Not even a restful weekend of continued wiretapping news coverage was enough to assuage concerns over Donald Trump’s proposed budget. One of the disconcerting fiscal outline’s most controversial cuts includes funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which is one of many items considered non-essential by Trump’s budget guru Mick Mulvaney and the White House team that but the budget together. So of course somebody went and made a Sesame Street parody about Elmo getting laid off.
“Elmo, it does me no great joy to inform you that due to recent cuts in government funding to PBS, you are no longer employed by Sesame Street Workshop,” an unidentified person says off camera. “Elmo, you’re being laid off.” Needless to say, the fuzzy red hand puppet with a high-pitched voice is taken aback:
“Just like that? Elmo’s been working at Sesame Street for 32 years… Elmo’s rent just went up… Elmo hasn’t been unemployed since the ’80s. What’s going to happen to Elmo’s insurance? Elmo has pre-existing condition.”
While Jimmy Kimmel Live beat everyone to the punch with a Celebrity Apprentice–Sesame Street mashup in which Big Bird gets fired, What’s Trending’s Elmo video ties into more of the details informing Trump’s proposed budget and its ill effects. Like the fact that its doing away with the National Endowment for the Arts and similar programs would cut the significant kids programming put out by PBS. Even the very children (and parents) who benefit from these shows have spoken out about their potential loss, though Republican lawmakers have generally ignored or outright run away from such criticism.
With the recent move to HBO, Sesame Street‘s characters will likely persevere should the White House get its way. Yet not all PBS programming designed for younger audiences — especially those shows with an educational bent — gets extra funding from the network behind Game of Thrones, Westworld and other series watched by parents. Plus, while local PBS affiliates are broadcast and streamed into homes for free, low-income families can’t afford HBO.