An analysis of the mental health problems plaguing the population of Sesame Street.
A Modest Proposal
With each passing day, there are more ominous headlines of new disorders and illnesses afflicting the human population. Judging from the studies and reports, one must wonder what even happened to natural selection, as the stability of our species seems to be circling the evolutionary drain as we speak. Conditions that we formerly—and apparently ignorantly—ascribed to mere human nature are now being pinpointed with medical definitions and pills are being passed out like peanuts at a baseball game.
There are no longer hyper children, now rowdy boys have Attention Deficit Disorder. While a phenomenon called the “winter blues” used to be common, now it is diagnosed as “Seasonal Affective Disorder”. Medical dictionaries bulge with the volume of new terms that catalog every idiosyncratic aspect of being human.
I propose that we get to the roots of these burgeoning problems: unstable role models. Everyone knows that children tend to emulate their idols, which can be a very positive way to learn if they are picking up healthy habits. Obviously, though, the recent avalanche of abnormal psychology cases is telling us that something is wrong with society’s role models.
So, what is one of the biggest influences on children today? Television. I propose that a critical look is taken at the messages being sent in today’s preschool programming, the values that are being passed on to our young ones during their most impressionable years. “Sesame Street’ has been a cultural phenomenon since 1969, and multiple generations of children have tuned in. While it has been praised for its teaching of social skills, its number and letter lessons, and many other seemingly innocuous subjects, it is obvious that there is something more subversive going on.
The simple fact is that our children are being exposed to an extremely dysfunctional set of characters. First of all, take one of the most famous of the muppets: Elmo. He is undoubtedly cute and cuddly, but his constant proclamations of “Everybody LOVES Elmo!!!” are red flags that indicate his Narcissistic Personality disorder. There should be profound concerns about any individual who constantly needs to reaffirm and exaggerate their superiority over others. No wonder people look at today’s youth as walking bundles of ego.
Furthermore, Oscar the Grouch is a textbook case of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The clinical symptoms of this disorder include a volatile temper, constant arguing with both peers and authority figures, and refusal to comply with rules and regulations. Oskar is guilty as charged on all criteria. In addition, his perpetually pessimistic attitude, aversion to close contact with others, and intentional engagement in obnoxious behaviors are other classic examples of ODD.
Big Bird may seem harmless enough. What could be wrong with a sweet, teddy bear toting bird? Well, the fact is that Big Bird has one of the most insidious forms of psychiatric disorder: schizophrenia. He has elaborate conversations with his teddy bear, exhibiting classic signs of hallucinations and delusions that result from the illness. The fact that his neighbors on Sesame Street humor him is disturbing, as the bird is obviously being brushed aside and denied much needed medical attention. It may even be viewed as a case of Shared Psychotic Disorder, in which a figure gradually imparts his delusions onto his peers until they are all ‘under the spell’ and truly believe in the schizoid fantasy realm.
The Count has one of the most obvious malfunctions, his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has completely overtaken his life so that he fills all of his days with numbers and counting. He is marked by uncontrollable urges to take numerical inventories of everything he sees, leading to impaired social function and a disruption of every day activities, as all of his waking hours are spent wrapped up in counting rituals from which he feels powerless to break free.
Everyone has heard the stories about Bert and Ernie. One bedroom, two muppets, you do the math. Homosexuality, however, is not recognized by the medical community as a mental illness, and therefore we need not delve deeper into the issue.
Cookie Monster obviously has a raging case of binge eating disorder, a psychological condition in which individuals exhibit lack of appetite inhibition and blatant lack of self control around food. He frequently engages in episodes of marathon food consumption, specifically of non-nutritive items such as cookies, indicating that he is not eating out of hunger but is making deluded attempts to mask and satiate his true emotional needs through physical indulgences such as overeating.
Grover, with his hyperkinetic energy, spindly physique, and bulging eyes, is obviously mired in a serious drug addiction. His behavior exhibits all the characteristics of someone who is using the stimulant Ecstasy on a regular basis. While it is often viewed as a lightweight “club drug”, it can raise the body temperature to lethal levels, which is an even bigger danger for a heavily furred being such as Grover.
As the influences being broadcast to our children are examined, it is a wonder how any of us have managed to pull through without major psychological and behavioral disturbances. It appears that what remains of our society’s mental stability is at stake. I propose that Sesame Street is immediately pulled from the air, as it is little more than a Crayola colored version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with its zoo of disturbed inhabitants.