Ryan Dosier – Welcome back to class, class! No quiz again this week, because my cousin’s hamster took the papers… he didn’t eat them, but instead started his own Muppetology course next door. Don’t fall for it. He isn’t licensed! …And obviously I am, if anyone asks. Anyway, let’s continue our lecture on Muppet Monster Cryptozoology, this week focusing on the magnificent monsters of Sesame Street!
- Performed by FRANK OZ (1969-present) and ERIC JACOBSON (1998-present)
- Grover is one of Sesame Street’s numerous furry blue monsters. He debuted in the first season of Sesame Street and has been a consistently popular presence ever since. Grover is best known for the countless professions he has worked in over the years, most notably as a waiter and his superhero alter-ego, Super Grover. As far as monsters go, Grover is about as far away from scary as one can get. He is a self-proclaimed cute, adorable little monster and has no interest in scaring anyone. In fact, he scared himself at the prospect of a monster in the classic book, The Monster at the End of This Book. He even sang the song “I Whistle a Happy Tune” with Cookie Monster when they were afraid of the woods. Grover can currently be seen nearly everyday on Sesame Street in his recurring segment “Super Grover 2.0.”
- COOKIE MONSTER
- Performed by FRANK OZ (1969-present) and DAVID RUDMAN (2001-present)
- Yet another of the furry blue monsters of Sesame Street, Cookie Monster is one of the most popular characters on the show, and one of the most popular and beloved television characters of all time. Cookie Monster, of course, ravenously devours cookies (and most everything else) anytime that he gets the opportunity. Of all the Sesame Street monsters, Cookie Monster has the most monster-like speech saying “me” instead of “I,” as in “Me want cookies!” Again, however, Cookie Monster does not exhibit many scary traits. Yes, his penchant for eating anything and everything makes him rather over the top, he is never purposefully scary. Just hold on to your hat if it’s near a plate of cookies. Cookie Monster recently made a big splash with his parody video of the song “Call Me Maybe” and can be seen in numerous episodes of Sesame Street Season 43.
- Primarily performed by KEVIN CLASH (1985-present)
- Perhaps the most popular children’s television character of the past decade, Elmo is the giggling, ticklish, imaginative furry red monster on Sesame Street–as if anyone doesn’t know that already. Elmo is the least scary Muppet monster, right alongside Grover, and would never dream of trying to scare someone. Elmo himself has been scared many times, however. At age three-and-a-half, Elmo is one of the youngest denizens of Sesame Street and has gotten scared many times, especially when he had a close call with a fire in Hooper’s Store. Mostly, though, Elmo is just happy and carefree. He inhabited “Elmo’s World” on the show for many years until the segment was replaced in Season 43 by the entertaining new segment “Elmo: The Musical.” Elmo can be seen consistently on every episode of Sesame Street.
- TELLY MONSTER
- Primarily performed by MARTIN P. ROBINSON (1984-present)
- Telly Monster is one of the main characters on modern day Sesame Street and appears in numerous street stories every season. Telly is best friends with Baby Bear but loves to play with everyone else on Sesame Street too. Telly used to be highly neurotic and worried all the time, but has since mellowed out. In his first appearance, Telly had spinning eyes and antennae sticking out of his head, making it the only time Telly was legitimately scary. Since then, Telly has been the one getting scared, not doing the scaring. In his worrying state, Telly would scare incredibly easily, and sometimes that still shows through even though he has matured quite a bit over the years. Telly can be seen in most episodes of Sesame Street Season 43.
- Performed by CARMEN OSBAHR
- Another member of Sesame Street‘s furry blue monster family, Rosita is a smart, Spanish speaking female monster who loves to play her guitar and sing. She first appeared on Sesame Street in 1991 in Season 23. For quite awhile, Rosita appeared with wings, explaining her full name Rosita la Monstrua de las Cuevas, which translates to Rosita the Monster of the Caves, implying that she was conceived as fruit bat of some sort. Rosita lost her wings in Season 35. Although her full name sounds frightening, Rosita is anything but, as she is one of the sweetest characters on Sesame Street. Rosita remains a popular main character on Sesame Street to this day and can be seen in numerous Season 43 episodes.
- Performed by FRAN BRILL
- Zoe, who debuted in Season 25 in 1994, was conceived and developed to match Elmo in both appearance and popularity. It succeeded, as Zoe continues to delight children on Sesame Street to this day nearly 20 years later. Zoe has gone through many phases on the show, loving her Zoemobile, her bracelets, her tutu, her dancing, and her pet rock Rocco. Zoe is always seen wearing her pink ballet tutu these days and is usually seen with her friends Elmo, Rosita, and Abby Cadabby. Zoe has a delightful laugh that sets her apart from the other characters and a favorite of Muppet fans and children alike.
- HERRY MONSTER
- Performed by JERRY NELSON
- Herry Monster is a classic Sesame Street character who debuted in Season 2 of the show and became a favorite character of the audience as well as his performer Jerry Nelson. Herry is perhaps best known for counting to 20 with John John early in the show’s run and for being a part of a sort of trio with Cookie Monster and Grover. Herry is larger than most and much stronger as well. It seems that he is always accidentally breaking something, but he always feels terrible about it. Herry loves to play with his doll, Hercules, and remained popular on Sesame Street into the 1990s and early 2000s. He has since been phased into the background, but not before starring in his own recurring segment “Monster Day Care,” performing alongside Garth Brooks and Maya Angelou, and becoming best friends with both Prairie Dawn and Rosita.
- MURRAY MONSTER
- Performed by JOEY MAZZARRINO
- Murray is the newest monster on this list, appearing first in Season 36 in 2005. Since then, Murray has grown into one of the most-used characters on Sesame Street, appearing daily in “tune-in” segments throughout the run of the episodes since Season 40 as well as introducing the daily “Word on the Street.” Murray is also the first main character performed by veteran Sesame Street performer and writer Joey Mazzarrino. Murray is often seen with his Spanish-speaking little lamb friend Ovejita, and the two of them had their own segment called “Murray Has a Little Lamb.” Currently, Murray and Ovejita co-host the interstitial moments in every episode of the show. Murray can be seen in every episode of Sesame Street Season 43.
- Performed by JERRY NELSON
- Frazzle is the only Sesame Street monster who could be considered legitimately scary. His appearance is frightening, with his large white teeth and angry eyes, and he speaks entirely in growls. However, Frazzle is really lovable and just wants to be loved back, he can’t help it if he accidentally scares people. Frazzle has been around since Season 4 of Sesame Street and has performed now-classic songs like “Fuzzy and Blue (and Orange)” and “Frazzle,” the latter performed with his band The Frazzletones. Frazzle rarely appears on the show these days, and if he does it’s only in the background, but he has a consistent presence in Sesame Street books to this day.
Well, that’s all the material I have for class today. I hope you learned something. No scat, cats! Don’t make me bring in the monsters to scare you away.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org