A red monster destroyed the value of Sesame Street, and that red monster was born, nurtured, and fed, from within. A fascinating and well-reasoned argument on the downfall of the popular children’s TV show from Kevin Wong:
There are many antagonistic, odd couple pairings on Sesame Street, just like this one. Bert and Ernie. Prairie Dawn and Cookie Monster. Grover and Mr. Johnson. We loved Ernie, Cookie Monster, and Grover, and laughed at their antics. But at the same time, we knew that we shouldn’t behave like them in public.
…Now admittedly, it’s impossible to get a three-year-old like Elmo to care about someone’s needs before his own, let alone ask important, deeper questions about solitude and personal safety. But that’s exactly my point; a three-year-old Muppet should not be the lead for this show. Elmo used to embody childlike characteristics that children should be moving away from. But now, he’s modeling, for four and five-year-old children, behavior they should have already left behind. The show used to recognize this and poked gentle fun at Elmo’s immaturity. But in recent times, the writers have forgotten to.