SESAME STREET, NEW YORK — On Sesame Street this week, a favorite and beloved character met a new member of his family, who promptly insulted the garbage can he lives in. It was a moment for the two to have a difficult but necessary conversation about respect and dignity. When it was all over, Oscar the Grouch and his fat, orange, racist cousin Donny may not have been able to settle all their differences, but the venerable children’s show’s producers hope the interaction still taught valuable lessons.
“This place is a real White House,” Donny told Oscar as he threw the green grouch’s possessions around, “Ugh, just look at this place, Oscar. Nowhere near enough of garbage. It’s way too clean and orderly. Sure, you’ve got piles of trash and smelly old food, but I can tell you put thought and planning into the piles. What are you, some kind of Muslim praying to your Sharia god?”
Oscar was taken aback and highly insulted.
“Hey there, cousin,” Oscar shot back, “I don’t think that’s very fair of you to say. I think my house is perfectly disgusting enough for any grouch. I have tons of trash! Look at that rotting, moldy cheese pile over there. Oh, and also, that’s totally uncool what you just said about Muslims.”
“If the sharia hood fits,” Donny said, using his word for a hijab or burqa, which he doesn’t know the difference between, nor does he care to know.
Oscar tried again to get his cousin to see reason.
“Can’t you see how insulting it is to me,” Oscar said, “and any other grouch who has lived here to call it something like a White House?”
Donny shrugged yet again. Oscar could see he wasn’t getting anywhere. He tried a change of tactics.
“Look, Donny, can’t we just agree to disagree here,” Oscar asked, “Because we’ll never see eye to eye. Let’s talk about something else.”
Donny agreed to change the subject.
“Did you hear that some people want to build a wall around Sesame Street,” Donny asked, “Because I think that’s great.”
Oscar put his hands to his face.
“You know what kind of rifraff they send us from the Electric Company,” Donny asked, “We’re talking drug dealers, killers, and some, I suppose, are good people. But still, we need a wall to protect our Sesame culture. Our Sesame way of life.”
Oscar the Grouch just looked at the camera and raised his eyebrows while a slide whistle and tuba played a glissando downward.