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Posts Tagged ‘torture’

For 14 formative years on Sesame Street, nobody believed in Snuffleupagus except for Big Bird. In a seemingly never-ending series of infuriatingly frustrating episodes, Snuffy would always disappear right before being witnessed by an adult. It was beyond maddening.

Everyone thought Big Bird was bonkers, and stupid Snuffy just let it happen, always wandering away at the most inopportune moments. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. Until the biggest effing tease in the history of your childhood was drawn out to the point of excruciating torture. It was like a cruel joke by a sadistic cabal, hellbent on perfecting the kiddie version of Chinese water torture.

Snuffy was a big furry elephant with girly eyelashes and a sweet disposition. You just wanted to snuggle his snuffle. His impossible cuteness only made the unbearable anguish resonate deeper.The Big Tease Television has always been about delayed gratification. TV producers keep you coming back week after week with the agonizing possibility that Tony and Angela will finally get together and bang it out, or that Ross and Rachel will finally get together and bang it out, or that The Nanny and that rich theater snob will finally get together and… well you get the drift.

But with Snuffy it was obviously different. His target audience wasn’t waiting for him to get it on with Big Bird. The producers of the show claim that the concept of keeping Snuffy a secret to everyone but Big Bird was originally created to represent the same experience that a child might have with their own imaginery friend. But then why not make him actually imaginary? Why even bother teasing us with the possibility of his eventual discovery?

No, something much more insidious was going on. Jim Henson was clearly getting off on controlling the situation. Making you squirm. Constantly teasing you with the possibility of sweet relief before yanking the rug out from beneath your feet. He was a sick bastard.

Raw, Concentrated Evil

Then one day, in the wake of the pedophilia scandals in the Catholic church, the executives at the Children’s Television Workshop decided that perhaps it was not such a good idea to have none of the adults believe a childhood idol like Big Bird when he made certain claims. (Of course, it’s also been suggested that the real reason for finally outing Snuffy was to garner publicity for the Sesame Street movie being released that year. So it seems that there was one thing that Jim Henson loved more than torturing children: making money.)

Regardless, it wasn’t until 1985, when in a stunning act of compassion Snuffy was suddenly revealed to the adults on Sesame Street. The grown-ups were astounded, Big Bird was vindicated, and millions of adolescents breathed a collective sigh of relief — 14 years in the making.

14 years.

14 effing years.

It only took Tony and Angela seven years to finally bang it out, and even that felt like an eternity.

Snuffy’s big reveal was effing awesome.*

*and so is Jim Henson for that matter.


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