K, who works for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit foundation behind Sesame Street (“and so much more,” says K), told me this morning that a new muppet will appear on the show next September. Correction: not a muppet. In 2004, The Jim Henson Company, run by the late Henson’s son and daughter, sold the muppet “property” to Disney. This included Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy and other less popular muppets, along with the Muppet Show and the various Muppet movies. Disney also acquired the term muppet, and so the puppet characters on Sesame Street are no longer referred to as muppets but friends. To confuse matters, some of these friends are also monsters. The distinction hinges on whether the friend represents a human. Non-human friends are monsters; human friends are just friends. The give-away is fur: only monsters are covered in fur. Thus Grover and Oscar are monsters, while Bert and Ernie are not. All four, however, are friends. The one exception to the fur rule is Big Bird, who is covered in feathers, not fur, but is still a monster, albeit an unrelentingly friendly one.
Anyway, K wouldn’t tell me anything about the new friend because it’s a big secret that no one outside of Sesame Workshop is supposed to know. I told her I understood, which really I didn’t, and instead I made up my own new friend. Her name is Terri, and she’s a self-described slutress. (As Terri explains it, calling herself a slutress is her way of reclaiming her feminine power.) Terri, who looks remarkably like a very young Stevie Nicks, is into various new age practices and phenomena such as channeling, reincarnation, and crystals. I picture her in a purple slip and many scarves. She has sex with all the other characters, friends and monsters alike, sometimes more than one at a time. Since she’ll only do this in the graveyard (you didn’t know there was a graveyard behind Sesame Street, did you?), she’s affectionately known as “Cemetery Terri.”