Is Elmo killing Sesame Street?
I really need to read Joel Stein more often because the man is quite an entertaining read. In his latest column he takes a few shots at Elmo, which may seem like the equivalent of a grown man kicking a preschooler in the face, and it is, but he does seem to have a legitimate beef with the little red Muppet. Now, I usually dismiss tirades against Elmo as uniformed, because most of them accuse him of being somewhat low in IQ compared to the other Muppets on Sesame Street. The thing is, Elmo's character was evolved from a background character in such a way as to give him the mentality of a preschool age or younger child, someone the toddlers could relate to while their older siblings enjoyed other aspects of the show. Stein sees that as a real problem, however. To him, and to Wonder Showzen creators Vernon Chatman and John Lee, who he also quotes in his column, Elmo is a solipsistic creature infinitely infatuated with himself. As Stein puts it, "We are breeding a nation of Anna Nicole Smiths." Being 29 with no kids, I don't follow Sesame Street that closely anymore, but like a rock band that's way past its prime, it sounds like the show's glory days are way behind it now.