Childhood obesity has gotten a lot of attention, with some studies saying that more than 15 percent of American kids are obese. Sesame Street has gotten involved in a big way. First, though, it had to deal with Cookie Monster, who spent all his time over the years extolling the virtues of empty calories and ample sugar content. Cookie Monster repented in April, vowing he’d cut back on the cookies, which he now feels are a “sometimes food.” (This is coming from a monster whose song archive includes the classic “Dear Mr. Cookie, You Made Me Love You”.) Leaving Cookie Monster alone while he rehabs, Sesame Street has enlisted Cookie’s clean-living buddy, Grover, a hirsute purple monster with a lanky runner’s build. An avowed exercise fanatic, Grover is Sesame Street’s spokespuppet for its “Happy Healthy Summer” initiative. Over on washingtonpost.com, Grover gave an online chat about exercise and healthy eating, while deftly dodging some sticky questions, like how committed Cookie Monster is to his new lifestyle, whether he views Elmo as a hated rival and how he can eat fruit and vegetables without teeth. Like a true politician, Grover not only pushes the fruit-and-vegetable agenda. He adds: “I also have a special fondness for legumes!” Also, in the interest of fairness, I think it should be pointed out that Grover is not without his detractors, which allege everything from womanizing to drunkenness.
—Posted by Brian Morrissey