Sunday, May 2, 2010

Someone Call the BBB

Dear Elmo and Sesame Street staff,

Bait and switch. Very simply, it was a bait and switch tactic. And a very cruel bait and switch.

No, I didn't buy an inferior model of a car, refrigerator, or any other physical item. This bait and switch only cost me my childlike joy.

Anyone who has read these posts know of my dislike for what Sesame Street has been doing lately (as in the past 15-20 years). And most likely the readers of this site are familiar with the vitriol I have for Elmo in particular.

Those who know me a little better are aware of my fondness for the Muppet named Count von Count. Obviously a vampire based on Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Dracula with some OCD tendencies when it comes to numbers, The Count was one of the best of the Sesame Street cast when I was a child. However, he has been forced into sitting on the sidelines when relative new Muppets, like Elmo, take up the majority of the airtime.

(I am forcing myself to move past this and onto my story. But if you are in the mood for some good-old-fashioned verbal violence, please check out any of my other posts involving Sesame Street or Elmo.)

So, yesterday morning, Sesame Street started at its regularly scheduled time. I barely paid attention to the theme song, because I was certain the opening sketch would be something idiotic involving Little Bear or Abby or Elmo or someone else I can't stand. In fact, I was so uninterested, I was in the kitchen when it happened. I almost dropped my Honey Nut Cheerios all over the kitchen floor when I heard his voice.

Could it be? Could it be that Count von Count was actually on my television? Could it be that he had a leading role in this episode of Sesame Street? I ran back into the living room to find out. Needless to say, I was psyched!

The picture on my screen looked promising. Count von Count was standing next to his Counting Booth. What? You don't have a Counting Booth on your street? Then how do you count the number of thimbles in your pocket? Or the number of hairs in your brush after this morning's manscaping incident?

Ok, so a Counting Booth is a little thin as a plot device, but I was willing to accept it for the greater good - namely, Count von Count doing what he does best! I allowed myself to become interested. I allowed myself to become intrigued.

That intrigue continued as The Count announced that he had to leave the Counting Booth in someone's hands for a little while when he attended to a "counting emergency!" A counting emergency?! Now this could get exciting. Perhaps he will need the assistance of another long-lost favorite on the Street, SuperGrover. But what needed to be counted so desperately that it constituted an emergency? I was being interested. I was beyond intrigued. I was 4 years old again, watching and anticipating what Count von Count would do next!

Then it happened.

Elmo walked onto up with Abby. And they took over The Count's booth when The Count disappeared off screen. We never found out what the counting emergency was. We never got to see The Count actually, you know, COUNT anything. But we did get to see Elmo and Abby screw up counting pigs, chickens, and other things to the point where The Count's booth was on the verge of failure. Only through the intercession of Maria was the counting able to continue correctly.

(By the way, The Count asked Maria to watch his booth first and she said she was too busy. You see, The Count is smart and wanted someone who could count to watch his booth. But Maria couldn't be bothered. Yet, when Elmo and Abby needed help, Maria swooped in to assist. I can only think of two reasons for this action by Maria. A) Maria is part of the vast conspiracy to rid Sesame Street of its original residents, displaying a very blatant ageism against Muppets. Or B) Maria is a little sick in the head and attempting Munchausen by proxy on The Count's business. I would hope neither is the case, as I have always thought Maria is a decent person, but how else would you explain it?)

Finally, The Count returns and we are rescued from this torture. And the sketch ends. That's it. The Count was in the sketch for approximately 18 seconds. Elmo and Abby were in the sketch for approximately 1080 seconds. Count that, bitches! That is when my heart fell out of the bottom of my stomach and landed somewhere in my small intestine.

If I had an opportunity to ask the writers/directors/producers/heck, I would even ask the caterer a question about this episode, it would be this: Why, if you wanted to do an episode sketch about COUNTING, and you have a Muppet on staff, and that Muppet on staff is a well-respected and long-standing member of your troupe, and that Muppet's only job is to COUNT things, and that Muppet's name is COUNT von COUNT, for crying out loud, then why do you have two 3-year old Muppets (one who believes she is a magical fairy and another who is Satan's henchman) do the counting???????

The sketch would have made more sense if Elmo walked up to The Count, beat him with a baseball bat and then destroyed the booth. Afterward, he could have pulled out a Glock and shot my childhood through the brain. That would have been less painful.

Thanks, Elmo. Thank you for ruining another day and disrespecting a wise, old Muppet.


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