I hate Elmo.
He yells and he refers to himself in the third person and he enunciation and grammar are terrible.
Joe feels the same way and we were determined that our daughter would be a Grover lover. She would know the ways of Bert and Ernie. She would be raised on classic Sesame Street. When she was old enough I put her to be with a stuffed Grover, and she also has a stuffed Snuffy. We have the classic DVDs, we have a Bert and Ernie album.
(We may have owned some of this stuff before we knew we were having a baby… Okay all).
There would be no Elmo in our house. There would be Grover and Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, Kermit, Telly and Harry, Oscar the Grouch. No Elmo.
So someone tell me why one of my daughter’s first words was Elmo. Why she gets up on our laps and points to our laptops and says Elmo, asking for videos. Why does my daughter have the ability to see Elmo whenever he’s around her? (We approach the children’s section at Chapters, Elmo, we walk through Zellers, Elmo.
Clearly Elmo was sent here from some sort of other world to draw our children in.
Okay, actually, I read Street Gang, and Elmo was designed because research showed the Children’s Television Network people that their audience was getting younger and needed someone to relate to. Around the same time Kevin Clash picked up this read Muppet that had been around for years (you can see him as a secondary character in Follow That Bird which is the first movie I remember ever seeing when I was a kid) and created this personality that became the centre of the Sesame Street universe.
My daughter loves Elmo, and I might not be able to understand why, but I’m accepting it. She has other influences and she’ll learn that it’s not okay to yell, or refer to yourself in the third person, and she’ll have good grammar. I’m going to try and get Being Elmo from the library to learn a bit more about Kevin Clash and his character in the hopes that I will stop hating that my daughter loves Elmo.
But I will always, always, be on Grover’s side.