The recent Sesame Street seminar on racism has caused quite a stir on the Internet, thanks in large part to a scene in which Elmo's father, Louie, explains why people are protesting police brutality.
Beyond its socio-political importance, many were aghast to learn that Elmo — who is a muppet — also has a biological family.
But Elmo doesn't just have a dad. According to his Muppet wikia entry:
Other relatives in Elmo's family include his grandma and grandpa; his great-grandmother (featured in a 1989 episode) and his great-grandfather (named Selmo); his Uncle Jack, Aunt Jill, and cousin Jesse (featured in When Families Grieve); plus additional cousins Elmer (featured in Kids' Favorite Country Songs), Chester (featured in Here For You), and Mimsy. Additionally, the television special Sesame Street Stays Up Late shows Elmo's "international" cousins — Pepé from Mexico and Elmonosuke from Japan. As seen in The Furchester Hotel, he also has an aunt Funella Furchester, an uncle Furgus Fuzz, and a cousin Phoebe Furchester-Fuzz.
In short, Elmo has a big family. Which means a lot of Muppet sex.
But what if Elmo's dad … isn't actually his dad?
Writing for Mel Magazine, Joseph Longo posits some shameful secrets at the center of the Elmo family:
Trying to make sense of the Sesame Street family lineage is ultimately a fraught journey. Elmo first appeared on the show in 1980, during Season 11. Canonically, Elmo is 3 and a half years old.
But in real time, Elmo is 43 today. This means he should be around the same age as Louie… unless — gasp — the original Elmo is Louie. “Elmo’s father was the original Elmo,” TV writer Jesse McLaren theorizes. He has long believed the 1980s Elmo became Louie in a Looper-esque plot twist and had a kid he named after himself.
As far as fan theories go, this one is almost definitely not true. But I appreciate the commitment to the possibility and found this to be a surprisingly compelling piece of writing about something I never, ever thought I would ever think about.
Is Sesame Street lying about Elmo's real dad? [Joseph Longo / Mel Magazine]
Image: Public Domain via NeedPix