Every household has its dreaded words. For some it's "Dinnertime". For others it's "Your mother is on the phone". In my house, it's two little words, uttered by our 2 year old on a daily basis. Those words, in all of their goose bump inducing, skin crawling glory are "Elmo watch".
Those words seem harmless on the surface. How awful can Elmo really be? After all, Elmo is a furry red monster who encourages children to learn, to ask questions, to explore their imagination, and to just be happy to be a kid. He sings, he draws, he has a pet goldfish named Dorothy. He's even nice to Oscar. Plus, he's got a whole line of products from toothbrushes to books to life size replicas of his furriness. If he were that awful, would the Henson Company really use Elmo as their flagship product?(It was a sad day for me when I realized kids recognize Elmo more than Kermit, but I am a Muppet purist. I digress.) Well, I'm here to tell you something the creators of Sesame Street will not...beneath his cheery, furry red exterior lurks a deep dark secret. Elmo is annoying.
And I'm not talking annoying like Rosie O'Donnell or Paris Hilton. I'm talking annoying like Roseanne's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on replay--permanently. Annoying like a 24 hour channel of campaign ads. Annoying like a case of herpes that just won't go away.
But how can that be, you ask? He's just sooooo cute. No, he's not. Any parent of any child under the age of 5 will tell you that Elmo makes you want to impale your ears so can no longer hear. Elmo makes you want to live in poverty so you don't have to look at another Elmo book or buy another Elmo toy. Elmo makes you want to smash your TV so you can no longer feed into your child's insane and irrational addiction to the world's most annoying puppet.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here is my list of Elmo's Top 5 Annoying Traits:
1. His maniacal cackle that punctuates every sentence. Seriously, why is that necessary? He sounds like he's always hatching an evil plan (which I think he is--and I think it involves not only robbing me of my money, but my sanity as well).
2. His incessant need to ask a baby questions. For those of you who have been spared the horrors of "Elmo's World" (anyone who knows what I'm talking about now has the theme song stuck in his/her head. If I have to suffer, so do you), let me explain. Each version of Elmo's World has a theme (let's use horses to illustrate my point). Elmo will ask a baby "Baby, how do you act like a horse?" (Horse of course can be substituted with frog, ball, hair, whatever). The camera will then cut to a shot of a baby sitting there like a lump (as babies are good at), of course not answering the question, and then cut back to Elmo unleashing one of his horrifying giggles. It's just so pathetic to watch. You'd think Elmo would be a little more clever than to ask a baby questions.
3. His inability to pick a different tune for his song that concludes each edition of "Elmo's World". Seriously, does every song have to sound like Jingle Bells (again to illustrate, use the word horse and only the word horse and sing it to the tune of Jingle Bells)? Elmo has now ruined a Christmastime classic. Thanks, you furry piece of s*%#.
4. His voice. Good G-d, that voice. His voice alone makes me wish I had the ability to put my hearing on a dimmer switch.
5. His overwhelming need to refer to himself in the third person. Not only is it super arrogant but I can't imagine that it's teaching children proper English. So now, our kids will not only write papers that include texting abbreviations and smiley face icons instead of words, there's going to be a whole generation of kids referring to themselves in the third person. Super. So now I have to fear that our future leaders will attend Global Summits on the economy, famine, and AIDS and will communicate to each other like this: my daughter, "President Lynch said u r so right", to which the reply will be her British counterpart,"Prime Minister Smith says ." And all thanks to Elmo. Little bastard.
So there you have it. Elmo has been exposed for what he really is--an irritating, third-person speaking, ear-drum shattering fuzz bucket. I know that it's like finding out that there's no Santa or Easter Bunny, but the whistle had to be blown. For parents, and the public in general, our sanity must be saved from this putrid creature. And the next time you see a frazzled-looking, half-deaf, caffeine-consuming parent, have a little sympathy. She may have just, in a fit of rage, beheaded her child's Tickle Me Elmo and is desperately looking for another one. Because the only thing more annoying than Elmo is a whining child.
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