Every day there is one main character on Twitter. The goal is never to be it. Except yesterday, the main character on Twitter was Elmo. Not because of a meme, or because he said something problematic, but because of that damn rock. Elmo, I’m right there with you buddy.
If you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about, you are in for a ride. We all know Elmo, but some of you may be unaware of the newer members of the Sesame Street cast. One of them is Zoe, Elmo’s quote-unquote friend. Another is Rocco, Zoe’s pet rock. Yeah, even though it’s not the ‘90s anymore, Zoe has a pet rock. And Rocco is Elmo’s nemesis.
Related: The Secrecy Around Wordle Restores My Faith In Online CommunitiesIt’s not really Rocco’s fault. Rocco doesn’t say anything. As Elmo explains, Rocco doesn’t have a mouth! Rocco’s just a rock! Rocco’s not alive! The problem is Zoe. Zoe doesn’t just pretend Rocco is a real pet so she can have fun with her imagination, she actively makes Elmo’s life worse through Rocco. Check out this clip below where Elmo is denied his favourite cookie because Rocco – who, remember, doesn’t have a mouth – apparently called dibs. On a cookie. That he can’t eat.
While Elmo blows up about the cookie, his rage towards Rocco is best when it’s more subtle. Elmo is completely and utterly done with Rocco’s shit. Or Zoe’s shit, depending on how you look at it. In another clip, Elmo is told it's someone’s birthday, and he cheerfully wishes happy birthday to everyone near him, before he realises Zoe means Rocco. While everyone else indulges Zoe, Elmo sinks his face into his hands and shakes. He even takes one of the guests who wishes Rocco aside to tactfully explain that Rocco’s a rock, and therefore undeserving of a happy birthday wish.
We also see Zoe tell Elmo that Rocco has lots of plans for what he wants to do today, bringing a strained “of course,” as Elmo looks skyward, presumably in search of a god to free him from this cursed rock.
I could go on listing Elmo’s clashes with Zoe (or Rocco) but it’s best if you discover them yourselves. The main reason these clips went viral is because of how relatable they are, but also how universal Sesame Street is. Thousands of children’s television shows exist, but few are on the level of Sesame Street. You never really outgrow Elmo. Sure, we might all know the alphabet and know how to count these days, but that doesn’t mean Sesame Street’s humour is lost on us. It’s timeless. Elmo’s war with Rocco only underlines that.
Children will watch these exchanges and laugh. It’s good, silly fun – Zoe pretends Rocco is alive, Elmo reacts in a funny way. There are no heroes and villains, just laughs to be had. Watching it as a grown-up, we’re firmly on Elmo’s side. We all have a Zoe – and her Rocco – in our lives. Maybe it’s a coworker who won’t stop talking about a project they never actually do any work on. Maybe it’s an associate who transparently lies about the amazing achievements of their child. Maybe it’s a friend who’s ‘working on a screenplay’. They’re all Zoes, with their own Roccos, and we’re all Elmo’s.
If we pipe up and say ‘been seven years on that screenplay, have you even written the first act yet?’ or ‘did your kid really do all their homework so well the teacher retired and let them take the class?’ then you’re the bad guy. You’re the downer. Everyone else indulges Zoe and her rock, giving away your favourite cookie, wishing it a happy birthday, letting it say the number of the day when that’s your job. Elmo is a hero because he takes a stand.
No, Elmo. No I haven’t. You’re right, and you should say it.
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