Brought to You By the Letters F And U

It’s funny how pop culture moments happen. I was having a beer with a friend who works at MTV Canada and he started talking to me about a comedy called Wonder Showzen. I got home that night and opened an Entertainment Weekly that had been lying around and there was a feature.

It’s a twisted take on Sesame Street, with precocious kids asking adults tough questions, letters and numbers teaching lessons that should never be taught and puppet monsters hassling the public. Great stuff. It airs in the U.S. on MTV 2 so I can’t see it, but MTV Canada has a collection on their site, so check it out. There’s my plug (now get it working for Mac!)

But it got me thinking about the rise of adult-themed puppet shows over the past five years. There was Greg the Bunny, a short lived series featuring Seth Green working on a kids show populated by puppets that were foul off screen and treated like second class citizens. It was, of course, cancelled. I still miss Count Blah.

There’s Puppets Who Kill – about a halfway house for criminally insane puppets – a Canadian production that is still airing (I think). The boys from South Park stepped into the realm with Team America: World Police and the vaguely annoying Crank Yankers. My favourite of the bunch is the musical Avenue Q about a bunch of twenty-somethings just out of university. They wonder what to do with a B.A in English, Trekkie Monster sings about internet porn and their Bert (named Rod) is definitely gay and in love with his Ernie (named Nicky). Again, great stuff.

I grew up watching Sesame Street at home, the Electric Company at school and graduated to The Muppet Show. I’ve come to believe that puppets have real lives and as I grew older I thought they must have more complicated lives. Maybe they complain, swear, drink and have sex and aren’t as simple and pure as when I first met them. I’m not, so why would they be.

Anyway, it looks like a lot of people like me grew up thinking the same thing and unlike me, they went out and made shows about it. I’m glad somebody did.

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