Occupy Sesame Street

3 11 2011

I was checking out YouTube videos recently, and was pleased to discover that the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) appears to have relented in their quest to ban all Sesame Street snippets from the site, and instead posted the items with their official branding. Bravo.

However, I was troubled by the following video:

(Click here if video is not displayed)

On the surface, it seems like a harmless PSA for smoke detectors, by way of the Twiddlebugs who live in Ernie’s flower box.

But look closer, and see why the 99% of us who grew up watching Sesame Street should be outraged about this 1% of the branded offerings on YouTube:

  • In another video, Ernie explains that he built the Twiddlebug home himself and donated it. So why do they have a superintendent? That suggests that someone is charging rent for what was meant to be charitable housing.
  • The superintendent nails the smoke detector to the wall when in fact smoke detectors are mounted with screws. Clearly this faceless landlord is scrimping on payroll and did not hire a separate Maintenance bug, who would have had the skills to mount the smoke detector properly. Instead, the superintendent tries to make do and as a result violates code and ultimately puts the Twiddlebug family in grave danger due to shoddy workmanship.
  • The young male Twiddlebug thinks the smoke detector is a radio, which is a direct result of media conglomerates buying up the spectrum, squeezing out independent radio stations, and depriving listeners of choice. The young bug is hip enough to know Neil Young’s “one note solo” when he hears it, which is in fact, groovy. Yeah, yeah, yeah!
  • The Twiddlebugs have no furniture, and are reliant on “found art” to decorate their drab home. Because no huge leaves exist in their fragile ecosystem which Ernie is exploiting for the sake of a 3% uptick in Q4 profits, one can only assume the leaf came from a “big box” store that caused local retailers to either make severe cutbacks in labor and other costs, or shut down entirely.
  • The superintendent leaves the ladder up after doing the smoke detector installation, displaying a callous disregard for Twiddlebug safety and the general aesthetic of the home.
  • The young female Twiddlebug is the only educated member of the family, due to skyrocketing tuition costs and school district consolidation. The family hopes there will be a trickle-down effect as the lone educated family member imparts all of her knowledge to the rest.
  • The Twiddlebugs live on beans, apparently. Actually, it was “beans” before the Great Recession, now it’s “bean” in the post-bailout era.
  • Father Twiddlebug offers up a solution to the burnt bean fiasco, in an example of the psycho-sexual realpolitik of the Patriarchy™, subjugating women and children to paternal “wisdom”.
  • Ernie represents the Nanny State™, always watching over the Twiddlebugs in Big Brotherly fashion, meddling in their affairs for the “greater good”. Ernie also represents the “Orange Man’s Burden” that many Muppets® resent having to carry for less fortunate Muppet characters.
  • Ernie says he is coming “to the rescue” but snickers, in a display of socioeconomic warfare where the “haves” (Muppets with watering cans) purport to help those in need but in reality are creating Katrina-esque disasters in order to profit from them.
  • Cutbacks in science education and “teaching the controversy” result in the Twiddebugs relying on the Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy to determine causality and therefore become enslaved by the religion-state and thus blinded to the machinations of the Shadow Government (FEMA) and consumed by “entertainment”.

It’s all in the video, man.

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