Oscar The Grouch: Hockey-Lovin’ Maple Syrup Jockey

It is a frightening time in America. Beloved institutions like Aerosmith and Myspace are crumbling. On the TV landscape, FOX has completely handed over its Sunday night line-up to Seth MacFarlane, who used the opportunity last night to make his six thousandth Marlee Matlin joke (which involved the real Marlee Matlin, a clear display of MacFarlane’s growing power and influence). Elsewhere, children are having to grapple with the reality of the iPhone’s less-than-advertised battery life, Bunco continues unabated, and that community college upstate refuses to mail me the fifty dollars I earned taking that construction survey, even though I made it quite clear I live too far away for an in-person visit.

In such a hostile era, it helps to remember and cling to seemingly invincible pieces of childhood nostalgia. I’m talking about unshakable entities such as the Ring Pop, Warwick Davis, and, of course, “Sesame Street.” “Sesame Street” is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this week, which is quite a milestone for any puppet-based form of entertainment. For four decades now, OCD-stricken vampires and clinically depressed woolly mammoths have helped young people with the most basic of learning skills, gently shaping our culture into one that laughs warmly whenever a giant ball of blue fur and googly eyes is spotted destroying a plate of baked goods while grunting in broken English. “Sesame Street” is also important for employing an actor named Northern Calloway, surely the greatest name any actor has ever boasted on screen or off.

What’s most important about “Sesame Street,” I feel, is that it is a uniquely American invention, one whose many characters and personalities could only have sprung from our purple mountain’s majesty, our various fruited plains, our endless array of strip malls and shopping centers. To stare into the eyes of those aliens who go, “Yip, yip, yip, yip!” all the time is to stare into two hundred some-odd years of red, white, and blue; no way could a Romanian or Estonian production company have birthed such endearing entities as Telly the Insecure Purple Monster (he’s just like my grandma!) or caped spazz-out king Super Grover. Indeed, “Sesame Street” and its every facet is uniquely, inarguably, unequivocally American.

Except for Oscar the Grouch, who is apparently Canadian.

Yes, friends, in late October the news broke from the green lips of the Grouch himself. He was appearing on our northern neighbors’ QTV as a part of “Canadian Waste Reduction Week.” Less than two minutes into the chat, Oscar revealed that his father was born in New Brunswick and his mother hailed from Nova Scotia.

“I try to keep [my Canadian roots] a secret,” the Muppet later said, going on to claim that “a lot of people in the world probably like Canadians better than America,” and that he’s wary of having people like him.

“Never admit you’re Canadian,” Oscar warned his fellow toque-wearing hose-heads.

Oscar the Grouch’s true heritage comes as a shocking blow to scores of Americans who held his pessimistic outlook and nasty habits as the ultimate symbol of our country’s pride. New Yorkers must be particularly upset; it was long believed that Oscar hailed from one of the slummier parts of the Bronx. Unfortunately, at press time most Big Apple residents were still too inebriated from celebrating the Yankees’ World Series win to offer any thoughts beyond, “Jeter rules! Fuck those queers in Philly!”

I, for one, am heartbroken at the news our trash can-dwelling friend is nothing more than a log-splittin’, hockey-lovin’ maple syrup jockey from the country that gave us one of (if not the) least profitable Olympic Games of the past thirty-five years. How are we supposed to go on this week celebrating “Sesame Street” when they’ve been keeping secrets like this from us? What’s next – Elmo’s Danish? Big Bird’s a Russkie? Who knows which Muppets are outsourced and which are true Americans anymore? It’s almost enough to make you wish Joe McCarthy was still alive (interrogating Muppets is probably the only thing they’d let him do if he was).

The real question, though, is how do we explain this to the children? It’s a delicate topic. I suggest sitting them down in front of a roaring fire with a big mug of Ovaltine and easing your way in with talk of Gary Carter and Kelly Gruber. After you have revealed the truth about Oscar and if their reaction isn’t too strong, perhaps you can broach the subject of other Canucks on the down low, such as Dan Aykroyd, Jim Carrey, and Loverboy.

Stay strong, America. We can get through this tangled web of Grouch lies.

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