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A TBTS Good Idea™: Elmo Should Teach Emo

August 21, 2009

Two months ago, my estimable tweed-clad colleagues kindly awarded me the official elbow patch of Brown Tweed Society membership. They believed in my ability to offer relatively insightful analysis of media trends and products, and I am grateful for their faith.

I have since tried to use my forum wisely and, once in a while, even put forth solutions for vexing problems in the entertainment world. How can Seth Rogen and the Entourage cast bury the hatchet? How might the Pope reach the most desirable music-buying demographics? How should Sesame Street upgrade the fading Elmo brand?

If I may say so, I think my proposals would have put those babies to bed. Still could. But I’ve yet to see the desired results, and I’m starting to think my problem is one of branding. So, from now on, I will no longer merely offer good ideas here at TBTS. From now on, it’s nothing but Good Ideas™. That’s right, friends—I got me some capital fuckin’ letters.

My first Good Idea™ is actually in response to a great idea soon to be put into action by, uh, Sesame Street. Before I go on, I’ll state for the record that this additional piece about Sesame Street does NOT imply that I have an Elmo fixation or fetish, nor should you infer as such. I prefer to wiggle my fingers elsewhere, thank you. Sesame Street’s just doing interesting things worth writing about lately, OK?

Having cleared that up, I’m happy to inform you that Sesame Street will be performing an important public service on September 9, 2009. In a prime-time special, Elmo and the gang will talk directly to young children about how to cope when a parent loses a job and the family faces economic hardship. What a wonderful use of our airwaves (can we have more of this and less Jim Cramer, please?) and what perfect testimony to the ongoing vitality and necessity of public television.

That said, I think Sesame Street is leaving out an important group—what about the scions of the wealthy and powerful? The New York Times reported this week that these children and their poor, poor, rich parents are suffering too, and they’re having to make painful budget cuts and lifestyle choices.

It’s really quite terrible in some cases. Three nannies instead of four. Only a small team of personal chefs instead of a full kitchen staff working in shifts. Having only enough money to hire Sanjaya as the entertainment at your little princess’s 6th birthday party after she begged you for weeks to get Kris Allen. Having to force Sanjaya to do double duty as the piñata when the original truffle-filled party accessory proved too expensive to create and deliver. Only being able to go halfsies on Sanjaya’s hospital bills after your little angels beat the snot out of him, thinking candy would come out eventually.

Yes, Elmo needs to reach out to these kids too, and it’s pretty obvious what the content should be. It’s likely that about half these kids would have gone on to form emo bands anyway, even before their current deprivations. Now, with so many of today’s rich kids being denied platinum jewelry, Lexus SUVs, and surround-sound in their ski closets, there’s going to be a lot more competition among emo bands here in about 5 – 7 years. Sesame Street should devote at least an hour to giving the attentive among them a leg up.

That’s right: Elmo should teach emo. Really, it’s hard to know where best to start, but I think the agenda for Episode 1 should go something like this. Kick off the episode with a lesson on How to Achieve the Just-out-of-Bed Hairstyle in Two Hours or Less, followed by Intro to Guy-liner, and wrap it up with a seminar called You’re Right, NOBODY Understands Your Pain.

God, though, there are still so many fashion tips and so much self-indulgent psychodrama to cover. I’m thinking a six-episode miniseries may actually be necessary. With that expanded run, there may be enough time at the end of Episode 6 for a two-minute overview of the basics of rock guitar and vocals.

So that’s my Good Idea™. Your move, PBS.

  1. August 22, 2009 10:47 am

    Congrats on the elbow patch. Well deserved. Good article. They should have put S in a coma (temporary of course).


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