby and Clifford). It's become less intelligent, which is, obviously, a bad thing for a show aimed at teaching.

I thought Sam & Max was the best babysitting cartoon ever. Parents often didn't agree.

I'm happy to hear I got out of Edmonton four years before everything went to heck. (Sesame Park released, Oilers' tie the Vancouver Canucks for suckage.. Coincidence?)

Teeeeeelefrancais!

(Sidenote: Spongebob Squarepants is the best way to look after young'uns. Every character is quite enjoyable, except for Spongebob himself.)

On the off-chance someone missed it:

http://www.pvponline.com/archive.php3?archive=20050408

The third panel is the classic one for me.

As for kids shows... I agree that SpongeBob is the most annoying part of the show... but I have a habit of avoiding shows where the main character is that annoying. I have a weakness for The Fairly OddParents, though. The humor is right up my alley, and I know that kids aren't getting some of those jokes.

And yes, I don't deal with any kids on a regular basis, and I still watch it. It's not like there's anything better on television.

"Sorry if I gave the impression I thought kids should be smacked for being bored / tired / cranky .. I meant more the kids who pick something of the shelf in the store and throw it at brother/sister or person or.. *shudder*"

I don't think that hitting a child is *ever* a good idea. A lot of people seem to confuse discipline with corporal punishment. There are ways to be firm with a child that don't involve physical violence. Just saying "No," for starters.

Junk food has gotten completely out of control in America. Frankly, I sympathize with parents whose kids are deluged with ads for candy, cookies, and sugary cereals, parents who have to put up with whining and tantrums every time they go to the store because their kids have been brainwashed to expect these things. Numerous studies have found that young kids, as jaded as they seem these days, really don't understand that commercials aren't true and may be misleading. If they're constantly told to want and demand candy, they'll want and demand candy.

Meanwhile, most parents today ate plenty of junk food when they were kids (you really think *your* generation wasn't spoiled rotten, Gen X-ers?), and I'm sure they figure that one box of S'Mores Pop Tarts won't hurt. In their experience, eating sugar for breakfast is normal. So junk-food consumption gets worse with each generation.

And, of course, the prepackaged "balanced" meals marketed to kids, like Lunchables, are packed with fat, salt, and calories. I imagine there are a lot of parents who don't realize how unhealthy some of the foods they buy for their kids really are.

I wish they'd leave Cookie Monster alone and bring back Captain Vegetable. On the other hand, anything that gives more screen time to Cookie and less to Elmo is probably for the best. And if parents are too weak or ignorant to enforce basic dietary standards, I guess we have to teach the kids to do it for them.

I think the coolest thing about Elmo (and by that I mean just about the only cool thing about Elmo) is that he's really a 6 foot tall black man.

It amuses me greatly every time I'm reminded of it.

"Healthy Food" is one of my many very happy Sesame Street memories from childhood. Along, of course, with "C is for Cookie." My child-brain saw little contradiction. Cookie Monster eats a lot. He likes cookies, but also other things that taste good. Of course, I was usually eating an apple or a carrot or something like that when I watched it. It was all very sickeningly wholesome.

Plus, the vegetable backup singers were awesome.

    I don't think that hitting a child is *ever* a good idea. A lot of people seem to confuse discipline with corporal punishment. There are ways to be firm with a child that don't involve physical violence. Just saying "No," for starters.

      I'm not going to argue how someone should raise their kids, but I will growl at people who say that punishing a child ("hitting" is so often intentionally used to indicate a child isn't being punished logically but out of anger or frustration) by physical form is ALWAYS wrong.

      Y'know what? I was raised with spankings. I was VERY well behaved in public. I treated people and things with respect. I listened to my teachers and my parents. I did not do drugs, I did not come home pregnant at 15, and while I didn't get A's in school, I solidly brought home Bs and C+'s.

      Yes, I rebelled against their strict views, but did so in a non-violant way. Being punished for lying, hitting, disobeying, misbehaving didn't make me go out and pass on the violence. It made me think about things before I did them. My parents always made sure I knew EXACTLY why I was being punished and how to avoid it again in the future.

      My butt was never bruised, but the message was certainly driven home.

      Maybe non-corpreal punishment works for your children, and I'm happy it does, but that doesn't mean corpeal punishments don't.

Sorry about the above formatting errors. Forgot to put the slashes in. >_Sorry about the above formatting errors. Forgot to put the slashes in. >_Sorry about the above formatting errors. Forgot to put the slashes in. >_Sorry about the above formatting errors. Forgot to put the slashes in. >_

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