One evening in mid-2020, I couldn’t say exactly when because time had no shape or meaning in those days, I was engaged in a toxic practice common to so many at the time: I was doom scrolling. The dark, never-ending cycle of news was like a train wreck that we knew we should look away from but couldn’t. There was no good news to be found anywhere, and it was messing with my head.
Just when I thought I would lose my mind, I stumbled across a tweet from a beloved childhood friend.
“How many cookies you eat today? Me lost count for meself,” read the tweet, which had an avatar of a familiar blue fuzzy face with wild googly eyes. It was, of course, Cookie Monster. And it was from the Sesame Street Twitter account.
The tweet was from late March, a time when most of us were locked indoors, stuffing our faces with cookies to distract from the uncertainty of it all.
I felt my mood lift instantly and proceeded to scroll back for more of Cookie’s words of wisdom, all of which were sweetly innocent yet fully tapped into what was happening in the world.
“I just took a DNA test, turns out me 100% cookies,” he tweeted in September 2019, hopping on a format that was popular on Twitter at the time.
After reading his entire feed I felt like Cookie does about cookies- I wanted more. I dug deeper and found the Sesame Street Twitter accounts of more of my childhood favourites, including Grover, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo, Bert and Ernie, and the spectacularly soothing Count von Count.
The Count’s tweets consist entirely of consecutive numbers, which he posts twice a day. They feel like a meditation of sorts, a way of bringing our wandering minds back to the present. He is concerned only with placing one number in front of the next, perhaps a subtle form of reminding us to take life one step at a time. As of today, he’s up to “Three thousand fifty-five!” But it’s not just the numbers that feel soothing; his signature laugh appears every few days and leaves me smiling.
Each character tweets in a voice that is distinctly their own, providing an opportunity for adults to enjoy more of what we’ve always loved about Sesame Street; wholesome content for kids overlaid with wit and cultural relevance that speaks to their parents.
My nostalgia for the Sesame Street characters comes not only from my childhood but from the time I spent watching the show (and DVDs and YouTube videos) with my own kids, so I’m relating to Oscar the Grouch and the rest as my younger and adult selves simultaneously. With well over a million followers between the characters, it’s clear that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
The characters tweet at each other, too, often wishing each other a happy birthday or congratulations on an achievement, which engenders a culture of positivity and support. Those supportive vibes spill over into the comments section too, and that is something rare to see on an app that is a hotbed of judgmental and hostile rhetoric.
While all of the tweets are clean and suitable for children of any age, it’s actually the parents who are on Twitter. So when Oscar the Grouch tweets, “I made a wish. I wish you’d go away!” or “Mondays, bleh,” we feel like we have an ally in the parenting game who understands that adulting is complicated. Even though we know deep down that people are running these accounts- possibly the people who write for the show- we allow ourselves to believe Ernie himself is telling us how much he loves sweater weather even though he seems to have only one sweater. And when Grover writes, “What are you doing RIGHT NOW? (Besides reading the words “What are you doing RIGHT NOW?”)”, he’s cracking a wry joke just for us.
If you ever find your mood lagging and need an instant pick-me-up, I highly recommend visiting your furry pals over on Twitter and Instagram. Just seeing their faces will be enough to make you smile. But, if you get to the end of all of their feeds and still need more cheer, fear not; Muppets Twitter is right there waiting for you.