Cookie Monster Arrested by PC Police

Sesame Street’s famed Cookie Monster is giving up the sweets and promoting healthy eating. Jim Henson must be rolling in his grave.

Health Bug Bites Cookie Monster (AP)

Something must be wrong in the land of Muppets. First PBS announced that “Sesame Street” would kick off its 35th season this week with a multiyear story arc about healthy habits. No problem there; childhood obesity rates are soaring. Then I learned of changes that turned my “Sesame Street” world upside-down.

My beloved blue, furry monster – who sang “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me” – is now advocating eating healthy. There’s even a new song – “A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food,” where Cookie Monster learns there are “anytime” foods and “sometimes” foods. “Sacrilege!” I cried. “That’s akin to Oscar the Grouch being nice and clean.” (Co-workers gave me strange looks. But I didn’t care.)

Being a journalist, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I investigated why “Sesame Street” gave Cookie Monster a health makeover. The answer would lead me into a world where television producers worked with health experts and politicians, a place where Cookie Monster does care about his health, and by association, the health of children.

[…]

[Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio, the show’s vice president of research and education] said the show changes every year, focusing not just on teaching numbers and letters but also emotional and physical health. With the rise in childhood obesity, Truglio said “Sesame Street” is concentrating on the need to teach children about healthy foods and physical activity. This season, each episode opens with a “health tip” about nutrition, exercise, hygiene and rest.
Truglio said “Sesame Street” also will introduce new characters, such as talking eggplants and carrots, and offer parodies, such as “American Fruit Stand.” Even guest stars will address healthy activities, such as Alicia Keys talking and singing about the importance of physical activity.

Even politicians have gotten into the act, filming public service announcements with “Sesame Street” residents. In one taping, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist taught Elmo to exercise – jumping up and down. In another, Sen. Hillary Clinton and the small red monster discuss the various textures and tastes of foods.

Somehow, I just knew she was involved.

Robert Paul Reyes adds,

The “Cookie Monster” has been emasculated. The formerly fearsome monster is now a wimpy shill for healthy eating. His “C is for cookie” song has been replaced with a new song — “A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food.” God, what is the world coming to? That’s like Lil’ Kim singing, “I’m a sometimes slut.”

Quite right. Couldn’t Hillary eat an apple while Cookie Monster ate chocolate chips and children given a choice as to which would be the better role model?

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Health, Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. bryan says:

    At least they haven’t banned cookies and dragged him before a congressional committee.

  2. “C” Is For … Carrot???

  3. Cookie Monster cleaning up his act
    Say it ain’t so, Cookie Mon!

    James Joyner notes the new, clean Cookie Monster’s emphasis on healthy eating. Of course, we’ve all known for a while that the Cookie Monster was juiced. There were rumors about others on Sesame Street (known as “The…

  4. Couldn’t Hillary eat an apple while Cookie Monster ate chocolate chips and children given a choice as to which would be the better role model?

    Interesting; are you suggesting Monster in ’08?

  5. bryan says:

    I’d vote monster.

  6. Jay says:

    We decided before Sadie was even born that she is not going to watch any of the post-PC Sesame Streets. This is just the icing on the sometimes food.

  7. Cookie Monster caves
    OK, it’s not exactly the most important story of the week but people sure have strong opinions about the news that Cookie Monster’s will cut back on his namesake treats. Even the most vocal critics seem to agree that skyrocketing…

  8. Damian says:

    I’d vote Monster in ’08 long before I’d vote for Clinton, (esp. if he runs on the Libertarian ticket!!)

  9. Cookie Monster says:

    I FIX COUNTRY! I EAT COOKIE!

  10. Udaman says:

    Typical one-sided Hilary bashing. Sen. Bill Frist said, “Even Cookie Monster is learning to control his cookie cravings. His sage advice opened our eyes to the simple joys of a tasty cookie and now reminds us that moderation is the key to healthy living.” But, as usual, the R’s (and their R-bots) tell only half the truth, leaving out the PC part of their own agenda.

  11. RandyF says:

    I grew up with cookie monster. He was one of my favorite. I guess snufflelugus will be next finding out he has a cocaine problem, and grouch will not be living in a trash can but a recycle bin.

    Well, the next step would have Miss Piggy lose weight at jenny gregs.

    If you want education programming back talk to bush. Since Ronald Ragan was the one that deregulated kids programming.

    Bring back after school specials then maybe then your kids will stop playing x-box and pick up a book instead.

  12. Gay Orbit says:

    “C” Is For Clintonian Character Castration
    The Cookie Monster is officially dead.

    What’s next? Ernie & Bert in separate beds?

  13. Bambi Tuckey says:

    Oh my God! We can go to war. We can starve Terri Schindler Schiavo to death. But let us NOT eat cookies!!! Not eat cookies? Ha! When pigs fly! Cookie Monster, bring on those cookies!
    Note to Miss Piggy; my heroine:
    Keep up the good work!

  14. Kent R. says:

    What about Cookie Monster’s grammer? Me think that might be more harmful to kids than his cookie habit.

  15. Pete F. says:

    L is for lawsuit, that’s good enough for me
    L is for lawsuit, that’s good enough for me
    L is for lawsuit, that’s good enough for me
    Lawsuit, lawsuit, lawsuit starts with L.

  16. manny says:

    … I of about a year ago, had to finally give up cookies… nutterbutters and Pecan Sandies to be exact…I hate diabetes… but COOKIE MONSTER??? In all the craziness and insanity of this world, NOW, in the year 2005(!) they decide it is time to start teaching children to ‘eat healthy’,.. If they want to teach children good eating habits than make regulations on food additives and ready-made foods and fast foods… certainly NOT COOKIES! (they can be made sugarless too ya know!)..,I am sorry, but Cookie Monster is an icon and forever etched in beloved memory munching cookies ’til the cows came home! EAT ON COOKIE MONSTER! EAT ON!

  17. Aesop retooled for the 21st Centery
    In case you haven’t heard, Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster has been given an attitude appetite adjustment. He’s now telling kids that cookies are a “sometimes food” and extolling the virtues of fruits and veggies. The point…

  18. “C” is for “Coverup”
    And AWS has photos of the hearing.

    Classic.

    James Joyner has more on the story.

  19. bryan says:

    So, udaman, is it true that the sense of humor is the first thing to go when you go “L”?

  20. Juan Ortega says:

    Please show your support for Cookie Monster retaining his cookie-eating rights by signing the “Save Cookie Monster” petition:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/cookie12

  21. Tracy Carlock says:

    So they think that Cookie Monster promotes obesity in children??? Hmmmmmm….it couldn’t be all the fast food parents give their children or the fact that they don’t exercise with their children because they just don’t have time!! Parents need to accept responsibility, not blame Cookie Monster…I mean..Come On!!!!!!! Next they’ll be getting rid of Oscar because he promotes a bad attitude, or Miss Piggy because she is a snob and don’t forget Kermit the nudist!