Cookie Monster’s Great Change

Eli H.

Staff Writer

On November 10, 1969, the first Sesame Street episode aired. The original characters of the show were Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Fat Blue, Fuzzy-Face, Kermit the Frog, Lefty the Salesman, Little Bird, Lulu, Mr. Otis, Oscar the Grouch (orange fur), and Sam Hastings.  Since the beginning of this show, the Muppet named Cookie Monster has been greatly loved by children of all ages.  However, the producers of Sesame Street have begun to focus on showing more healthy images for children, causing the famous Muppet to have an epiphany of sorts with his eating habits: switching from just eating cookies to also eating (and enjoying) fruit and vegetables. Along with Cookie Monster’s sudden change, the producers are adding of a new monster to the show named “Veggie Monster,” a green look-alike of Cookie Monster who only eats fruits and vegetables as opposed to Cookie Monster’s diet of cookies. The new monster has caused a disturbance in the Sesame Street world.

While some parents may support the change in the furry puppet’s diet, many teenagers who grew up with Sesame Street are agitated and angry with this change in Cookie Monster’s diet, as they feel that children are old enough to be able to understand what they are eating. “As we age, we become more aware of what we are putting into a body…The word ‘cookie’ is even in his name for crying out loud!” says freshman Josh Lemacks. While producers hope that changing the monster’s diet may have a positive effect on the childhood obesity problem, they have not taken into account that this character change may only have a teCookie Monster 2 EHmporary effect. “Though childhood obesity is an American problem, changing one single character’s diet of cookies is not to change much,” says Lemacks. Another problem the network must consider is that many children may not like the change in the beloved monster, which could cause a lack of interest in the show, causing the viewer ratings to plummet.

Veggie Monster is a green replica of the world-renowned Cookie Monster; this Muppet is designed to encourage the young viewers to eat healthier instead of the selecting the easily available unhealthy choices. Tyler Severino, a sophomore here at WHS, says, “I just think it would be better if it wasn’t just a Cookie Monster remake. It’s like Batman: You just don’t see a villain named ‘Birdman.’ Creativity is key if you want to develop new characters. Veggie Monster is just a green remake of Cookie Monster with a flipped diet.” While fruits and vegetables can be quite delicious, they are not an all-time favorite of many. People often look to cookies, soups and fries as their comfort food, not raw vegetables and fruit. The ingredients in some foods, such as chocolate chips, provide a feeling of love and happiness. Vegetables just do not have the same power to affect people’s moods.

As commonly believed, as people grow older, they are more knowledgeable of what is being put into their bodies; instead of shoving the child into eating healthy foods, producers shoulder gently begin to nudge and introduce healthy living into their corporation, as Disney Channel did with their short “Pass the Plate.” With “Pass the Plate,” Disney slowly began to nudge the short more and more to replace commercials, not completely shoving healthy eating, but instead slowly suggesting a more appetizing way to enjoy the healthy lifestyle. For example, in one episode of “Pass the Plate,” the star of the show, Brenda Song, had been shopping at her local produce market when she stumbled upon bananas; the bananas are passed through several countries, each with different dishes that include the fruit in some way. In the end, Song is seen buying several bunches of bananas, saying that she is going to experiment with several different dishes. As opposed to Sesame Street, Disney did not create a new character. Instead, Disney producers took Brenda Song, from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and showed a way of healthy eating that appeared to be appetizing. Veggie Monster was created and eats raw vegetables and fruits, which, to many people, is unappetizing.

Cookie Monster has made a large impact on children’s lives, helping them learn letters and numbers, only to now have a green counterpart who basks in the love of all healthy foods. Will Sesame Street’s healthy change decrease childhood obesity, or will it alienate viewers?

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