I've long suspected this, but now it is official: Elmo controls my life.
WCK and I are avid Sesame Street viewers. This week, Sesame Street started a new season, which I had been looking forward to for months. There are only 26 new episodes of Sesame created each year -- one for each letter of the alphabet -- which means that after watching every single day, five days a week, we have now seen every episode from last season approximately 10 times each. I'm going to estimate that they make about half as many Elmo's World segments, because I know deep in my soul that if I see the one about the sky one more time, I'm going to throw myself off a bridge. Yes, Mr. Noodle can't fly a kite! WE GET IT, ELMO!! WE GET IT!!
But despite the bridge-flinging, I absolutely adore Sesame Street. I grew up with it myself. When I returned to it after a 25-ish-year absence, I noticed the big difference is that every episode would stick to a very strict, predictable formula. Cookie Monster introduces the Letter of the Day at the same time every day. Bert and Ernie always appear at the same point in the show. Then Grover. Then there's that, "Come on, get up, it's time to play" song. Then The Count. And then, of course, at 9:35, Elmo's World begins. WCK, who is absolutely Rain-Man-esque in her need for routines really appreciated this. Everyone was happy.
Then Season 38 began on Monday.
The opening skit featured Tina Fey as a pirate. Very funny:
And then. THEY CHANGED THE FORMAT. WCK was beside herself when Cookie Monster failed to appear at 9:20. Sesame Street seems to have bumped itself up a level. There's no more Letter of the Day; there's a Word of the Day. The emphasis is now on words and reading books instead of basic letters and numbers. We had a difficult few days, but I could semi-relax knowing that Elmo would always be there for us.
Yeah. Yesterday THERE WAS NO ELMO'S WORLD.
WCK and I stared at the screen in numb shock, our jaws on the floor. She cried out in anguish: "Find Elmo! Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind Elmo!!!"
"I'm trying!" I cried, fumbling with the remote in panic. I thought maybe if I pushed the buttons enough, the TiVo would magically find Elmo and bring him back to us.
I tried to bargain with God: "I'll even watch the one about the sky! I take back all the things I said about Mr. Noodle! I wished him well! I wished him well!"
It didn't matter. Nothing was bringing Elmo back. Now I'm shaken. We live in an unpredictable world, but there are a few things I know for sure: Everyone has to be born, and everyone has to die. The sun will rise every morning. And every weekday at 9:35, Elmo will appear.
Now we never know if Elmo will be there or not. Will we ever learn to trust again? I don't know.