Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster is known for being crazy about eating chocolate chip cookies. In fact, he devourers so many of them so fast that crumbs fly everywhere and often end up all over him. His theme song, which included the lyrics “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me,” is one of the most memorable tunes from the show. As Sesame Street kicks off its 35th season on PBS this month, the Cookie Monster will now only occasionally be singing a new tune, “A cookie is a sometimes food.”
In an effort to promote healthy eating habits, along with the usual academics, PBS has changed the Cookie Monster’s tune in an effort to demote child obesity.
The show’s vice president of research and education, Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio, spoke with MSNBC’s Chelsea Carter and explained that Cookie Monster will still guzzle “the occasional object” and cookies, just healthier ones.
“We are not putting him on a diet,” Truglio told Carter. “And we would never take the position of no sugar. We’re teaching him moderation.”
Howard students who grew up watching the show, have mixed reviews on the new approach.
“Fatty snacks did not come out yesterday and it comes down to the fact that Americans are raising lazy, inactive children who often mimic the sedentary lives of their parents,” said Howard senior Radio, Television and Film student Aura Harewood.
“The parent has the ultimate role in their kids being obese because they choose to buy and let their kids eat all this junk. In this computer age, parents let these electronic babysitters entertain their kids instead of encouraging them to go out and be active. It shouldn’t have to be Sesame Street’s responsibility to teach children about food and fitness.”
Still others think it is a good idea.
“Kudos to Sesame Street for making an attempt to rectify the situation, even if it arguably isn’t the root of the problem. Advertising creates an atmosphere of permissiveness and right now people aren’t paying attention to the costs of their children getting addicted to sugared, high fat processed foods,” said Howard senior advertising student Stephanie Holland.
“Sesame Street has been at the forefront of children’s issues for years and it points to their commitment to want to raise a flag on skyrocketing obesity rates, even if it’s just one little ole monster.”
Other regulars on the show, like Elmo and Big Bird, will be stressing the importance of healthy physical and emotional stability as well. The show also plans to introduce new characters like talking eggplants and carrots, and feature guest stars like Alicia Keys and Hillary Clinton to promote the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
This begs the question what other habits of other characters and issues will come into question. Should Oscar the Grouch be practicing better hygiene since he lives in a trash can? Is Snufalufagus going to go on a healthy diet? Is Elmo going to abandon his speech impediment for grammatical correctness? Perhaps most recently controversial, are Bert and Ernie going to stop taking baths together as to not give an impression of homosexuality? But most importantly, is Cookie Monster really a cookie monster anymore if he’s eating in moderation?