Since this was already discussed, I'm just going to point out the 2 problems that lead to this. 1) The writers aren't quite as comfortable writing for Big Bird as they are bolder characters. I don't think it's a personal thing against the character (if there was any real unpleasantness with Carol, they'd just recast his roles), just a writing comfort zone thing. A lot of writers for television have better handles on certain characters than others. And Big Bird does seem to have a very subtle personality with very subtle complexities that would cause problems. Other than the fact there HAS to be some pressure to write more Elmo episodes (since that's their big money maker), I don't see anything really worrisome there. 2) Again, their budget is razor thin. It really seems like now more than ever they can only afford so many puppeteers to come on per episode... that leads to deserted streets, and lack of more than 6 characters at a time. So, even if Carol or Matt could do a walk by cameo, even poke the head out of his nest, the budget won't allow it now. But make no mistake. When it comes to most merchandise, you'll see Big Bird Elmo and Cookie out there right in front. Sometimes either Ernie or Abby. Then again, Telly's in almost every other episode, and his merchandising presence has always been small. Ditto Baby Bear. And I AM seeing more and more Snuffy stuff. And as I said a year ago, there is NO CALL for Big Bird to look like a fuzzy Lollipop. What is he? Animal?