The other day I was reading a website I frequent called ParentDish. It’s a parenting website that features interesting news, reviews, tips, yada yada yada about raising kids. Generally I enjoy it, but lately it’s been sticking in my craw a little bit (and let me tell you, nothing irritates me more than a clogged-up craw).
The subject was an awesome clip from Sesame Street featuring Elmo being sung to sleep. That would be enough to bore even the least interesting child to tears, but the geniuses at PBS brought in the hilarious Ricky Gervais to croon to the little red Muppet. Gervais begins by singing softly, then abruptly amps up the song by adding in a chorus screeched at the top of his lungs. It’s startling to the viewer – and especially to Elmo – but it’s laugh-out-loud funny, both because of Elmo’s hair-standing-on-end reaction and because Gervais looks so damned proud of himself.
But the anal retentives at ParentDish were “just as shocked as Elmo” over the chorus of the song and were surprised to hear that PBS hadn’t had any complaints about the skit. It was at this point in my reading when my eyes rolled so far back in my head I noticed a stain on the butt of my jeans. Really, ParentDish? Did you actually expect real live, everyday parents to (1) be upset over a cute bit that is obviously only meant to make kids laugh and (2) take time out of, I don’t know – actually parenting – to ring up PBS and bitch about it?
Of course, I absolutely loved the song and immediately called my kids over to the computer to take a look. They were shrieking louder than Ricky Gervais (with laughter) and - hold on, this may surprise you - none of them clutched their little hearts in fear and nary a tear was shed. Shocking, huh?
According to ParentDish, “Kids need images of trustworthy grown-ups, especially as they're relaxing at bedtime.” Well guess what, kids also need images that make them laugh and make them happy and they most definitely need to be surrounded by dedicated grownups who make childhood exactly what it should be – FUN.
And those grownups need websites to read that don’t make them want to unplug their computers and throw them out on the street.
So what do you think? Am I right on this one? Did the Ricky/Elmo clip make you laugh or were you appalled? Be sure to leave a message in the comments below. Although you should be warned – if you actually write that the clip bothered you I may be forced to make fun of you publicly.