For decades ‘Sesame Street’ brutally parodied Trump, who wants to defund PBS

First Published      Last Updated Mar 20 2017 01:21 pm

You should know a couple of things before we embark on a recap of "Sesame Street's" surprisingly vicious takedowns of Donald Trump, which span three decades leading up to his political rise.

First: Trump is most often depicted as a grouch — unpleasant monsters who base their culture and economy around garbage. So when "Donald Grump" appears in a 2005 episode as a badly toupeed muppet "whose name equals trash," that's not necessarily an insult.

The other thing is that Trump, as president of the United States, wants to end public television funding that created "Sesame Street" — more often known for lessons on counting and sharing than biting satire.

There are only three known episodes in which the character "Grump" appears, each time playing the villain in a moral allegory.

Whenever Grump visits Sesame Street, chaos is not far behind.

We know of nothing to suggest any link between these skits and Trump's budget proposal. He is not the first president to desire the elimination of public broadcasting funds. And because the show now airs on HBO, Trump's plan is unlikely to destroy Sesame Street, as Grump tried so hard to do.

I — Grump cons a muppet into signing a draconian contract

Like Trump, Grump's ambitions started out big and got huge. He first appears in an episode in the late 1980s — a grouch in a tacky fedora, knocking on Oscar's iconic trash can to offer a deal.

"Grump's the name. Ronald Grump," he says. "I'm a builder."

That was Trump's fame too, then. The original Trump Tower in New York had opened a few years earlier.

Grump shows Oscar a color rendering of six trash cans stacked on top of each other.

"Grump Tower," he says, giving the "u" a faux-European pronunciation. "It's a duplex can-dominium."

Oscar is intrigued. His friend Maria is horrified.

"We don't want that monstrosity on this spot!"

But Grump entices Oscar to sign a contract — essentially bribing him with a free room in the tower and three bags of trash.

In the next scene, the dented trash can that generations of children had grown up watching is gone. A shabby stack of Grump cans stands in place of Oscar's old home.

"Isn't it tony?" Oscar brags from the top of the tower.

But then Grump notices the grouch's worm and elephant friends living below.

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