Hearing that Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street following a lawsuit from a second accuser, this one a man in his 30s alleging the Elmo puppeteer had a relationship with him while he was underaged, was bad enough. Then we realized Clash was also the voice of Baby from the sitcom Dinosaurs and Splinter in the TMNT movies. Three things we loved as children…sullied. Of course, Clash’s crisis isn’t the first time a kids’ TV show has become embroiled in a scandal. In fact, it’s not even the first time Sesame Street has!
1) Katy Perry’s Risque Play Clothes
Sesame Street was forced to cut a “Hot n Cold” parody duet between Katy Perry and Elmo in September 2010 after the video was released online and viewers noticed Perry’s bosoms exploding out of her low-cut dress. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but everyone knows the human breast will strike a toddler blind where he or she stands. Right? We learned that in college.
2) Tinky Winky’s Alternative Lifestyle
Obviously purple Teletubby Tinky Winky must be a homosexual, despite the fact that he’s an cuddly androgynous monster living in an entirely fictional universe. That’s what conservative pundit Jerry Falwell claimed in 1999 at least, pointing to Tinky’s purple fur, triangle head and purse as proof. Oh no! The three things that will turn your toddler gay on sight! We also learned about that in college. Did we mention we went to college in the back of a bowling alley?
3) Pokemon’s Seizure-Inducing Visuals
Pokemon will also turn your kid gay. Just kidding! Pokemon may, however, cause him or her to have seizures. The animated Pokemon episode Dennō Senshi Porygon, or Electric Soldier Porygon, aired in Japan on December 16, 1997. The ep featured flashing blue and red lights as well as stobe lights, the disorienting effects of which allegedly put 685 viewers in the hospital. Oh, but if we’d only known the medical risks of catching them all!
4) The Pee Wee Incident
After delighting kids and adults alike with the innocent weirdness of enthusiastic man-child Pee Wee Herman on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse since 1986, actor Paul Reubens was arrested for masturbating publicly in a porno theater in 1991. The granddaddy of all kids’ TV show scandals essentially ended Reubens run as Pee Wee, and, unsuprisingly, does not get any less upsetting to type twenty years after the fact.
5) Bob The Builder’s Potty Mouth
The animators behind Bob The Builder had to remaster and rerelease the Bob The Builder Christmas special back in 1999 after parents complained that it sounded as if the tiny construction worker mumbled, “f—ing hell” under his breath, despite the obvious fact that there is no way they would have Bob actually say that. The words Bob actually said? “I don’t know. I thought this was going to be easy.” Didn’t we all, Bob. Didn’t we all.
[Photo: Getty Images/ HIT Entertainment PLC/Pee Wee Pictures/OLM-Animation Studio/Children's Television Workshop (CTW)]