Think of the Parents!

Really, kid-show scandals are rarely about the kids

Illustration by Lincoln Agnew for TIME; Clash: Tanner Curtis for TIME; Boy: Getty Images

Like any good 21st century American parent, I came to develop a healthy loathing for the voice of Elmo at some point in my sons' toddlerhood. He squeaked from the TV. He squealed from talking books. One Elmo guitar toy, somewhere in a bin behind the couch, would begin singing of its own accord late at night, a babyish, high-pitched wail of the damned.

So when I heard Elmo on a float in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade singing "Nothing's gonna bring us down!" I was surprised to find myself tearing up a little. This time, it was not from...

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