Give Cookie Monster back his snack
I was a PBS kid growing up and am proud to admit it. Sesame Street’s Count von Count had me running around counting everything in sight. LeVar Burton opened up the amazing world of books and made being a book worm cool on Reading Rainbow. And there was always a lesson to learn from King Friday XIII when I visited Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. These programs were staples to my childhood.
My love for PBS and its entertaining yet educational characters is why I have jumped up on my soap box, albeit a little late, in defense of one loveable blue monster: Cookie Monster.
Those who grew up watching Sesame Street remember Cookie Monster with great fondness. His bit of scarfing down cookies with the greatest of speed and intensity never got old; I laughed every time. I remember running around my house singing “C is for Cookie. That’s good enough for me!”
But staring in 2003, in response to issues with childhood obesity and unhealthy eating habits, Cookie Monster gradually started changing his tune about his love and devotion to the chocolate chip goodness.
Cookie Monster now spouts ridiculous phrases like “Cookies are a sometimes food” but “fruits and veggies are an anytime food.” He even went as far as to say “monsters can’t eat only cookies and be healthy.” Sesame Street changed Cookie Monster’s Web profile to lists his “likes” as eating fruits and vegetables before it lists cookies. This has gone too far!
Six years later, this change to our beloved monster is still causing issues with the public. I just recently learned about this Muppet travesty from my 4-year-old niece and I was shocked. Today, there are online protests such as the “Save Cookie Monster” petition started in 2005 (I became the 3,922 person to sign it) and the 2009 “Cookie Monster Campaign”, all demanding Cookie Monster be brought back to his original, sugary goodness. There is even a Facebook page that made August 1st “Cookie Monster Protest” day.
Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but as a kid I never stuffed my face with an entire sleeve of Oreos just because Cookie Monster did it. And while there is a problem with childhood obesity in the United States, I don’t think we can blame it on one furry, blue monster.
Sesame Street is a show aimed at toddlers and preschoolers. These are kids who aren’t old enough to make dinner decisions. They don’t understand the idea of eating healthy and they don’t know how to read nutrition facts. That’s what parents are for.
I do understand we live in a world obsessed with image and being politically correct. Should we watch the messages we send to kids? Sure. Should we all try to live healthy lives? Absolutely. But there was no need to mess with the Cookie Monster. It’s bad enough people find Ernie and Bert offensive and controversial, insinuating they are a gay couple and they need to be removed from the show. Let’s all remember this is a kids’ show. Kids don’t read that much into the relationship or living situation of two puppets. These Muppets have been around for 40 years. There was never a problem before, so why are we having issues now? Why do they have to mess with a good thing?
Kids watch the show because it’s entertaining and parents let them watch it because they can learn something. If a parent finds Bert and Ernie offensive or worries that their child will get fat watching Cookie Monster, change the channel or just turn the TV off. Don’t ruin it for the rest of us. Bring back the cookies that made him the “Cookie Monster” in the first place. Because, let’s face it, “Veggie Monster” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.