The news has hit some hard since the announcement that, this season on “Sesame Street,” Cookie Monster will begin leading a healthier lifestyle. The trademark “me love cookie” may soon be replaced with “me adore salad.” A somewhat healthier Cookie Monster is in response to the growing obesity rate among young people in the United States. Apparently the literacy rate isn’t a concern, because Cookie Monster’s English remains atrocious.

On the show’s website, Cookie Monster’s character bio gives a teaser of what’s to come:

This season, Cookie Monster learns a lot about health and nutrition. Hoots the Owl explains in a song that “A Cookie is a Sometimes Food,” and he joins Wycleff Jean in a rap song, “Healthy Food.”

If producers are intent on creating a world kids can relate to, the rap song will end with a shooting outside a nightclub.

The Cookie Monster’s cutting back on the tiny chocolate chip cholesterol discs comes a couple of years after the South African version of “Sesame Street” introduced a puppet named “Kami” who is HIV positive – hardly surprising in a profession that involves having a stranger’s hand up your backside all day. The new character was in response to the extremely high rate of HIV in South Africa, giving those children a character to whom they can relate.

Over time, as the characters continue to parallel society, and, in some cases, where the producers feel society should be, we could see all sorts of things happening on the show. “Sesame Street” is concerned with real-world reflection, and who understands the real world more than an organization that makes millions on merchandising and yet still receives public funding?

That aside, “relating to current trends” means we can probably look forward to other new characters. Muppets such as A. Dee-Dee and her sister Rital-Annie – both of whom are treated for hyperactivity via heavy medication and teach kids the valuable lesson that there isn’t any problem that can’t be handled by drugs – may be on the horizon.

Hal I. Burton could be introduced late this season to discuss economic and environmental issues, such as how he gets rich off high gas prices, while engaging in friendly confrontation with Enviro-Mental the Owl. The segments would demonstrate that, though people may disagree on drilling for oil in Alaska, they can still be friends. This will be highlighted in the song “ANWR Still Together.”

Petie Playstation may assist the Cookie Monster (who will by then be called the Lowfat Cottage Cheese Beast) in calling attention to the fitness problem in the United States. Overweight, ignorant of the world around him, and a coronary risk in the making, Petie Playstation, the cute little pig, could be the most popular character ever to crack the pavement on “Sesame Street.”

Sexual confusion can be covered by Humpy, a cute little camel with a testosterone imbalance. Humpy has his sights set on Diane Dromedary, and his struggles to keep his “happiness” hidden while in public will be chronicled daily on “Sesame Street.” Confused kids going through an early voice change would have a new best friend in Humpy.

Religion? Darr Winn, the shrill canary, can cover this area, in a symbolic sort of way. Darr is lactose intolerant, and goes on a legal quest to get Piggly Wiggly to stop selling milk to everybody else.

“Sesame Street” shouldn’t leave out kids with parents who are disenfranchised voters, either. Chad Dimpled, the furry monster with a dull stylus for a nose, could make frequent appearances during election cycles to teach kids that the inability of someone to perform one of the simplest tasks on the planet doesn’t make them stupid, it makes them special.

Current characters may see some changes as well. Future seasons on “Sesame Street” could show Big Bird’s battle with osteoporosis, Oscar the Grouch being “rescued” from his trash can by homeless advocates, leaving him homeless, and the Mexican character Rosita getting illegally detained near the border by rogue Minutemen.

Last, but certainly not least, the future may hold something that has been bound to happen for over 30 years. Bert and Ernie may announce that they have indeed been driving the wrong way down “Sesame Street” for decades. A “coming out” episode is inevitable in our sexually unabashed climate. Should this happen, Bert and Ernie will finally be free to voice their disgust with the show’s producers for making the overweight Ernie wear horizontal stripes, a fashion faux pas that has offended their natural senses for years.

Cutting back on cookies is only the beginning of the new and improved “Sesame Street.” As always, look both ways before crossing.

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