Blatant Insubordination: Puppet Sex
1. Gay Puppets
The internet got into a little debate this week about whether the folks at Sesame Street should have Bert and Ernie get married. There was an online petition, a Facebook movement, and it got so big that Sesame Street actually gave a formal response, which I thought was hilarious. The statement was something to the effect of: “They’re puppets. Get a life, you morons.” A blogger over at NewsFromMe.com wrote about the story with a BRILLIANT headline: “The Puppetry of the Penis.”
But of course, I’ve got no room to say anything bad about people who want Bert and Ernie to be gay, because last week I was saying how great it was that Ultimate Spider-Man is now a blacktino. It all comes down to the same thing: Pop culture characters being retrofitted to fit the image of a changing world. And in the grand scheme of things, how much better is a comic book character than a puppet?
One of the suggestions I kept seeing during the both the Spider-Man and Sesame Street debates is: “Why don’t you just create NEW characters that are black, or Hispanic, or gay? Why do you have to change a pop cultural staple?” But you almost NEED to do that sort of thing. If you create a character specifically for the purpose of making him black or gay, then all you have is a token black or a token gay character. Yes, you can give him/her important things to do, but that doesn’t change the fact that they were added to the mix just to be black or gay. But if you change a Spider-Man, or a Bert and Ernie, to an extent that says: “We recognize that the world isn’t the way it was when this character was created. But now that it HAS changed, this important character is going to change in order to reflect the importance of the way society has evolved.”
In contrast, you can make the argument that changing a key character like that is simply another way of pandering for new audience members. In a sense you lose either way.
It’s all irrelevant, though. Anyone who actually thinks Sesame Street is going to make Bert and Ernie gay has a screw loose. This is the company that caved when a bunch of professional mommies complained about Katy Perry’s cleavage (the fact that Katy Perry couldn’t be bothered to clean it up a bit for a kid’s show is another story).
In any event, I’m glad Bert and Ernie aren’t getting married, or dating, or being single for that matter. Kids don’t need to learn about people’s sexual orientations from Sesame Street. That’s what the damn internet is for.
2. Elmo Is An Asshole
While I’m on the subject, there’s something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a long time: Elmo is an asshole.
Yeah, that’s right Elmo, I’m on to you. You think you’re so hot, with all your merchandise, your television appearances, and the fact that your “Elmo’s World” segment takes up nearly half the show (and that’s AFTER he’s likely been featured in the first segment). But you know what, Elmo? You’ve totally forgotten where you came from, and who got you to where you are. You were around when I was a kid. But you weren’t drawing the viewers. You know who was? Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Grover, Cookie Monster, and the rest of the crew that has now been relegated to second string status while you take up all the TV time. Heck, even The Count is lucky if he gets one….two….three! Three minutes of screen time! Ah ah ah!
You’d think someone who came up on the Street would know about sharing.
3. Jolly Rancher Corps
I bought not one, but two action figures last week. The first, was my totally awesome Zack Ryder action figure. The second was one was on sale at one of the comic shops I frequent. It was the Kingdom Come version of The Flash. You know, the one that’s all red and has the Mercury helmet? That one.
So I get up to the counter, and the guy working there says: “You’re gettin’ candy Flash!” I guess it’s an inside joke at that store that Kingdom Come Flash looks like a cherry Jolly Rancher or something. They have a similar bit for Lex Luthor when he’s in his Orange Lantern armor from Blackest Night. Candy Luthor! I made some kind of comment about how the various Lantern Corps in the DC Universe nowadays are like Jolly Ranchers. Obviously that made no damn sense…unless you’re talking about the lemon-flavored ones.
Like the Yellow Lanterns in DC Comics, lemon Jolly Ranchers very much embody fear. Whenever you reach into a bag of Jolly Ranchers, which one are you always afraid you’re going to pull out at random? Lemon. Why? Because lemon sucks, bro! Put out a big bowl of Jolly Ranchers in a public place, then look at it a day or two later. What do you see? A whole lot of Orange and Lemon. Those were always the flavors nobody wanted. In fact, in a way orange represented greed, just like in the comics. When you pulled an orange, you were always like: “No! This wasn’t the one I wanted! I wanted watermelon/apple/grape/cherry!” Something about Jolly Ranchers and citrus just didn’t mix.
These are the things I think about sometimes.
Image 1 from christianpost.com. Image 2 from muppet.wikia.com. Image 3 from fanpop.com. Image 4 from titanstower.com.