The progeny of Homme, whose show went off the air in 1984 after a 26-year run, are offended by the use of Rusty the Rooster and Jerome the Giraffe in a skit for this year's Gemini Awards. The puppets, who were the Friendly Giant's companions in his castle, were portrayed as retirees in an old age home for bored, randy puppets from cancelled TV shows. Gerome, who would poke his head around the edge of a castle window was shown poking his head around beer taps.
"The appearance of the puppets, alone, shocked me, as the CBC is required to get our permission to use them in any way... This is the last straw (a big one) and I feel I have to address it," Ann Homme, Bob's daughter, wrote to the Globe and Mail.
She wasn't kidding. Yesterday the CBC announced to staff that the puppets were being pulled from the CBC Museum in Toronto. "After a lengthy stay with us here in the Broadcasting Centre, these iconic creations and other Friendly artifacts, which have been on loan to the CBC Museum for many years, will be going home - at the request of the family of the man who made them famous," the memo said.
So who has done more of a disservice to a beloved childhood icon? The reason that the skit got laughs 22 years after the show went off the air is people still remember the characters fondly. You can't subvert the image of a character that nobody cares about. And it is doubtful that anyone whom the show is aimed, if were still being aired, would be watching a Canadian TV awards show.
The skit itself (see below) follows in a line of shows that show puppets have a life outside of their TV life - see Greg the Bunny, Puppets Who Kill, Robot Chicken and even The Muppets.
This humour was clearly lost on the Hommes' children who are pulling the puppets from anyone who wants to go wandering down memory lane.
Update: CBC Arts has further quotes from the family and the audio from the As It Happens interview. "I'm sorry this whole thing happened, but we felt we had no choice," Richard Homme told CBC Radio's As It Happens, saying the skit was "misrepresenting the puppets. They seemed like aliens to me with their different voices. It occurred to me that this is not anything we would have approved of, as far as the script goes."