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Scathing Elmo Article

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by D'Snowth, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I know there are a lot of people out there who feel like Elmo "took over" SST, but this article actually kind of takes the situation and puts it into perspective a bit:


    Admittedly though, I got about halfway through actually reading the article before I had to just skim through the rest - this guy clearly doesn't like Elmo at all, and the lengthy post seems to just go on and on and on about Elmo ranting. Still, while I think the idea that Kevin Clash made Elmo an embodiedment of all things love, I kind of agree with the author about Elmo's lack of an edge in comparision with the other Muppets.
  2. antsamthompson9

    antsamthompson9 Well-Known Member

  3. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Elmo didn't ruin Sesame Street. That's something that overly entitled to their childhood kids were whining about since the 90's, and that was this site's main traffic for a time in the early to mid 00's.

    I do however believe that Batgirl somehow manages to signal a Batman series sucking. She appeared in the actually awful third season of the 66 show, but that was due to the network trying to screw them off the network because of the budget and the writers trying to out silly themselves and somehow managing to fail at it. I mean, somehow "Surfing Joker" passes that thin line between tongue in cheek self satirical oddness that the adult viewers are in on but the kids aren't hip to and...well... dumb cartoonish stuff that isn't clever or witty, all the while trying to be hip when they were hip by doing what they were doing all along. Then there's that terrible Fourth Batman film where Batgirl just happened to be added to the cast. The only time I really feel the inclusion of Batgirl ruined a Batman production, however, was The Batman because they just turned Jade from Jackie Chan Adventures into a college aged Caucasian redhead, but kept everything fundamental about the character in tact, down to her annoyed pouty face. Which shouldn't be a surprise in retrospect since JCA staff was writing for TB. Except Jade worked in Jackie Chan Adventures because a flustered Jackie freaking out at her for not staying with Uncle once again was funny, but a slightly annoyed Batman wasn't so much.

    What does that have to do with Elmo? Elmo's rise to fame kinda happened at the same time as and due to the show's "downward quality." Sesame Street was no longer the big boy on the playground after 2 decades of not even a competition competition. Imitators looked like imitators, and other preschool to second grade based kiddy shows lived in perfect harmony knowing there was no way to take on a giant like Sesame. Sesame and Mr. Rogers never competed with each other or felt the need to. If they did, they were merely friendly rivals at most. We know what character made it big in the 90's, we know which essential members of Sesame Street's team were lost at the same time. No need to rehash or bludgeon that in. But we all respect the fact that the show struggled with their loss and a new culture of what preschool programming was all about. Sesame Street, no matter how much focus on Grover or Ernie and Bert or Big Bird or Cookie in the merchandising was always a community show. Barney was a centered character and the show revolved around him, as did the cheap Barney imitators. Other shows rose on cable networks as well, though it took Blue's Clues to make a dent.

    Elmo just happened to be there and he just happened to grow in usage in the wake of certain characters being not yet recast. But we who have been following the show for years know that Elmo wasn't the only character that grew out of that, yet he was one of the few that actually stuck. And the obvious about Elmo's World, Tickle me Elmo, and season 33 that I needn't retread. But the thing that gets me is this...

    Those who have grown up a pre-Elmo Sesame Street have to be in their very late 30's and 40's. He's been around since the mid-80's, just not to the 90's extent, but he was still gaining popularity. They haven't been the core audience for decades. Unless they have children, in which case it only matters if their kids like it, and kids liking something that annoys adults isn't new. Kids and adults bonding over the same thing isn't exactly new, but it's really risen since the 90's and especially today. Look at Star Wars. But as I've always said, if you stop watching a show for years and then watch new episodes (and also most shows don't last that long) of course things are going to be vastly different rather than following the show and seeing gradual changes. Still, Elmo isn't to blame for these changes, he was just there when they happened.
    Duke Remington likes this.
  4. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    Adults need to realize that the show was not created for them. Almost every major change in the show's history was because of testing. Testing to see what the kids watching like and dislike. Elmo was a reflection of the show's changing demographics and the fact that kids loved him. He wasn't just a character forced down our throat (*cough cough, Abby*) because the writers ran out of ideas or so they could sell more toys (Abby).
    zucca and Muppy like this.
  5. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Interesting, but how do you feel about Abby? :p
  6. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    I find it quite humorous that they built Abby up so much for her debut year and only used her in a mere three episodes (one of which was just a glorified cameo). It wasn't until the season after that they promoted her up, and even so, she was most in inserts.
    D'Snowth likes this.
  7. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    Yeah,that bothered me so much. In her first season I was really disapointed because I wanted to know more about her because I only got to see one episode of the entire season with her in it. And then when Season 38 rolled around she literally appeared in every single episode of that season,and thus began my hatred towards her. I don't mind her now,but it took probably about three years for me to get used to her.
  8. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I feel like I've said that almost verbatim before.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    If there's one counter argument I could get behind it's that while the show isn't exactly made for adult audiences, it was created with adults watching television with their kids in consideration. And a little Elmo goes a loooong way to adults. Whatever can be said about the counterculture of MLP:FIM, it was made clearly with the intent of the mothers and/or fathers of the little girls watching with their kids not to want to smash their head on the coffee table until they black out. That's why they're a pony voiced by Weird Al, pony caricatures of Big Lebowski characters and stuff like that. I can see older parents of young kids being annoyed by Elmo's Elmoness and Elmo segments. But then again, there were some that had a lot of complaints when Elmo's World was replaced as well.

    Plus, there's that brilliant thing from The Office Robert California said...

    (go to 1:30).

    I actually agree, but I feel that's more reflective of how educational kid's television trended since the 90's.

    Still, he gets too much hate, especially for those who think the show should be all Sherlock Hemlock and those guys. I miss them, it's a shame Sherlock didn't come back during the HUGE Sherlock fad that's cooling off. But there are those who felt Elmo replaced those characters when, for the most part, the only characters that really had staying power are obvious (Ernie, Bert, Cookie, Grover, Big Bird and Oscar).

    I'm very mixed about how she was introduced. Her first appearance was all Poochie-esque, jamming her catchphrases in there and showing obvious interactions with other characters who all the sudden love her (but it is a friendly street). Subsequent appearances that season made her shy, uncomfortable, and slightly depressed and down on herself. The character was ironically deeper in her introductory season. She'd show frustration in not getting spells right. Even comedically a couple times. On the one hand, it shows that she grew as a character to shrug off mistakes. On the other hand, she's almost got purity written into her character, like she's not allowed to cause discord or even show emotion other than constantly happy. I don't like that on any character. Even Elmo emotes sometimes. I really feel the character never gets near her potential (especially in her own segments, it's always Blogg or Gonnigan's fault something happens except for like one time), even if they used her as a modern day Mumford the Great. She's not a strong character half the time.
  10. Katzi428

    Katzi428 Well-Known Member

    Watching SS in the 70s , each Muppet didn't have their own "World" or segment. Yes, I realize that times have changed. But not really too much. Even though I don't have kids of my own, I'm still on the "Elmo took over SS" team.
    Another reason is that he messes up kids' speech by talking in the 3rd person term. Kids are just starting to learn how to talk when they start watching the show.
  11. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    Has there ever been any cases of kids actually learning negative speech patterns from Elmo & Cookie?
    zucca likes this.
  12. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    I've never heard any kid having a speech impediment just because they like Elmo or Cookie Monster or Baby Bear for that matter.

    As for Elmo taking over the show, let's not forget that Big Bird appeared in almost every single episode of the first 33 years of the show.
  13. Muppy

    Muppy Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I don't think liking a certain character is going to change the way a person speaks, especially if you have parents and other family members teaching you how to talk properly. But it would be interesting to see if character speech impediments actually have any affect on young children.

    Now, I'm probably not the one to be talking, since I've never lived in a world without Elmo, but I don't think he ruined the show. Obviously kids like him, so Sesame Street is going to give them what they want. A character I do think ruined the show was Murray ... the show did not need Murray. :attitude::grr:
  14. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, but even Caroll Spinney has likened the situation to Big Bird being an only child and Elmo was like having to get used to a new baby brother in the family.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  15. Katzi428

    Katzi428 Well-Known Member

    OK..fine. I stand corrected about today's kids possibly speaking like Elmo. I apologize.
    I'm still standing my ground about in the 70s Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, etc., not having their own "World" or whatever . There would be a segment about Ernie & Bert in their apt & Ernie talking about something crazy (like he can't hear Bert because there's a banana in his.. meaning....Ernie's ...ear.. ) Does SS still teach about the alphabet & numbers ?
    With the new autistic Muppet, I'm sure she's been forgotten about already. And that's a shame.
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    You saw last Sunday's Family Guy, too?

    Sesame Street characters, heck Muppets in general, have a history of Monster Speak. Elmo's third person speech impediment was actually more prevalent when the character was given to Kevin. He talked more like what a 3 year old monster would talk like. He's far more articulate now. Same deal with Cookie Monster. He used to be a little more soft and growly when he was introduced.
    Of course, I don't think any kids learned to talk without contractions because Grover doesn't either. And for every Monstery character that talks monstery, there's more than enough regular, succinct speaking characters like Big Bird, Oscar, Ernie, Bert, and let's not forget all the adults.

    I don't agree it's Murray, so much as making the show into a block format. I've always had issue with it, seems like the shorter show time frame they had to junk the hosting bits. Though, through it I absolutely adored the idea of a Muppet going out in the real world, and don't see why they didn't do more of it sooner. I mean, sure, they'd take Big Bird all over the world and we know it was the subject of 2 big specials, but they didn't have that "Muppet in a real New York Neighborhood" thing going for it. I'm sure Jim would have loved seeing the Murray has a Little Lamb segments. Everyone treats him like he's a real thing really there, and that's why the Muppets endures as a puppet based medium. The fact that you know they're puppets after all, but still are amazed at how much life is in them.
    zucca likes this.
  17. zucca

    zucca Member

    Mr. Green Frog no want to play with Elmo!
  18. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    Whenever I discuss with people how Sesame has changed in recent years, etc. I always say the same thing: I'm not in their demo anymore. And it's the truth, sadly. I WILL say this, there is still some great writing on it, and I still smile/chuckle when I do catch it, but I don't watch regularly anymore. Kind of stopped that in the early 2000s, to be honest.
  19. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    And as I've always said on this site, the old school fans tend to ignore the variables of the other trends in preschool programming as well. Sesame Street was always designed to be experimental and adaptive. On the plus side, the teacher-like lectures of the earliest seasons dies out fairly quick. That and the not that good human comedy duos.

    I think the problem is that we live in some sort of Nostalgic Entitlement culture. We have those who instantly complain about something different from what they grew up with and at the same time whine about when something they grew up with is sequeled/rebooted. As in "we love the old things with old characters, not new things with new characters or new things with old characters, and everything should stay exactly how it was when I was the demographic age and the heck with everyone else."
    Ethan Menaker likes this.
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Something else that should be noted, that we've discussed before, is that in recent years, SW has been trying to meet everybody halfway: even though we still continue to see an abundance of Elmo (and Abby), they have been trying to give other characters increasing exposure. Grover got a little more attention for a while there when we got Super Grover 2.0, and of course let us not forget how much lovin' Cookie's been getting for a number of years now - so much so that he went on YouTube to campaign to host SNL, got two new recurring segments on the show, jumped on board some unboxing fad, and even got his own special last year. What other character aside from Elmo has gotten that much exposure in recent years?

    Not to mention with the scaling back of Muppets to a "core six," as sacrelgious as is may seem to see less Muppets in general, seems to be a move to at least make sure there are a group of Muppets that will carry the show as opposed to just Elmo (and Abby) with all of the others as supporting characters.

    So again, yeah, there's the argument that we really have place to complain since kids love Elmo and kids are who the show is made for, not us, but at least SW makes attempts to please everybody.
    MelissaY1 likes this.

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