Friday, October 28, 2011

Brian O'Rourke as Harold Bloom on The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland

My feelings about the Sesame Street film, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, are a matter of public record but after some further discussion with my wife and another three hundred or so viewings with my daughter, I don't think I gave this film the analysis it truly deserves.

If Follow That Bird is the Old Testament of the Sesame Street movies, then the Elmo movie certainly represents the New Testament. Oscar the Grouch is clearly the god-like figure in both texts, as he's his grumpy, fickle self in FTB while revealing a kindler, some would say out of left field, gentler side in TAOEIG. Don't believe me?

Big Bird suffers like Job, losing his home, his family and finally his freedom after being forced into servitude by a couple small-time crooked carvinal goons, and yet Oscar can barely be bothered to lift a furry, matted finger to help our feathered friend, who has shown him nothing but kindness and love despite Oscar's constant rebuffing. Compare that crusty attitude to The Grouch's subsequent behavior when he decides to stir the citizens of Grouchland into action so he can help his friend Elmo ... wait for it ... wait for it ... reclaim his stolen blanket. Big Bird can lose everything and be pressed into avian slavery, but Elmo can't lose his precious wubbie.

Something just doesn't add up here. They say that all writing is a product of its time, and perhaps that's true, but something greater has to be at work.

Or as Harold Bloom might say, the screenwriters of the Sesame Street films could not escape the anxiety of influence ....

You're probably thinking Brian has finally lost it. And I have if I'm speaking in the third person. But all you planning to become parents should take heed. You will watch the same shows and movies so many times that you'll start to see deeper messages buried within the most trivial things. I watch the Wiggles everyday and I'm almost convinced they're part of some Masonic conspiracy.

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