Every time I do reviews for Halloween, I try to include something for the kids. In the past, I’ve reviewed Paul Lynde’s Halloween special and a Fat Albert special. So when I found ELMO SAYS BOO! on Amazon Prime, I figured it would be a nice throwback to my childhood watching Sesame Street. I’ve never gone in on Elmo, and still don’t see what’s the big deal about him, but I loved Jim Henson’s Muppets on PBS when I was a kid, so I figured I’d have fun with the show’s take on Halloween. Sadly, age has gotten the better of me and I didn’t have nearly as much fun with BOO! as I’d hoped for.
The premise couldn’t be simpler: Elmo has come to the Count’s creepy castle to tell him Halloween jokes. The Count’s got some numbered jokes in return, and in between their exchanges the editor cut in skits from Sesame Street revolving around monsters. The framework is pretty lame, not because of the Count or the castle, but because the jokes are so bad. I know, I know, these are jokes for kids. And I can laugh at them at that level, but I wish they were a little more clever. I understand that no six-year-olds have two degrees in English as I do, but those two degrees ruin my appreciation for puns on words such as “rollercoaster” and “bananas.”
The question is, would six-year-old Phillie laugh at these jokes? Yeah. Yeah, he would have. And he’d also appreciate the magic of Henson’s creature creations, and the sheer joy they can bring to people of all ages. Even my adult self, who’s still a self-professed Ernie lover, smiled at a dance routine starring Ernie and an Egyptian statue. It’s nice to see One! Two! Three! Four! monsters and more in the skits as well. And hey, the Count is a vampire who lives in a spooky castle with talking suits of shining armor. That’s right in my wheelhouse.
As for Elmo… I’ll never get why he became iconic for a new generation of kids. His voice is annoying, and he looks like a smaller, red, much less cool version of Grover, who still tops my Muppets list. Grover is conspicuous by his absence, which is a damn shame, as he would’ve at least partially redeemed BOO! for me. But about halfway through, you’ll get a very young Julia Roberts instead. Not the tradeoff I’d want, but hey.
If you have young kids, or if you have any sense of nostalgia for those times you sat in front of the TV watching Sesame Street on PBS as a kid, give ELMO SAYS BOO! a watch. The only things likely to scare you are the corny jokes, but when was the last time you heard someone say “boo-nana” in a horror flick? As the Count would say, HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!