Extreme Makeover – Kids Edition:

A Cookie is a Sometimes Food? Sesame Street Re-packages its Beloved Cookie Monster

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What is wrong with America these days? Must we be soooooooo PC that even Sesame Street’s beloved blue furry Cookie Monster needs to be harnessed in and white-washed like so much else in our culture (or now lack thereof)? Yes, it is sad but true. When Sesame Street opens its 36th season, Cookie Monster is going to learn some lessons about moderation and will now advocate eating healthy. Get this – his “C is for cookie” song has been replaced with a new song — “A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food.” That’s right, the Muppet who once sang, “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me,” is advocating eating a healthful diet and learns there are “anytime” foods and “sometimes” foods.

According to Rosemarie Truglio, the show’s vice president of research and education, the focus of “Sesame Street” changes every year. This year, the show will focus not just on teaching numbers and letters but also on emotional and physical health. With the rise in childhood obesity, Truglio said “Sesame Street” is concentrating on the need to teach children about healthful foods and physical activity. This season, each episode opens with a “health tip” about nutrition, exercise, hygiene and rest. That will not go very far in my house.

“It’s not a perfect solution. It’s a ‘Sesame’ solution,” admits “Sesame Street” executive producer Lewis Bernstein. “When we sat down to do the new curriculum, we thought, ‘what are we going to do with (Cookie Monster) in health?’ We are aware that children eat cookies. We’ve got a Cookie Monster. He’s not going to become a Carrot Monster. We’re not trying to get children to not eat cookies, but to eat other things, too.”

And, in fairness to Bernstein, Cookie Monster will still get to eat cookies sometimes (remember, they’re a sometimes food), including the Letter of the Day segment where poor Prairie Dawn habitually watches in dismay as Cookie Monster devours both the Letter and the cookie it’s stamped on.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I am all about healthful eating and lifestyles. With childhood obesity rates soaring, something clearly needs to be done with our super-sized nation. Personally, I exercise 4-5 times a week in my own make-shift home gym, a lot of times with my kids present and watching what I am doing. I am careful about what I eat and try to purchase and serve healthy foods. My kids watch what I eat, purchase and serve. What I don’t do is preach to my kids about a healthy lifestyle and that they watch what they eat. Anyone who knows kids knows that is about as effective as putting a steak in front of a dog and asking the dog to not eat it. Kids learn best by the examples we as parents and family set everyday, year after year, as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.

Sesame Street certainly has a great idea about teaching these healthy lifestyle concepts to children and hopefully, the Sesame Street characters will be heard by our kids. But this cannot be the only voice they hear or examples they see. And someone needs to say that to our coach potato nation.

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6 Comments

  1. This shouldn’t be a change made to Sesame Street, but, a change made to the shows ADULTS watch. It isn’t the child that shops for the food, prepares the food, and brings it to the table. It isn’t the child that starts the bad habit of letting the TV be the ‘adult’ in the relationship. Childhood obesity, ruling out medical issues, is an ADULT issue, not a child’s issue.

    Sesame Street can change their ‘menu’ all they want. Until the adults of the children watching the show wake up and smell the coffee (caffeine free, low fat milk, no sugar), sometimes and anytime just don’t matter.

    And, just to throw more fuel onto the fire…the AAP doesn’t reccomend ANY TV watching for kids under 2 years of age.

    Now, ‘scuse me while I finish my doughnut.

  2. When did it come to this? It’s okay to have a blue monster as a role model, but it isn’t okay for the blue monster to eat junk food. In my opinion, part of Cookie Monster’s charm is his inability to control himself when cookies are present.

  3. I don’t get it. Suddenly everyone is on the “fat people – lets get’em” band wagon. There must be a new weight loss program behind this sudden surge. I am moderately overweight and living in California (formerly of North Carolina). Recently a news article in the L.A. times cited that those who were over weight are costing Californians $22 million dollars a year. My employer supplies health benefits – I have yet to utilize them and have never had a problem of any type associated with my weight. Now, should I be concerned that my employer may reconsider such benefits if it “may” cost them more in the future?
    Look – Captain Kangaroo was a portly fellow and he had a long life – well he was Canadian and one must put on a little extra to stay warm. :)

    - Me… I want Cookie!

  4. Cookie Monster caves

    OK, it’s not exactly the most important story of the week but people sure have strong opinions about the news that Cookie Monster’s will cut back on his namesake treats. Even the most vocal critics seem to agree that skyrocketing…

  5. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS ON SESAME STREET

    It is time for the Cookie Monster on Sesame Street to change his name… How about “fruitcake”? My suggestion is that you cool down your nerves by visiting the Patent Baristas. Drink a strong cup of espresso and read Karlyn Schnapp’s post, A Cookie i…

  6. Sign the online petition to save Cookie Monster!

    http://www.petitiononline.com/cookie12