If you were a kid any time from the 70's through to today, Sesame Street and the Muppets probably played some part in your childhood. Jim Henson's funny, sometimes cute, and often educational puppets have had an unparalleled run for a children's TV show, and have also had countless spin-offs for audiences of all ages, becoming an iconic part of popular culture. One of the most popular characters who has been around since the very early days of Sesame Street is of course the childlike, furry blue monster with googly eyes we know as the Cookie Monster. With over 40 years of television history behind him, it is not surprising that there are some interesting little known facts about this guy, which we're going to take a look at here:
Cookie Monster Isn't His Real Name
The character who eventually became the Cookie Monster we know and love was first conceived as a character called Wheel Stealer for an unaired commercial Jim Henson was involved with for a snack food company. Wheel Stealer was also used in a training video for IBM, weirdly. He looked slightly different from the 'final form' of Cookie Monster in that he had teeth and was a slightly different color, but his original job, just like CM's, was to have an insatiable hunger.
Cookie Monster appeared in the first season of Sesame Street in 1969 as an undefined character, but his cookie obsessed ways and his name didn't develop until the second season of the show. However, in a 2004 Sesame Street episode, Cookie Monster sang a song that revealed his real name was Sid. This was backed up by a tweet from 'his' account run by Sesame Street, which said Cookie Monster was a nickname that stuck and he didn't remember his real name – but maybe it was Sidney.
He Represents 'Babyishness' Rather Than Gluttony
All of Sesame Street's main characters are supposed to represent a human weakness or foible, exaggerated for comic effect, but Cookie Monster is not designed to represent something as simple as gluttony. In a 1985 edition of Sesame Street Magazine, when talking about parents' concerns about how he talks incorrect grammar, one of the directors of the show said he represents 'babyishness personified' – which is why other characters speak better than him and he has an uncontrollable and selfish drive to eat!
He'll eat anything from machines to car fenders, so it is hard to pick a favorite cookie flavor for him, but we think due to his childlike nature he'd love Gimme Jimmys colorful rainbow cookies best of all.
He's Been Controversial!
Cookie Monster may have the comedic trait of being obsessed with cookies, but some people have seen this as no laughing matter over the years, with some (perhaps slightly killjoy type) people saying his fondness for sugary treats sets a bad example. He has been used in health awareness campaigns and segments of the show that promote healthy eating, but the show never gave in to controversy and kept his character the same, even poking fun on the show about rumors he was going to be changed into the far less funny sounding 'Veggie Monster'.
So there you have it, some little known facts about one of America's most iconic TV characters!