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|Sesame Street character|
|First appearance||1966: unaired Wheels, Crowns and Flutes commercials (as the Wheels-stealer)|
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Performed by||Frank Oz (1969–2004)|
David Rudman (2001–present)
|Alias||Sidney Monster, Alistair Cookie, Arnold, Wheel-Stealer|
|Species||Muppet Monster (Wheel-Stealer in 1966)|
Cookie Monster is a blue Muppet character on the long-running PBS/HBO children's television show Sesame Street. In a song in 2007, and later in an interview in 2017, Cookie Monster revealed that his real name is Sidney Monster. He is best known for his voracious appetite and his famous eating catchphrases, such as "Me want cookie!" Although he eats almost anything, including normally inedible objects, as his name suggests, his preferred food is cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are his favorite kind. Despite his voracious appetite for cookies, Cookie Monster shows awareness of healthy eating habits for young children and also enjoys fruits and eggplant.
He is known to have a mother, a younger sister, and an identically-designed cousin (who does not like cookies). All three share his characteristic blue fur and "googly eyes". He also has a father, who appeared in a Monsterpiece Theater sketch promoting energy conservation, water conservation and environmentalism. Cookie Monster's mother and father both share his enormous appetite and craving for cookies. He and his Sesame Street friends are popular motifs on T-shirts.
The book Jim Henson's Designs and Doodles explains Cookie Monster's origin as follows: "In 1966, Henson drew three monsters that ate cookies and appeared in a General Foods commercial that featured three crunchy snack foods: Wheels, Crowns and Flutes. Each snack was represented by a different monster. The Wheel-Stealer was a short, fuzzy monster with wonky eyes and sharply pointed teeth. The Flute-Snatcher was a speed demon with a long, sharp nose and windblown hair. The Crown-Grabber was a hulk of a monster with a Boris Karloff accent and teeth that resembled giant knitting needles."
"These monsters had insatiable appetites for the snack foods they were named after. Each time the Muppet narrator, a human-looking fellow, fixes himself a tray of Wheels, Flutes and Crowns, they disappear before he can eat them. One by one, the monsters sneak in and zoom away with the snacks. Frustrated and peckish, the narrator warns viewers that these pesky monsters could be disguised as someone in your own home, at which point the monsters briefly turn into people and then dissolve back to monsters again."
As it turns out, these commercials were never aired — but all three monsters had a future in the Muppet cast. The "Crown-Grabber" was used in a sketch on The Ed Sullivan Show, in which he ruins a girl's beautiful day. Known from then on as the Beautiful Day Monster, he made a number of appearances on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. The "Flute-Snatcher" turned into Snake Frackle, a background monster from The Great Santa Claus Switch and The Muppet Show.
In 1967, Henson used the "Wheel-Stealer" puppet for an IBM training film called Coffee Break Machine. In the sketch, called "The Computer Dinner", the monster (with frightening eyes and fangs) devours a complex coffee making machine as it describes its different parts. When he is finished, the machine announces the monster has activated the machine's anti-vandalism system, which contains the most powerful explosives known to man. The monster promptly explodes. This sketch was also performed in October 1967 on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was also later performed on the George Burns episode of The Muppet Show' using the Luncheon Counter Monster.
Two years later, Henson used a similarly-designed and equally ravenous monster for three commercials selling Munchos, a Frito-Lay potato chip. This time, the puppet was called Arnold, the Munching Monster. After the three ads were produced, Henson had the opportunity to renew the contract. He chose not to, because at that point he was working on Sesame Street — and that monster puppet was moving on to the next stage in his career. According to Frank Oz, in a later routine the then unnamed monster won a quiz show and for winning was "given the choice of $10,000 cash, a new car, a trip to Hawaii, or a cookie." He took the cookie and from then on he was Cookie Monster.
Cookie Monster, still unnamed, made his Sesame Street debut in the first episode, interfering with Kermit the Frog's "famous W lecture" by eating a model "W" bit by bit. He turns it into an "N", a "V", and finally an "I", to Kermit's frustration. He then tries to eat Kermit.
It was during the first season that Cookie Monster got his name and began using the growly vernacular (e.g., "Me eat cookie!") that would become part of his character. His signature song, "C Is For Cookie", was first aired during the 1971–72 season, and became one of the best-known songs from Sesame Street.
In 2006, in response to growing concerns about record levels of childhood obesity in the United States, Sesame Street began airing segments titled Healthy Habits for Life. In these segments, the Muppet characters of Sesame Street talk about healthy habits, such as eating properly and exercising. The Healthy Habits for Life segments spawned Internet rumors that Cookie Monster's name had been changed to Veggie Monster or would be taken off the show entirely.
On February 10, 2008, NPR host Elizabeth Blair interviewed Cookie Monster for the All Things Considered segment In Character. He answered the Proust Questionnaire, as well as revealing some of his favorite and non-favorite things.
In a June 19, 2008, appearance on The Colbert Report, Cookie Monster again explained that "Cookies are a sometimes food." Colbert had asked agitatedly why Cookie Monster had "abandoned the pro-cookie agenda" and thus caused fruit to become the favorite snack of American children, according to a study Colbert had heard. Colbert criticized Cookie Monster for not wearing a cookie lapel pin. Cookie Monster also claimed to have "crazy times during the '70s and '80s", referring to himself as "the Robert Downey Jr. of cookies." After eating a cookie to prove he still likes cookies, Cookie Monster asked if the Peabody Award, a round medallion on a small pedestal, was a cookie. When Colbert returned to speak to Cookie Monster at the end of the show, the award had disappeared and Cookie Monster was wiping his mouth with a napkin.
On November 24, 2010, Cookie Monster started a Facebook page as part of a campaign to host Saturday Night Live. Though his bid to host Saturday Night Live failed, he was allowed to appear with Jeff Bridges when Jeff hosted the show and sang the Christmas song "Silver Bells".
Rudman officially became Cookie Monster in Sesame Street's 2002 season (taped 2001). Oz continued to occasionally perform Cookie Monster until 2004.
Various toys and other icons of the Cookie Monster have been produced over the years. The most obvious is a cookie jar, of which numerous types have been available.
Numerous children's books featuring Cookie Monster have been published over the years:
- Happy Birthday, Cookie Monster
- Cookie Monster's Kitchen
- Cookie Monster's Christmas
- A Cookie Gone Wrong - Monster's Story
- Biggest Cookie in the World
- Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree
- Cookie Monster's Good Time to Eat
- Cookie Monster's Blue Book
- Cookie Monster, Where are You?
- Cookie Monster!
- Cookie Monster's Activity Book
- Cookie Monster Mammoth Color
- Cookie Monster's Book of Cookie Shapes
- Monster and the Surprise Cookie
- Sesame Street: Wanted, the Great Cookie Thief
Familiar to generations of Sesame Street watchers, Cookie Monster is remembered for his gluttony and his deep, rumbly distinctive voice.
In 1990 U.S. Budget Director Richard Darman wrote an introduction to the federal budget with a section "Green Eyeshades and the Cookie Monster" in which he called Cookie "the quintessential consumer", and the enormous budget "the Ultimate Cookie Monster."
As all monsters are, Cookie Monster is initially intimidating. His manner is gruff. His clumsiness occasionally causes damage. But quickly, Cookie Monster comes to be seen as benign—indeed, downright friendly. He has a few bad habits. He cannot resist gobbling up anything and everything that might be consumed, especially cookies. And he cannot quite control the way he spews forth crumbs. He is the quintessential consumer... The budget, for all its intimidating detail, might be seen similarly: as the Ultimate Cookie Monster. ... Its massive presence might be understood as little more than a compilation of cookies received, cookies crumbled, and crumbs spewed forth. Yet, apt though the Cookie Monster perspective may be, it does not suffice...
In the Food Network program Good Eats episode "Three Chips for Sister Marsha" (first aired December 13, 2000), a puppet named Maj. Wilfred D. Cookie who looks like a green version of Cookie Monster appears. Asked about his well-known "brother", he responds, "I told you never to mention that ruffian. All he knows about cookies is how to shovel them into his face." In the Fox animated series Family Guy episode "Model Misbehavior", Cookie Monster is shown in a psychiatric hospital, repeatedly foiling drug rehab-styled efforts to cure his cookie addiction.
We wanted his name to indicate that he was obsessed, like Cookie Monster is obsessed with cookies. So we used 'Trekkie' both because it sounded like 'cookie' and because Trekkies are, by definition, obsessive fanatics.
John Lennon's song "Hold On", recorded in 1970 (only a year after Sesame Street debuted), features Lennon shouting "Cookie!" in Cookie Monster's voice, in the middle of the instrumental break in an otherwise calm, quiet song. Ringo Starr, aware of Lennon's love for Cookie Monster, also screams "Cookie!" in Cookie Monster's voice in his song "Early 1970", released in 1971.
In the Family Guy episode "Back to the Pilot", due to alterations in the past, Stewie thinks Cookie Monster could have invented Facebook; in this timeline, he would have called it "Cookiebook". In The Empire Strikes Back spoof "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side", Cookie Monster is cast as the Wampa.
When the Apple personal assistant Siri is asked the question, "what is zero divided by zero", Siri responds with the answer: "Imagine that you have zero cookies and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn’t make sense. And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies, and you are sad that you have no friends."
On March 16, 2016, Apple released an ad titled "Timer" starring Cookie Monster, where he uses the "Hey Siri" feature in the iPhone 6S to set a timer and play an album while he waits for cookies to bake.
A popular internet parody of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, titled "Sea is for Cookie", was created for a Reddit Adobe Photoshop competition. The piece features the wave with googly eyes and cookies in the crest, resembling Cookie Monster eating cookies.
- "Cookie Monster curbs cookie habit". BBC News. 2005-04-11. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- Sesame Street - "The First Time Me Eat Cookie". May 4, 2007. Event occurs at 0:30.
Me was just a mild-mannered little kid. In fact, back then, me think me name was Sid. Yeah, yeah.
- "Cookie Monster: Me wasn't ..." Sesame Street (sesamestreet) on Twitter. 10 August 2010.
Me wasn’t born with name "Cookie Monster." It just nickname dat stuck. Me don’t remember me real name… maybe it was Sidney?
- "The Cast of 'Sesame Street' Answer the Web's Most Searched Questions". WIRED Autocomplete interview. 22 February 2017. Event occurs at 7:22.
Is Cookie Monster's real name Sid? Yeah, truly it is. Me real name Sid Monster.
- "CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES w/ COOKIE MONSTER! - NERDY NUMMIES". 1 November 2016. Event occurs at 0:47.
We're gonna be making my favorite chocolate chip cookie. That me favorite too! Chocolate chip cookie.
- Jim Henson's 1966 test commercial for General Foods Canada snack products Wheels, Flutes and Crowns on the Jim Henson Company's YouTube official channel.
- Inches, Allison (February 2001). Jim Henson's Designs and Doodles: A Muppet Sketchbook. New York City: Harry N. Abrams. p. 93. ISBN 9780810932401.
- "Not My Job: We Quiz Frank Oz On L. Frank Baum, Author Of 'Wizard Of Oz'". NPR.
- Blair, Elizabeth (2008-02-11). "Cookie Monster: A Sweet, Sensual Id, Unfiltered". All Things Considered: In Character. NPR. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Carter, Chelsea J (2005-04-07). "Cookie Monster: 'Me eat less cookies'". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- Adamick, Mike (November 20, 2007). "Why is Cookie Monster eating carrots?". SF Gate (blog).
- Graham, Trey (2008-02-11). "On Air: Cookie Monster". The 'In Character' Blog. NPR. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Cookie Monster (2008-06-19). "Cookie Monster". The Colbert Report (Interview: video). Interviewed by Stephen Colbert. Comedy Central. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- "Cookie Monster auditions to be 'SNL' host – The Marquee Blog". CNN. 2010-11-24.
- "'SNL' Clip of Jeff Bridges Dueting With Cookie Monster Becomes Viral Video Hit". The Hollywood Reporter. 2010-12-19.
- "And an Emmy would be just right". Chicago Tribune. 2004-03-24. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
- "The 1991 Budget: Excerpts from Darman". The New York Times. 1990-01-27. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- Light, Paul Charles (1999). The President's Agenda (3rd ed.). JHU Press. pp. 235. ISBN 0-8018-6066-0.
- "EA1C05: Three Chips for Sister Marsha". Good Eats Fan Page. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
- "Model Misbehavior". Family Guy. Season 4. Episode 10. 24 July 2005. Fox Broadcasting Company. – Cookie Monster hides a plate of cookies under his sheets. Later, Lois finds him in the women's bathroom, cooking a spoonful of cookie dough with a cigarette lighter in the same manner as a heroin addict.
- Pincus-Roth, Zachary (November 2006). Avenue Q: The Book. Hyperion. p. 84. ISBN 1-4013-0298-X.
Trekkie Monster is much like the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster—but with a more adult weakness... Marx: We wanted his name to indicate that he was obsessed, like Cookie Monster is obsessed with cookies. So we used 'Trekkie' both because it sounded like 'cookie' and because Trekkies are, by definition, obsessive fanatics.
- Fusilli, Jim (February 1, 2006). "That's Good Enough for Me". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on January 3, 2009.
- "Back to the Pilot". Family Guy. Season 10. Episode 5. 13 November 2011. Fox Broadcasting Company. – Stewie ponders if Brian changing the past may have resulted in Cookie Monster inventing Cookiebook instead of Facebook.
- "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side". Family Guy. Season 8. Episode 20. 23 May 2010. Fox Broadcasting Company. – Cookie runs away crying after Luke Skywalker (Chris Griffin) cuts off his arm.
- Marlow Stern, "Ask Siri What Zero Divided By Zero Is and Receive the Best Response Ever", The Daily Beast, 30 June 2015.
- Stephanie Webber, "Cookie Monster Responds to Siri's Amazing Zero Divided By Zero Answer", Us Weekly, 1 July 2015.
- "Apple enlists help of Cookie Monster to highlight 'Hey Siri' in new iPhone 6s ad". AppleInsider. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
- Streams, Kimber (2014-01-24). "Sea Is for Cookie, A Mashup of Cookie Monster and 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa'". Laughing Squid. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
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