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Cookie Monster

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Cookie Monster is a Muppet on the children's television show Sesame Street. He is best known for his voracious appetite and his famous eating phrases: "Me want cookie!", "Me eat cookie!", and "Om nom nom nom" (said through a mouth full of food). He often eats anything and everything, including danishes, donuts, lettuce, apples, bananas, as well as normally inedible objects. However, as his name suggests, his preferred food is cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are his favorite kind; oatmeal cookies are his second favorite. In a song in 2004, Cookie Monster revealed that, before he ate his first cookie, he believes his name was Sid.[1] Showing awareness of healthy eating habits for children, since 2006 he has said that cookies are "a sometime snack" and that he also likes fruits and eggplant.

He is known to have a mother, a younger sister, and an identically-designed cousin, who all share his characteristic blue fur and "googly eyes". He also has a father, who appeared in a Monsterpiece Theater sketch promoting energy conservation, water conservation and environmentalism. Both Cookie Monster's mother and father have his enormous appetite. He and his Sesame Street friends are popular motifs on T-shirts.

Origin

The book Jim Henson's Designs and Doodles explains Cookie Monster's origin as follows: "In 1966, Henson drew three monsters that ate cookies and appeared in a General Foods commercial that featured three crunchy snack foods: Wheels, Crowns and Flutes. Each snack was represented by a different monster. The Wheel-Stealer was a short, fuzzy monster with wonky eyes and sharply pointed teeth. The Flute-Snatcher was a speed demon with a long, sharp nose and windblown hair. The Crown-Grabber was a hulk of a monster with a Boris Karloff accent and teeth that resembled giant knitting needles.

These monsters had big appetites for the snack foods (like cookies) they were named after. Each time the Muppet narrator, a human-looking fellow, fixes himself a tray of Wheels, Flutes and Crowns, they disappear before he can eat them. One by one, the monsters sneak in and zoom away with the snacks. Frustrated and peckish, the narrator warns viewers that "these pesky monsters could be disguised as someone in your own home", at which point the monsters briefly turn into people and then dissolve back to monsters again.

As it turns out, these commercials were never aired — but all three monsters had a future in the Muppet cast. The "Crown-Grabber" was used in a sketch on The Ed Sullivan Show, in which he ruins a girl's beautiful day. Known from then on as the Beautiful Day Monster, he made a number of appearances on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. The "Flute-Snatcher" turned into Snake Frackle, a background monster from The Great Santa Claus Switch and The Muppet Show.

In 1967, Henson used the "Wheel-Stealer" puppet for an IBM training film called Coffee Break Machine. In the sketch, called "The Computer Dinner", the monster (with frightening eyes and fangs) devours a complex machine as the machine describes its purpose and construction. At the end of the sketch, the talking machine explains that its primary purpose is to produce the greatest explosion known to man. The monster promptly explodes. This sketch was also performed in October, 1967 on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was also later performed on the George Burns episode of The Muppet Show using the Luncheon Counter Monster.

Two years later, Henson pulled the puppet out of the box again for three commercials selling Munchos, a Frito-Lay potato chip. This time, the puppet was called Arnold, the Munching Monster. After the three ads were produced, Henson had the opportunity to renew the contract. He chose not to, because at that point he was working on Sesame Street — and that monster puppet was moving on to the next stage in his career.

Cookie Monster, still unnamed, made his Sesame Street debut in the first episode, interfering with Kermit the Frog's "famous W lecture" by eating a model "W" bit by bit. He turns it into an "N", a "V", and finally an "I", to Kermit's frustration. He then tries to eat Kermit.

It was during the first season that Cookie Monster got his name and began using the growly vernacular (e.g., "Me eat cookie!") that would become part of his character. His signature song, "C Is For Cookie", was first aired during the 1971-1972 season, and became one of the best-known songs from Sesame Street.

Development

In 2006, in response to growing concerns about record levels of childhood obesity in the U.S.A., Sesame Street began airing segments titled Healthy Habits for Life. In these segments, the Muppet characters of Sesame Street talk about healthy habits, such as eating properly and exercising. The Healthy Habits for Life segments spawned Internet rumors that Cookie Monster's name had been changed to Veggie Monster or would be taken off the show entirely.[2][3]

In a 2007 appearance on Martha Stewart's TV program, Cookie Monster explained his new philosophy that "Cookies are a sometimes food."

On February 10, 2008, NPR host Elizabeth Blair interviewed Cookie Monster for the All Things Considered segment In Character. He answered the Proust Questionnaire, as well as revealing some of his favorite and non-favorite things.[2][4]

In a June 19, 2008, appearance on The Colbert Report, Cookie Monster again explained that "Cookies are a sometimes food." He also attempted to eat Stephen Colbert's Peabody Award. Colbert had asked agitatedly why Cookie Monster had "abandoned the pro-cookie agenda" and thus caused fruit to become the favorite snack of American children, according to a study Colbert had heard. Colbert criticized Cookie Monster for not wearing a cookie lapel pin. Cookie Monster also claimed to have "crazy times during the '70s and '80s", referring to himself as "the Robert Downey, Jr. of cookies." After eating a cookie to prove he still likes cookies, Cookie Monster asked if the Peabody Award, a round medallion on a small pedestal, was a cookie.[5] When Colbert returned to speak to Cookie Monster at the end of the show, the award had disappeared and Cookie Monster was wiping his mouth with a napkin.[5]

On November 24, 2010, Cookie Monster started a Facebook page as part of a campaign to host Saturday Night Live.[6]

Casting history

Main performers

Alternate performers

David Rudman officially became Cookie Monster in Sesame Street's 2002 season (taped 2001), but the year before that, Rudman shared the part with Eric Jacobson. Once Jacobson was cast as Grover and Bert, Sesame Workshop chose Rudman as Cookie Monster to allow for more interaction between Cookie Monster and Bert/Grover. Frank Oz still performs Cookie Monster and his other Sesame Street characters a couple of times per year.

Merchandise

File:CookieMonsterToys1.JPG

Various toys and other icons of the Cookie Monster have been produced over the years. The most obvious is a cookie jar, of which several types have been offered.

Numerous children's books featuring Cookie Monster have been published over the years: Template:Div col

  • Happy Birthday, Cookie Monster
  • Cookie Monster's Kitchen
  • Cookie Monster's Christmas
  • A Cookie Gone Wrong - Monster's Story
  • Biggest Cookie in the World
  • Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree
  • Cookie Monster's Good Time to Eat
  • Cookie Monster's Blue Book
  • Cookie Monster, Where are You?
  • Cookie Monster!
  • Cookie Monster's Activity Book
  • Cookie Monster Mammoth Color
  • Cookie Monster's Book of Cookie Shapes
  • Monster and the Surprise Cookie
  • Sesame Street: Wanted, the Great Cookie Thief

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Cultural references

Gallery

See also

References

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