Satire: Elmo: From childhood friend to red fiend

Elmo Monster throws a punch to his co-star, Rocco, in this doctored photograph. (Graphic by Aaron Sousa/AQ)

The following story is a satire based on the recent social media success of Sesame Street character Elmo. 

In the modern-day of cancel culture, celebrities are being “called out” for their problematic behaviour, but no one expected one of those celebrities to be the fluffy, red, innocent angel of Sesame Street, Elmo.

Adults and children alike were horrified as videos of Elmo being passive-aggressive and downright cruel towards his disabled, mute co-star, Rocco, went viral, leaving many to wonder, has Elmo finally lost it?

This descent into vengeance isn’t all that surprising. The “Tickle Me Elmo” dolls always did have a horror movie-like tone. 

Evidence of his plummet into madness can be traced back to Sesame Street‘s 30th season in 1999, when the delightful, fan-favourite Rocco the Rock was introduced.

Since then, Elmo’s never-ending, fiery rage only grew until the Sesame Street producers could no longer keep his true colours hidden from the public. Clips of Elmo’s repulsive behaviour towards Rocco reached all corners of the earth and audiences refused to allow this problematic attitude to go any further.

Many thought that Elmo was a friend to all and an advocate for equality. Yet, as disturbing as this may be, these clips show him making ableist comments about Rocco’s lack of limbs and mouth, all while throwing tantrums if he doesn’t have the spotlight.

Just what caused Elmo, a lovable television presenter, to revert to such brutish displays of pure hatred and casual cruelty?

Did the mass hysteria of living on the fever-dream that is Sesame Street become too much for the child star? Was living alone, as a three-year-old monster, on the same street as a delusional math teacher who believes himself to be a vampire along with a violent trash-man too much for his young, mailable brain to handle?

Elmo could once be described as patient, kind and compassionate and he maintains these virtues when with any other cast member. Yet, the moment Rocco enters the frame, his cheery demeanour quickly sours until he gains a temper and sense of apathy that could challenge even the worst Karens.

One particularly disturbing video consists of Elmo lashing out when Zoe tries to give Rocco the last oatmeal raisin cookie. When Zoe tries to say that Rocco wants the cookie, he screams at the little girl, shouting, “how is Rocco going to eat that cookie, Zoe? Tell Elmo! Rocco doesn’t even have a mouth! Rocco’s just a rock! Rocco’s not alive!” Sheesh, Elmo, who even likes oatmeal raisin?

The world gasped in unison with Zoe when the episode aired, too shocked at seeing how far their idol had fallen.

Rocco has clearly been affected by this relentless verbal torture, so much so that he becomes frozen in fear whenever Elmo is around. The Aquinian attempted to speak with poor Rocco, but he only left us with stony silence. Is the abuse too much for the rock to bear? Will he need trauma counselling in years to come? Rocks are people too and this time, Elmo’s gone too far. 

How long will Elmo’s reign of terror over Rocco be allowed to continue on international television? If his behaviour continues to spiral out of control, as it has been, it will only be a matter of time before Sesame Street can no longer be considered a children’s show, but rather, a new version of The Jerry Springer Show.

With files from Connor Campbell.