TF Archives

Underside - Grover vs Elmo

Author: Carlisle Rogers/Jack Cody
Monday, November 3, 2008


Soon you'll see
Super Grover flying in his cape
And then I'm coming back
So don't put on a tape. – Big Bird

Grover could easily defeat Elmo, due to his ability to don a Quixotic helmet and felt cape and fly. Grover could simply flit about haphazardly and flail his boneless limbs at Elmo. Super Grover is always announced as the ‘monster who is faster than lightning, stronger than steel, smarter than a speeding bullet,’ so who wouldn’t put their bets down on him-

Grover is tall, lanky with great reach, so even if his flimsy boneless limbs can’t pack much of a punch, he can still get a lot of free hits in while Elmo whimpers helplessly.

Elmo, on the other hand, is a fuzzy red weakling far less suited for battle, and more likely to laugh himself to death. All Grover has to do is tickle him and it’s all over. You’ve heard him laugh; there is hardly a second between those interminable giggles left for him to breathe.

Mostly though, Grover has a score to settle. Ever since Elmo started monopolising Sesame St, old favourites Oscar the Grouch, Grover and even Cookie Monster have been shafted out of roles. It’s like they fired Chevy Chase so Chris Rock could get a spot on SNL!

All Grover has to do is get his buddies, Oscar and Cookie, to back his arse up when the shit goes down…

Fade In to Elmo walking down a spooky alleyway, steam rises from manhole covers. “Elmo’s just going to take a piss down this alley, then go rent some prostitutes from all the money he’s made from movies…”

Suddenly, a dark, lanky figures saunters out of the haze at the end of the alley.

“Grover, what are you doing here-  Hey… stop… that tickles…”
“Die you will,” Grover drones, speaking like his old Jedi mentor, Yoda. “Take Grover’s job you will not. Teach you lesson I will.”

Grover deftly removes his Grover Kent outfit to reveal Super Grover.

“Elmo’s scared!”
“See if you can count how many times I hit you before you die,” Grover screams.
“One!” screams Elmo as Grover whips his flimsy arm into Elmo’s exposed eyeballs.  “Two! No fair! Elmo can’t close his eyes. That doesn’t tickle!”
“Three! Hey wait… Elmo feels no pain.  Muppets can’t die…you can never win!”

Grover contemplates this for a moment, floating like a felt puppet just out of Elmo’s reach, before coming up with an idea.

“Elmo,” he says, almost kindly.
“What’s that Velcro pocket on your back for-  The one that none of the other muppets have-”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Elmo says, slowly backing away now, his felt arms shaking, raised above his swollen plastic eggwhite eyes.
“I think you do,” Grover says, whooshing down upon Elmo in a blur of blue that becomes purple as the pair tumble together violently. In a last rush of ‘lightning speed’ Grover unzips the Velcro on Elmo’s back.
“Hee, hee, that tickles…”
“I'm going to do something now they used to do in Vietnam. It's called making a head on a stick,” says Grover as he rips the nine-volt battery out of Elmo leaving him lying there, paralysed but staring, dumb, up at Grover’s matted blue fur.

“See- Head on a stick!”

Carlisle Rogers


Before I get into how Elmo could beat Grover, I’d like to tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a great lord in Japan, very enamoured of his fighting cocks, and very eager for them to defeat the birds of his fellow lords.
The great lord approached a local Zen master, who humbly accepted the lord. The lord asked the master to train him a fighting cock that could not be beaten. The master agreed.

One week later, the lord enquired of the master’s progress thus far. He replied, “We are making excellent progress, but the bird still gets too angry.” Two weeks later, the lord asked again how the master was going. He replied, “Even better, dear lord, but the bird still remains agitated when confronted.” Three weeks later, the master brought the lord his fighting cock, and announced him free of the desire to fight.

“You have ruined him,” the lord cried.

“Nonsense,” the master replied. “He has no fear of other birds. Their aggression stems from fear. So any cock placed in front of this bird will be far too afraid to attack him. He will win every battle.”

Elmo is like the Zen fighting cock. His calm demeanour allows him to retain a level head while Grover flits about like a Spanish bull, mindlessly wasting his energy. This is most finely embodied in Elmo’s endless laughter. He is like the masters of old, who could laugh at any calamity, because they were above, away from the world already.

Elmo is a great teacher, and like all great teachers, he teaches us the simplest truths. In the end, Elmo may not be able to destroy Grover, but he can defend and deflect the snorting attacks of this lithe blue monster long enough for the world to see Grover for what he really is. A great big imperialist bully. Then, when terrorists fly toy planes into Grover, everyone on Sesame St will know, without saying it out loud, he really was asking for it.

And Elmo, with his childlike wonder and wisdom of the ages, will still be around helping Telly Monster with his problems.

Jack Cody