Friday, April 8, 2005

Those Healthy-Lifestyle Bastards Claim Another Victim!

I, for one, like pudgy little kids, and I'm glad our nation is bursting at the seams with them. Living at what I'll call the "wedgie" end of the gym class spectrum, I don't think our nation's childhood obesity problem is what the alarmists tell us, but the thought still amuses me. Fat little kids are always good for making fun of, and you don't feel guilty or anything because it's not like it's my fault the little porker eats nothing but junk food and thinks that Playstation is strenuous exercise. But the fat police who insist on telling you how to raise your children think differently, and if you haven't heard yet, they've got a warrant out on Cookie Monster.

If you come from a place that's Sesame Street free, Cookie Monster is a furry blue Muppet who, as his name implies, spends his days screaming "Me want cookie!" and scarfing down chocolate chip cookies, teaching little children about the combined joys of gluttony and instant gratification. He also teaches children which letter of the alphabet "cookie" begins with via his trademark Grammy-winning song, C is for Cookie. Cookie Monster, being a puppet and all, is able to eat an entire bakery's worth of cookies, not to mention possibly a few Keebler elves, without gaining a pound or raising his cholesterol a single point. This makes the Atkins folks totally freak. Think of all our impressionable youngsters and the horrible lessons they're getting from a character who has the word "monster" in his name: Carbs are good for you! Use the objective case pronoun "me" as the subject of a sentence!

This year, for Sesame Street's thirty-sixth season, its creators, the Children's Television Workshop, say they're bowing to politically correct bullshit pressure and making Cookie Monster healthier. He'll be singing a new song, patronizingly titled Cookie Are A Sometimes Food, and, like most health-food freaks, he'll be rubbing it in your face at every possible opportunity. "Me want tofu!" "How can you eat Big Mac? So many calories! So much sodium! Me hope you don't get heart attack!"

The childhood innocence started crumbling away when they told us we couldn't lick the spoon and bowl after mixing cake batter. Then they found that Twinkies apparently caused cancer or something, so they had to take those off the shelf. And now, here's the last straw, Children's Television Workshop is introducing a counterpoint to Cookie Monster's taste for junk food: the American Fruit Stand. If you're both over forty and incredibly imaginative, you won't need me to tell you that the American Fruit Stand is an American Bandstand parody, complete with singing eggplants and carrots just begging to be eaten because they're oh-so-healthy. It makes me sad, and kind of irritated because it's not like any of this crap is going to have the slightest effect on childhood obesity. You don't have to be a child psychologist — or even like kids for that matter — to realize that today's children aren't little piggies because of Cookie Monster any more than they're going around yammering squeakily in the third person asking to be tickled because Elmo does it. Kids eat cookies because cookies taste good, and kids don't eat brussel sprouts because, no matter how many Muppets you have singing about them, brussel sprouts taste like ass.

I think there is a real epidemic here in America, and it has nothing to do with pudgy third-graders waddling down the street. The problem is the hordes of negligent, indolent, and corpulent (I just threw that in for good measure) parents who load up their spoiled rotten kids with disposable income and then let them loose on the world to buy their Hostess Ding-Dongs and Ashlee Simpson ringtones. Message to American parents: stop being surprised when your unsupervised children go around acting childish!

In other Sesame Street news, apparently this season Oscar the Grouch enters a methadone clinic and tries to get himself cleaned up. Grover reconsiders his life and concludes that tequila is a sometimes drink. Also, the entire cast roasts and stuffs Big Bird on a very special Thanksgiving on Sesame Street episode.