So I was thinking, now that Sesame Street is on HBO, they can up the ante a little. I’m not talking about going all Breaking Bad or anything. But just a little more edgy. In fact, I feel like there’s a pretty obvious Sesame Street movie plot that could be elevated just a bit.
Here’s the plot: through some unlikely contrivance, Elmo, the lovable, hirsute preschooler with an inexplicable inability to master pronouns, switches places with South American revolutionary El Moe. The film alternates between Elmo bringing his particular brand of childlike wonder and charm to the harsh world of guerilla warfare, while El Moe learns the value of friendship and happiness and how to count to ten.
Plus, here’s the twist: This isn’t some rehash of Muppets Most Wanted, where the swapped characters are identical. El Moe and Elmo don’t look alike. El Moe isn’t even a muppet. He’s a dude.
But no one notices. Not even the camera. When they’re both on-screen at the same time, there’s a visible seam down the middle like it’s a cheaply done process shot. El Moe wanders around Sesame Street as an adult man dressed like Che Guevara, but everyone treats him like Elmo.
Maybe right at the very end, the gang from Sesame Street reveal that, actually they knew the whole time but just assumed it was a game or something and were humoring him.
Or maybe the reason no one notices that Elmo and El Moe are so different is that El Moe isn’t real: that in fact, Elmo was El Moe the whole time; back in the early ’80s, the famous South American Muppet Revolutionary had suffered a psychotic break and disappeared, reinventing himself as an innocent child to silence the demons of his past. Of course he is, that’s why Elmo hasn’t learned to use pronouns in thirty-five years; the trigger phrase that will bring out his suppressed personality is “I am El Moe.”
So what do you think? This ridiculous “Not Elmo; EL MOE,” thing has been bouncing around my head for a long time, and I think it’s high time to make it real.