By Andrew Byrd
Sesame Street, that oft-viewed children’s television program (paid for by viewers like you!), has been translated and aired in over 30 countries since its debut in 1969. It’s well-known for being educational, entertaining, and heart-warming. If you watch an episode, you’ll witness world-class puppetry and some of the most solid creative children’s programming ever aired.
I’m not here to talk about any of that shit today.
Look, I’ll get right to the point: I want to take on Sesame Street’s residents in hand-to-hand combat. It’s nothing personal. I have no grudge against any of those colorful puppets. I’m not a violent or angry person who hates joy. So, why do I want to fist fight some lovable children’s TV characters? The answer’s simple: Because I can. What follows is my assessment of how I would fare in a good old-fashioned street fight against the cast of Sesame Street.
Weight: Heavier than most puppets
To be clear, I am in no way a boxer or MMA fighter. I have zero martial arts training. A few years ago, I went to two classes of something called “Close-Quarters Urban Warfare” and decided my time would be better spent rubbing my face on the sidewalk myself. What I lack in formal fight education, I make up for in sheer unpredictability: not even I know what my next move is going to be. I’m also not afraid to fight dirty, if things look really bad. It’s a tough life in these streets.
All right – Let’s meet our challengers.
CHALLENGER: COOKIE MONSTER
I don’t want to jump the gun here, but I’m confident I could take Cookie Monster in a fist fight. Sure, he’s one of the only Sesame Street characters to have a full four fingers and thumb, but his diet consists mainly of cookies and inedible objects. He ate Stephen Colbert’s Peabody, for crying out loud. I’m sure he’d get a few good hits in, don’t get me wrong.
But all those years of consuming sugar and garbage aren’t doing our blue pal any favors. His punches would have no power behind them. Meanwhile, I eat at least one baby carrot and some lettuce every few days. One good smack to the head and Cookie Monster’s googly eyes are gonna be stuck straight. I’d come away from the fight bruised, but victorious, and all the cookies I could grab while my opponent’s pupils were spinning around his eyeball.
CHALLENGER: BIG BIRD
Age: Permanently 6, according to performer Carroll Spinney
Yeah, I’d put the hurt on Cookie Monster. Big Bird, on the other hand? He would wreck my entire day. One swift motion – one swing of those freakish arms or unnecessarily long legs – and I’m in the freaking ER. At over eight feet tall, Big Bird is safely out of reach for any attempted headshots. I might be able to bop him on the beak, if he lowers his head for some reason. I cringe at the thought of seeing one of those enormous feet flying toward my brittle body. The worst part about the beatdown I would inevitably receive is his cheerfulness. He’d probably think it was all some silly new game.
“Snuffy, come look at my funny friend! His neck bends all sorts of ways!”
My only hope would be to shout insults at him and hope it makes him cry. Even if that somehow worked, by the time I broke through his joyful demeanor, I’d still be in traction for six to eight weeks. Knowing I’d have nightmares about the fight haunting me for the rest of my days almost makes me rethink this whole ordeal.
WINNER: BIG BIRD
CHALLENGERS: BERT AND ERNIE
Height: Tough to tell with all those stripes
Hobbies: Practical jokes (Ernie), Bottle cap collecting (Bert), Sparking rumors about the sexuality of puppets from a kids’ television program (Both)
The Bert and Ernie fight is a tough nut to crack. Separately, I’m pretty sure I could hold my own. Their greatest asset is how well they complement each other, and therein lies the problem: if I’m duking it out with one of these guys, the other is sure to be right there beside him. Ernie is pretty easily distracted, but he has the wingspan of a California condor. I’m not dodging any punches from that dude. And his laugh? My word…that laugh. It’s unnerving enough to play a psychological factor in the duel. Imagine squaring up with someone and hearing them let fly with a “Khkhkhkhkhkhkh” while their head bobs up and down.
Bert is the world’s biggest dork: he loves oatmeal, collects bottle caps and stamps, and wears a turtleneck under his sweater. However, there’s an aspect of his personality that gives me pause when it comes to this fist fight: Bert loves pigeons. You know who else has an eerie affection for pigeons?
Today’s episode is brought to you by the letter “Eth.”
Mike “The Baddest Man on the Planet” Tyson. Clearly there’s something about being a brutal fighter that leads to a love of flying rats. I think Bert might have a few tricks up his sweater sleeve.
Here’s how I see this fight going down:
I’d punch Ernie in the face as hard as I could, hoping to prevent him from laughing early on. He’d recover fairly quickly and pull some Inspector Gadget-type trick with those arms of his and box my ears. Seizing the opportunity, Bert would send his pet bird flying at my head to throw me off balance. I’d swing wildly, and he’d destroy my life with a haymaker. My only option would be using Ernie’s lack of discipline to lead him into a chaotic fight on the ground. I think if I got enough punches in, Bert would grow upset, get sick of seeing his best friend in pain, and call off the fight.
Typical Bert, being the bigger man.
WINNER: ME (ON A TECHNICALITY)
Age: 3 ½
Are you kidding me? No. I’m not fighting Elmo. I’m not some kind of monster.
Although…there are probably some heads out there who would love to see Elmo punched in the face…
Damn it, I said no!
WINNER: ELMO, I GUESS
CHALLENGER: MR. NOODLE
Character Trait: Absolutely useless in every way
I would demolish Mr. Noodle in a heartbeat, though. The man can’t tie his shoe without starting a house fire. He could cause a famine just by trying to water his petunias. He is the embodiment of incompetence, and he’s been getting away with it for far too long, if you ask me. It’s a safe bet that Mr. Noodle can’t even catch a cold the right way. Mr. Noodle can catch these hands. I’d lay him out easily, and I wouldn’t even feel slightly bad about it. Even if I did give him a chance to throw a punch, he’d probably wind up drowning in coconut milk or something.
You’re done for if I catch you on my block of Sesame Street, Mr. Noodle.
CHALLENGER: ABBY CADABBY
Height: Roughly knee-high
Power: Magic (Limited)
I will admit, Abby started appearing on Sesame Street well after my days of watching the show regularly were over. From what I know about her, she’s a pleasant fairy who loves learning new things. She can also appear out of and disappear into thin air and turn things into pumpkins. Pretty minor magic, but it’s still enough to intimidate me. I don’t care how much bigger and stronger I am than someone. If they whip out a magic wand and start transmogrifying stuff, my single goal is to get out of there alive. Abby Cadabby is no street fighter. She’s an actual fairy.
I’d give her a good kick and hightail it out of there before my head turns into a gourd.
WINNER: ABBY CADABBY
CHALLENGER: OSCAR THE GROUCH
Demeanor: Grouchy. He’s grouchy.
I relate to Oscar on a deeply personal level. All he wants is to be left alone, and by gum, his fellow residents of Sesame Street just won’t allow that. I respect that, but I’d still fight him given the chance.
As a Grouch, it wouldn’t take much to send Oscar flying into a rage if he started tussling. He lives in a trash can, so it’s a guarantee that he’s a scrappy individual. On the other hand, if he confines himself to that receptacle, his reach is severely limited. I think I’m quick enough to land a punch and jump back before he could retaliate.
Oscar is no fool, though, and would eventually catch on. He’d grab me and try to pull me into his can to enlist the help of his pet elephant Fluffy and her family. If that were to happen, I’m toast. “Fighting elephants in a confined space” is a phrase that only appears in obituaries. I would counter his attack by knocking his garbage bin on its side when he grabbed me.
In the confusion, I’d knee him in the chin and rain punches down on his head until he either went unconscious or decided I wasn’t worth the frustration and slammed the lid shut. Then I’d bang on his trash can for a few minutes, just to irritate him.
Fighting the various puppets who call Sesame Street home is a thankless task, but I’d do it without hesitation. Some might call it a crazy endeavor. My response is to point to all of the people throughout history who had “crazy” endeavors of their own: Ben Franklin. Joan of Arc. Meatloaf. I rest easy in the knowledge that after our bouts, my puppet foes and I could look past our cuts and bruises and see the greatest lesson Sesame Street could ever teach: keep your hands up.
Andrew can be found typing out the Street Fighter defeat-scream on Twitter.
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