'Elmo Backlash' Should Be Directed at a Different Character

elmoLa la la la, la la la la ... if you automatically chimed in with "Elmo's World" right there, chances are you have a toddler who's hardcore obsessed with the furry red dude. Lots of toddlers are -- so many, in fact, that there's now news of an "Elmo backlash" among parents. I'm not surprised, exactly, but I don't feel the same way.

Watching the same show, any show, 800 times in a row may be fascinating to 2-year-olds, but adults? More like homicidal rage-inducing. Still, Elmo? My daughter was such a big fan that Elmo was one of her first words ("Eh-mo"), but I never hated him.

Barney, on the other hand ...


I was burnt out on Barney before my kids were even born, thanks to a nannying gig for a little boy who totally worshipped the purple monstrosity. As a result, Barney was absolutely forbidden when my kids were born. Meaning I went to great lengths to ensure that they never even found out he existed, knowing full well that they, too, might fall under his spell. Watching Barney makes me feel like I've been lobotomized. It's so incredibly mindless that it could be unintentionally funny, except it's too mawkish and saccharine.

By comparison, Elmo is a master of ironic wit. Seriously. "Elmo's World" is like a symphony of complex themes and layered characters after a few episodes of Barney. And yet, brilliantly, Elmo has the same captivating effect on kids as Barney. The power to soothe the savage toddler.

Thankfully, my kids have moved on to greener television pastures. (I must confess, I actually like watching iCarly. It's funny, and there are guest stars like Jack Black and Jane Lynch!) And so I have some words of comfort for any parent on the threshold of toddler TV show delirium: This too, shall pass.

In the meantime, though, Elmo ain't so bad.

What's your kid's favorite TV character?


Image via insane gal/Flickr

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