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16 seconds is the moment
January 27, 2011 5:18 AM   Subscribe


 
Let me be the first to go, *squeeeeee!*
posted by cmyk at 5:26 AM on January 27, 2011


This appears to be from a screening of Being Elmo.

I get that it's a cute moment but this could have been a great post with links to the documentary and maybe even some commentary on Elmo's power over kids. It took me 2 mouse clicks to find a review of the documentary that describes the puppeteer behind Elmo's philosophy of why Elmo is so powerful: Elmo is Love.
posted by photoslob at 5:31 AM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


but this could have been a great post

Always rephrase this to "hey, great post, here's some more stuff I found about the same topic."
posted by Space Coyote at 5:33 AM on January 27, 2011 [31 favorites]


Sorry, photoslob. I did consider adding to the post, but chose not to. Possibly the wrong decision.
posted by sleepcrime at 5:38 AM on January 27, 2011


This post is fine just like it is.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:39 AM on January 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I received some bad baby related news last night. That was wonderful, if not necessarily best of the web. Thank you.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 5:40 AM on January 27, 2011


Elmo is Love.

Similarly:

Grover is Bravery
Ernie and Bert are Friendship
Big Bird is Innocence
Oscar the Grouch is Independence
Fozzie is Fortitude
Gonzo is Joy
Kermit is Responsibility
Miss Piggy is Determination
Rowlf is Wisdom

and of course the Count is Counting.
posted by mightygodking at 5:42 AM on January 27, 2011 [151 favorites]


Dr. Teeth is Rock and Roll
Statler and Waldorf are Nostalgia
Bunsen Honeydew is SCIENCE!
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:55 AM on January 27, 2011 [40 favorites]


Always rephrase this to "hey, great post, here's some more stuff I found about the same topic."

Sorry if anyone steps in my thread poop. Just seems this could have been so much more than a sylt.
posted by photoslob at 5:55 AM on January 27, 2011


If Sesame Street has taught me anything, photoslob, it's that quite often, simplest is best.
posted by Mizu at 5:57 AM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've never liked Elmo until just about 30 seconds ago. I'd always felt like he'd kind of usurped the role that Grover used to play , but without all of the wisdom that Grover carried deep inside (Grover taught me things, important things).

But yeah, that was awesome, and I think I like Elmo a little more now.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:01 AM on January 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


Nothing us better than sylt. I freakin' love sylt.

What the hell is sylt!?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:01 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


single yink Lou Tube. You see the name Lou on the bar? And so on.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:02 AM on January 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


I don't want this to me "so much more" than Elmo hugging a pregnant lady and a whole room going "awwwwwww". Adding more links dilutes the awesome.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:04 AM on January 27, 2011


I'm guessing this is an American thing as I really didn't get it O_o
posted by Large_Pudding at 6:04 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seeing as how Sesame Street is shown in 100+ countries, I was very surprised to see that it's not popular in the UK, of all things.

Apparently, "...the BBC rejected it because of its "authoritarian aims" in trying to change children's behaviour.... Today, its presence in the UK is limited to Sesame Tree on BBC Northern Ireland, which was launched last year by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, plus Five's Sesame spin-offs Elmo's World and Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures."
posted by lesli212 at 6:11 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the hell is sylt!?

It's Swedish deliciousness, and good on toast.
posted by cmyk at 6:14 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing this is an American thing as I really didn't get it O_o

No its a human thing which leaves me wondering, what are you anyway?
posted by Sailormom at 6:16 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


This appears to be from a screening of Being Elmo.

It is ... and from this past Sunday's showing at Sundance. Here's a Q&A from after the screening.

Some reviews from Sundance: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5.

The documentary's Facebook page and a clip.
posted by ericb at 6:20 AM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Interview [video | 02:40] with the makers of the documentary.
posted by ericb at 6:24 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was shown in the UK from 1971-2001 - I remember seeing it as a kid - although it hasn't been on since. (The Muppet Show was produced in the UK and sold to US networks, though, so we keep our Muppet cred.)
posted by Catseye at 6:25 AM on January 27, 2011


Sesame Street was enormously popular in England when I was a child. All the Spanish I know I learnt from Sesame Street.

Water - "AGUA" - Water.

But I suppose nothing can compete with the strange and wonderful world of the Teletubbies.
posted by Major Tom at 6:25 AM on January 27, 2011


I don't know, I think the Teletubbies are old news now. Today's self-respecting toddlers are all watching In the Night Garden.
posted by Catseye at 6:35 AM on January 27, 2011


Sigh. All my life I've wanted to hug a muppet. It is pretty much the top item on my bucket list, much as I dislike the term "bucket list."
posted by pinky at 6:35 AM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm guessing this is an American thing as I really didn't get it

It's a long-standing tradition here in America to have the fetus examined by a muppet, didn't you know? The muppet can use its magical x-ray googly eyes to check for developmental problems, and its warm pelt is soothing to the expectant mother's fragile constitution.
posted by ook at 6:35 AM on January 27, 2011 [20 favorites]


What I've always loved about the Muppets is the concept that in all their shows/movies they are not a separate universe, but simply live as another sentient form amongst humans and everyone's just fine with that. Usually in fantasy settings other creatures are enemies or there's a whole story about how they are separate races and must unify, etc. That's not the case with Muppets. There is no LOTR-style epic backstory about how humans and Muppets came to exist peacefully. There is no strife, no racism, no Toontown, no class struggle. Muppets just are. That's rare and awesome.

But I think that's also why the most wonderful part of them is how in "real life" when they show up, instinct kicks in and anyone with any semblance of a soul goes with it. I mean look at this particular video. I think my favorite part of it all is how this woman clearly watched a dude shove his hand into a puppet, and literally seventeen seconds later she is hugging and kissing, for all intents and purposes, his arm. Because there is absolutely no argument. Elmo becomes real at 0:14. And that is beautiful.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:47 AM on January 27, 2011 [55 favorites]


Muppets just are. That's rare and awesome.

Exactly.

My husband tells a good story about when Jeff Marx and Bobby Lopez were writing Avenue Q at the BMI Workshop. For one of the song presentations, in class, they brought in Kermit as their singer. He says when they took Kermit out, you could have heard a pin drop in the room, and that after the song was done, the room exploded in applause. This class was used to seeing musical theatre celebrities perform all the time, but they had more respect for Kermit than anyone else.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:50 AM on January 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


For clarification: Sesame Street was produced and filmed in the U.S. by the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop). Since 1972 there have been numerous international co-productions.

Indeed, The Muppet Show was produced at the ATV studios in Elstree, England after the station's head, Lew Grade offered Jim Henson an enticing deal. It was shown on other ITV stations in the U.K. and was distributed to the U.S. by ITC Entertainment.

The there's also Jim Henson's Creature Shop and The Jim Henson Company* (now owned by Disney).

* -- The Jim Henson Company has been a past client and is staffed by some of the nicest, smartest people in the entertainment business.
posted by ericb at 6:56 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kevin Clash is awesome. I'm a pretty hardcore Muppet fan from way, way back, and for years I hated - HATED - Elmo and the way he did seem to sort of usurp the airtime that other, older Muppets had on SS. But the more I learned about Clash, the more I came to love and appreciate Elmo. And Clash, for the leadership role he's taken as a Muppeteer, as the folks of the Henson/Oz generation have died or retired and it became necessary for someone new to assume a leadership role.

I'm struck to, how, in the video, the woman hugs Elmo and interacts with him directly, despite the fact she knows he's being operated by the man crouching at her feet. This is both a testament to the cultural power of the Muppets and to Clash as a performer. Not everyone can master this skill, of somehow channeling your entire being into your right hand.

Thanks for this post, and for making me aware of the documentary, which I'll add to my "don't miss" list.
posted by anastasiav at 7:05 AM on January 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


I miss Grover too. I hope he turns out to be at the end of the thread.
posted by Jilder at 7:08 AM on January 27, 2011 [43 favorites]


Not everyone can master this skill, of somehow channeling your entire being into your right hand.

Particularly for men, who spend so much time pretending their hand is someone else.
posted by srboisvert at 7:21 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


the first nightmare I had that I can remember, I must've been a toddler of some sort, was when the muppets came to visit me to tell me that I was a bad girl.

So this heals some childhood trauma for me, is what I'm saying.
posted by angrycat at 7:21 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm old enough to have been into the Muppets and Sesame Street pre Elmo and when I heard about his 'Elmo' character I thought it was just another example of people disresepcting my beautifully manicured lawn.

Then I had kids and got to watch them watch Elmo and all is forgiven.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:40 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Grover's got his own side-project these days, Supergrover 2.0, where he teaches kids about science and engineering, without mentioning science or engineering even once - he's all into observation, questioning, and experimenting with different solutions, which generally turn out to be one of the classical simple machines. It's pretty clever, and also teaches kids to use their own judgement rather than wait for an authority (like a superhero) to figure it out for them. It makes the Elmo segment at the end more palatable.

I also really like the new human castmembers, Chris and Leela... there's a sense of continuity and community seing these new faces fit in so well alongside the original cast I remembered from when I was a kid. I wish CTW would provide full episodes to Hulu, tho... we're dumping the cable box at the end of the month.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:41 AM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love the interaction with the kid in this one, and the slightly weird racial undertones I didn't expect from an interview with Elmo.
posted by willnot at 8:02 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh. Never a big Elmo fan. For me, the magic of the muppets is encapsulated here.
posted by availablelight at 8:08 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Statler and Waldorf are Nostalgia

No way, man.

Statler and Waldorf are Snark.

Also:

Scooter is Consistency
The Swedish Chef is Entropy
Sam the Eagle is Truth (and/or Truthiness)
posted by gompa at 8:10 AM on January 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


(Grover taught me things, important things)

NEAR

far
posted by solotoro at 8:15 AM on January 27, 2011 [46 favorites]


I was very surprised to see that it's not popular in the UK, of all things.

When I was growing up it was popular over here. Channel 4 ran it every day at lunchtime. I don't think anyone shows it here anymore, but then most kids TV is utterly shameful now.
posted by opsin at 8:19 AM on January 27, 2011


When I read this post, Grover really *was* the monster at the end of this thread!
posted by ChuraChura at 8:20 AM on January 27, 2011


(although he wouldn't have been if I'd previewed)
posted by ChuraChura at 8:21 AM on January 27, 2011


What the hell is sylt!?

It's the styff you fynd at the bottym of ryvers.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:21 AM on January 27, 2011 [5 favorites]




Also, it's nice to see all this love for Grover, seeing as I was named after him.

OK, after my US born great grandfather, who was named after Grover Cleveland, but Grover was my favourite muppet so naturally I rolled with that backstory.
posted by opsin at 8:28 AM on January 27, 2011


G-dDAMN are we hard-wired to love Muppets.
posted by oneironaut at 8:29 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


These are the no-go areas

Previous FPP about that clip: 'A Muppet and a fat guy.'
posted by ericb at 8:35 AM on January 27, 2011


It's just a Muppet, so why is there a lump in my throat?

Funny related story: We got a Tickle Me Elmo hand-me-down from my parents and I removed the "tickling unit" from the toy before giving it to my two year old boy (since we already have far too many noisy toys). He had never seen Sesame Street before (we don't have a TV) but immediately this stuffed Elmo toy became his constant companion.

So one day I showed him a YouTube video of Elmo singing the "Elmo Song" and the kid is hooked. He LOVES Elmo. He's not allowed to sleep with the toy, but every night before bed he puts Elmo on top of the toy chest and tucks him in and gives him a kiss on the nose. It's so cute it just slays me.

The world needs more Muppets.
posted by jnrussell at 8:47 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Elmo showed great restraint by not screaming after he said he could see the baby. As a joke, I mean.
posted by orme at 8:54 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll pile on to the Kevin Clash fanclub. I know a handful of people who have worked with him, and they *always* go out of their way to talk about how much fun it was to work with the Muppets, CTW, and specifically how much of a nice guy Kevin Clash is.

You don't hear things like that very often (or really *ever*) in the television industry. Working with the Muppets is a coveted and transformative experience.
posted by schmod at 9:01 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm blocked from YT on the only computer I have access to, but I have always loved the Muppets & the awesome amount of Muppet love & happiness in your posts have made me all teary-eyed! (& this is so unlike me.)
posted by PepperMax at 9:09 AM on January 27, 2011


Mr. Snuffleupagus was child molestation. But now he's not anymore.
posted by The Bellman at 9:11 AM on January 27, 2011


I just jumped here from yesterday's thread about the under-representation of minorities in the Oscars, and Hollywood overall.

Elmo is a great example of the fact that, no matter what the color of the Muppet, or the color of the hand up the Muppet's ass, it's the connection to the audience that counts.
posted by Kabanos at 9:20 AM on January 27, 2011


Kevin Clash and Elmo did Not My Job for Wait Wait Don't Tell Me a couple years ago.
posted by Evilspork at 9:21 AM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's just a Muppet, so why is there a lump in my throat?

I'm not going to critique old vs. new Muppets or whether Snuffleupagus was a child molester, though I bet it's as amazing a job as being an art director at Pixar or a starchitect. However, I will say that just about a year ago I watched The Muppet Movie for the first time in like 30 years and it was the first movie in forever that brought tears to my eyes. It has aged extremely well and is a loving tribute to a whole host of figures from comedy history, with a good message and the simple joys of a buddy movie. Flawless, an all-time favorite, I really can't say enough good about it (and I don't really like children). Nostalgia for sure, since it was a favorite movie of mine as a kid, but pace the ravages of age and jadedness The Muppet Movie still comes through with, of all things, the humanity.
posted by rhizome at 10:02 AM on January 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Kevin Clash comes from the same little Baltimore enclave of Turner's Station that gave the world the immortal HeLa cell line. Apropos of nothing, of course, but an interesting juxtaposition.

Can't stand his horrid little puppet, though.
posted by sonascope at 10:11 AM on January 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Muppet is also delicious.
posted by kmz at 10:30 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I miss Grover too. I hope he turns out to be at the end of the thread.

I have laughed for 5 solid minutes. I had to pause the linked youtube Q&A with Kevin Clash in another window because I knew I was missing something.

My mother tells wonderful stories of reading that book to me. I had to show her the iPad version of it. She was both overjoyed that it's still popular, and completely unimpressed that someone would inevitably hand the ipad to a kid and let him do it himself, instead of reading to the kid. She and I both grumble about how enamored my nieces and nephews are with Elmo at the expense of Grover (and Gonzo!)
posted by DigDoug at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]




I just read the youtube comments (almost always a mistake) for that video and to the person who said - "Elmo's black?" I liked the person who replied - "no, Elmo is RED." Exactly.
posted by pinky at 11:59 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Animal is ... LOOSE -- RUN!
posted by mazola at 12:10 PM on January 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Elmo is much better when controlled by Kevin Clash than by the "tickle me" motor.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:34 PM on January 27, 2011


Blazecock Pileon: "These are the no-go areas"

I've watched that clip dozens of times. I love how real Elmo is, even in a situation like that. Ricky isn't trying to get Kevin to break character, he's trying to get Elmo to break character.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:45 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also much more pleasant when interacting with other people/Muppets than working alone. Solo Elmo is one of the scariest monsters I know.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:45 PM on January 27, 2011


I was very surprised to see that it's not popular in the UK, of all things.

When I was growing up it was popular over here. Channel 4 ran it every day at lunchtime. I don't think anyone shows it here anymore, but then most kids TV is utterly shameful now.


My mum used to stick me in front of it after I got back from playschool. Apparently I would just sit, completely entranced. I actually learned the alphabet from watching Sesame Street. Still to this day, I have to think twice before I pronounce "Z".
posted by Acey at 12:53 PM on January 27, 2011


NEAR

far
posted by solotoro


That's pretty much exactly what Grover taught me. And in turn, how I taught my 7th grade ESL class yesterday.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


mightygodking: "Elmo is Love."

The Yip Yips are curiosity.


posted by Cogito at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


And the Muppets teach you Latin as well...

"Phenomena"

Dah DAH Di DAH DAH
Dah DAH DAH DAH
Dah DAH Di DAH DAH
DAH DAH DAH
DAH DAH DAH
DAH DAH Di DAH DAH
DAH DAH DAAAAAH DAH
posted by Billiken at 1:56 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm amazed at how dead on Eric Jacobsen is at performing Frank's characters. He does a better Grover than Steve Whitmire does Kermit, and he's been doing Jim's parts for 20 years now.
posted by evilcolonel at 2:37 PM on January 27, 2011


Until I visited the UK in '06, I had no idea that "muppet" was an insult.
posted by whuppy at 8:48 PM on January 27, 2011


Whenever I think I've become a bitter and hardened old man, I see things like this and well up uncontrollably and it reminds me that I have a heart and the ability to feel. Somehow, in spite of all the scandals of the world, The Muppets have remained an unwaivering constant of joy. Something that all other moments of joy can be measured against.

If you could bottle that feeling and sell it - you'd be the richest person in the history of the world. Thank fuck that such a thing remains impossible.
posted by revmitcz at 8:56 PM on January 27, 2011


The Yip-Yips may be Curiosity, but for my six-year-old self they were also Terrifying.
posted by daisystomper at 9:01 PM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've got my own little friend
(Blazecock Pileon's link)

Wow, wow, wow, is that offensive! I like Ricky Gervais; I really do; but picking up Warwick Davis, sitting him on his knee, and comparing him to Elmo's monster friends... suggesting that he wanted to stuff Warwick in a furry suit (which clearly irritated Warwick)... in fact, Warwick seemed somewhat disgruntled with the whole segment.

And why wouldn't he be? He is a respected, experienced actor, who is being treated like a sideshow attraction once again.

Fuck you, Ricky.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:04 PM on January 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Elmo loves Mr. Noodle. :-)
posted by antgly at 11:14 PM on January 27, 2011


My favorite Mr. Noodle, RIP.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:55 AM on January 28, 2011


What I've always loved about the Muppets is the concept that in all their shows/movies they are not a separate universe, but simply live as another sentient form amongst humans and everyone's just fine with that.

"The so called 'gimmick' of my strip--the two versions of Hobbes--is sometimes misunderstood. I don't think of Hobbes as a doll that miraculously comes to life when Calvin's around. Neither do I think of Hobbes as the product of Calvin's imagination. The nature of Hobbes' reality doesn't interest me, and each story goes out of its way to avoid resolving the issue. Calvin sees Hobbes one way, and everyone else sees Hobbes another way. I show two versions of reality, and each makes complete sense to the participant who sees it. I think that's how life works. None of us sees the world in exactly the same way, and I just draw that literally in the strip. Hobbes is more about the subjective nature of reality than about dolls coming to life." --Bill Watterson
posted by kliuless at 5:23 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Awww. The vibe of Elmo through my belly would have made my son squeal back in the day. Now he wakes up from a sound sleep at midnight to go in a scraggly voice "Elmo...Elmo tv".

He's addicted.
posted by stormpooper at 7:32 AM on January 28, 2011


Probably going to hell for this, but perhaps Elmo was tickling her elbow:

Before they were muppet babies, they were muppet gametes.
posted by cephalopodcast at 11:01 AM on January 28, 2011


jnrussell: "It's just a Muppet, so why is there a lump in my throat?"

XQUZYPHYR: " But I think that's also why the most wonderful part of them is how in "real life" when they show up, instinct kicks in and anyone with any semblance of a soul goes with it. I mean look at this particular video. I think my favorite part of it all is how this woman clearly watched a dude shove his hand into a puppet, and literally seventeen seconds later she is hugging and kissing, for all intents and purposes, his arm. Because there is absolutely no argument. Elmo becomes real at 0:14. And that is beautiful."

Truly. :)
posted by zarq at 12:20 PM on January 28, 2011


I miss Grover too. I hope he turns out to be at the end of the thread.

Grover is here!
posted by New Frontier at 7:01 PM on February 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


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