The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
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Elmo and his blanket are best friends. But when it gets dirty, he has to go to the Laundromat. On his way home, he sees Zoe who's sad because her dad didn't take her to the zoo. Elmo cheers her up by "bringing the zoo to her." Afterward Zoe wants to hold Elmo's blanket, but he refuses and a tug-of-war ensues. Suddenly, Telly whips through the scene on rollerblades and knocks the blanket into the air. It lands in Oscar the Grouch's hands, he sneezes into it and throws it into his trash can. By the time Elmo tracks down his blanket, Oscar is gone and an inpatient Elmo dives into the can in search of his friend. He finds the blanket, but as he tries to pull it off the wall he opens a secret door and gets sucked into Grouchland. Elmo quickly gets "unwelcomed" and meets Huxley, the villain, who takes everything he sees and never shares. Huxley seizes Elmo's blanket as his own and takes it back to his castle on Mount Pickanose, leaving Elmo to try and rescue Oscar.
Positive Elements: Elmo always tries to cheer up his friends when they're down. He's also very polite, and his kindness wins out in the end. Even Oscar admits that Elmo is his friend. Elmo tells the evil Huxley, "It's not nice to take things that don't belong to you." Queen of Trash sings that things may look like junk, until you get a different point of view. She also helps Elmo see that he acted like Huxley when he didn't share his blanket with Zoe. Huxley has free reign in Grouchland, because the grouches refuse to work as a team—but then they band together to defeat him. Friendship, helping and sharing are stressed throughout, which could lead to some good discussions.
Spiritual Content: Marginal. Elmo dresses as a snake charmer in the opening song.
Sexual Content and Nudity: Also marginal. The Queen of Trash wears a skimpy costume.
Violent Content: A giant chicken tries to eat Elmo. But anytime things get scary or the outcome seems uncertain, Burt and Ernie interrupt the movie to let the kids know everything's going to be okay.
Drugs or Alcohol Content: None.
Crude or Profane Language: Several characters say "Gee." Elmo gets mad and tells Zoe, "You're not my friend anymore." Grouchland is truly the "stinkiest" place on earth with its residents producing many burping and flatulent noises. One of the Stenchmen says, "Your tushy bone is crushing my skull." And the audience is encouraged to make "raspberry" noises to help Elmo get away from the Queen of Trash.
Summary: The Jim Henson Company and the Children's Television Workshop kept their target audience of 4-year-olds in mind with the simple story line, upbeat lighting, fun sets and well-known Sesame Street characters. The bad guys are at times a bit dark, but Burt and Ernie try to keep the mood optimistic. In fact, at the beginning of the movie Ernie encourages everybody in the audience to help Elmo at certain parts and little kid voices are dubbed in cheering, answering questions or making raspberry noises to help the audience get involved. The kids even get to clap for themselves at the end and Elmo concludes the movie by saying, "Elmo love you." Kids and parents will agree: He's pretty lovable, too.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Mandy Patinkin Vanessa Williams; and the voices of Kevin Clash, Brill, Jerry Nelson, Caroll Spinney, Frank Oz and others
Gary Halvorson ( )