Contrary to what you've been told, I don't keep up with kids' stuff. Video games, comic books, Pixar films, pop-up books, Boba Fett, Sweet Valley High, Cheetos Puffs, New Edition, Harry Potter, Electric Six, Big Trouble in Little China, action figures, graphic tees, bathroom humor, etc. notwithstanding, I don't know much about the lives, times, tribulations, and television shows of children and their wild-as-a-wine-spritzer parental units; so yes, it came as a surprise to learn that everyone's favorite embodiment of free choice and unhealthy living, better known as the Cookie Monster, had been domesticated a few years back. (I wouldn't go so far as to suggest the poor beast has been neutered because, well, I'm uncertain as to the existence of his reproductive organs in the first place.)
I became aware of this distressing shred of absurdity not by surfing the Internet or watching television (like you'd ever find me engaged in something as pointless as that) but while having dinner with a friend, her husband, and their two-year-old daughter.* Said friend and I were discussing her daily routine (which is of some interest to me since I don't have any children of my own, much in the same way I enjoy talking to people with real jobs) and of course the topic of television was raised and of course I asked about her daughter's favorite TV show, which was (and perhaps, still is), in fact, something other than Sesame Street, but Sesame Street was the only one I recognized so we kept talking about the show, yet as it turns out, I guess I don't know much about Sesame Street since, apparently, it's okay to butcher the Cookie Monster's core identity and mold what remains into a grotesque, fruity** simulacrum.
To reiterate: I was told, in no uncertain terms, that Cookie Monster now, at least officially, considers cookies a sometimes food and what's worse, 'foods' such as asparagus, broccoli, and watermelon are on his dinner plate. I have nothing personal against the aforementioned items, yet even so, I was floored. I mean, what the hell is going on here? If we'd been talking about the Cigarette Monster, I'd be less aghast*** but as things stand, it seems a case of political correctness gone disgustingly awry.
You won't see me denying that media exerts considerable influence upon society but for producers, writers, executives, deranged parents and others to claim that Cookie Monster's obsession is somehow endorsing or actively contributing toward childhood obesity is ridiculous. Let it be said, here and now, that I'm willing to embrace the notion that my idea of child-rearing is askew.
Furthermore, what of Cookie Monster's feelings? Doesn't it matter that he's been reduced to a mere shadow of his former glory? I can imagine how that went down.
(Just after the big staff meeting.)
Cookie Monster: What... What just happened in there?
The Count: One! You've just been stripped of your identity.
Prairie Dawn: And then some. The suits just handed your ass to you!
Cookie Monster: I know, right? Telling me to refrain from cookies is like ordering Big Bird to stop being so big 'cause it inspires kids to do steroids.
Big Bird: Steroids? Ridiculous! The only thing to worry 'bout with the Bird is me bangin' the broads. Wilt the Stilt ain't got nothin' on me.
Grover: Yeah boyyyyyyyyy! Happy hour at Applebee's from five till eight! From there, who knows?
The Count: Two! You've become the Sesame Street punching bag.
Cookie Monster: Exactly! We all have problems, but I'm the one everybody points fingers at. Big Bird is the poster child for STDs and Grover's been an alcoholic for twenty-six years but nobody complains since a bottle of Jim Beam a day keeps him skinny as a rail.
Grover: Come on, guys. Mark Wahlberg's gonna be there.
Prairie Dawn: No shit?
Grover: Indeed. I offered to give him some tips on acting and his people called my people the day after Planet of the Apes was released.
Cookie Monster: But what hurts the most is the lack of solidarity and respect. Kermit just sat there, his mouth shut the whole time. You'd think he'd have my back, what with him dating Ms. Piggy for so long.
Prairie Dawn: You know that bitch is behind all this crap. She's been the butt of jokes for so long that she's looking to take out anyone with a penchant for food. Kermit? He'll do whatever it takes to avoid the beatings at home.
Cookie Monster: Yeah, but did she have to be present at the meeting? She doesn't even work with us! Secondly, did she have to finish a box of Twinkies while there? That's just cruel.
Oscar the Grouch: Dude, I've been living in a garbage can, drinking malt liquor and eating dog food for the past forty years. Shut the fuck up about the fucking cookies already!
The Count: Three! That's the number of hate crimes I've committed today.
* For those curious, I enjoyed a hot ham and cheese on pretzel bun and it was pretty good, though the fries left something to be desired - I like my fries firm and battered, after all.
** And I mean that literally. Cookie Monster's sexual orientation is of no concern to me. He could be getting it on with a harem full of Jerry's Kids for all I care, just so long as he downs a bag of Chewy Chips Ahoy! while pounding some of that dystrophic ass.
*** Tangentially, I just spoke with Cookie Monster's surly, just-out-of-prison brother and rest assured he's still a two pack a day kind of Muppet.