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Bear Right on Sesame Street

Scene: Office of Kenneth Tomlinson, new conservative Chairman of PBS. Speaking is their new president, Patricia Harrison (former Republican Party co-chair). “Thank you all for coming. I have to say what an honor is to have the creative minds behind Sesame Street here with me today! My kids loved your show when they were growing up. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Even after all these years, the same characters. Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Count. They’re great and all. One could maybe raise some questions about the values they’re teaching, though. Look at Count and Cookie Monster. The main characteristic about both is obsession. Not that obsession can be a bad thing; it just depends on what you’re obsessed about. Being obsessed about proper values, that’s a good thing! But being obsessed about cookies, or the Count’s OCD ritual counting, maybe not so good. Anyway, we’ve worked up some ideas for some new characters we’d like you to consider. First we’ve got Straight Arrow and Stands Behind (Pat holds up a drawing of an Indian brave and squaw couple.) They can help the Show to better emphasize the importance of traditional marriage between one man and one woman. OK, here’s White Dove. He represents the Holy Spirit of the Christian Trinity. He’s needed to bring balance to the Show’s current absence of themes related to religious belief. His shtick is to provide the most appropriate New Testament quote to the current storyline. In fact, he only speaks “red letter” lines. (laughs) Next is Seal, the CEO of his family’s Fish Packing company. He has lots of perks, and the rest of the characters treat him like royalty. The idea is to provide the children viewing the Show some characters that inspire by showing the rewards of hard work. This is exemplified by Seal’s assistant, Flunkey, who has been the mainstay of the business since before Seal inherited ownership. Next is Rock, our military archetype. I’m sure you see where we’re going with him. Here’s Ellie the Elephant. She’s the smartest, most compassionate, and most patriotic character of all. Don’t you love her red, white, and blue stripes? Where there’s good there has to be evil, personified by Billary the Mangy Donkey. Finally, we have gNOme. gNOme personifies the value of “just saying no.” In fact, that’s all he ever says. He’ll allow the Show to take stands against the rampant permissiveness in our society. I expect that he’ll be a very popular character with your new scriptwriters. Oops, I forgot to mention the staff changes. Anyway, that’s it. Ralph here will be working with you on transitioning in the new characters. You can take all the time you need, but we’re thinking three weeks is plenty. OK, let’s get out there and teach some right values!”

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