I really think he is. Seriously. He has to be on something. No one is that happy and loving all the time. Not without some sort of pharmaceutical assistance.
Granted, I hadn't watched an episode of Sesame Street in decades (till recently), and there's a whole bunch of new characters aside from him, but really, he's just way too happy for me not to be suspicious.
I know kids love him (and the occasional adult) - it is a 'he' right? - but I have to tell you, watching an episode the other day kind of freaked me out. Aside from the fact that the people who were on it when my little brother watched it are STILL on it, and that some of the characters are a little, um, scary, it seems to essentially be the same program it was over 20 years ago. But Elmo, I don't know.
Not long after my Sesame Street experience, I discovered a documentary on Netflix called 'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey'. I found this somewhat accidentally and figured 'what the heck' so I watched it. And I have to be honest, I kind of get it now. I respect the guy behind Elmo. What he went through to get to where he is now and how dedicated he is to kids and family, I get it, really I do. It doesn't mean I am any less freaked out about his super-duper-over-the-top-so-happy-to-meet-you-happy-happy-joy-joy voice, but at least now I understand where it comes from... somewhat.
But this got me to thinking, are all kids characters like this? So I went down the list of the ones I at least knew about (I have no doubt there are hundred's more).
- 'TeleTubbies' - I was never fully subjected to, but I still think they are all on drugs.
- 'The Wiggles' - they have a weird 'Beatle-esque' hold over kids. But it's kind of hard not to like a bunch of pop stars who decided there was more money to made in entertaining kiddies (yup, they were called 'The Cockroaches' back in the day, and yes, I do still have their CD's).
- 'Barney?' I've got nothing against dinosaurs, but he is just plain weird.
And that's just the first three I thought of.
The list goes on and on. You can Google 'kids characters on drugs' and there is a whooping 22, 200, 000 hits. It's nuts. Granted most of these aren't specifically related to the question at hand, but still.
I know in theory, it comes down to what attracts little kids. Primary colors, up tempo music, sing-songy voices (I know a few adults who dig that too), but some days I really do wonder, who it is that sits in a room and creates this stuff. And bigger question - what are they on?
Till next time, I'll see you all on Sesame Street.....