An Innocent Question From Elmo Breaks the Internet

It turns out a lot of us are hurting and eager for a listening ear
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2024 11:35 AM CST
Updated Feb 4, 2024 7:00 AM CST
Elmo Poses a Question, 'Collective Breakdown' Ensues
"Sesame Street" muppet Elmo poses for a portrait with the assistance of puppeteer Kevin Clash during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival to promote the documentary "Being Elmo" in Park City, Utah.   (AP Photo/Victoria Will, File)

On a Monday morning toward the end of the seemingly endless month of January, Elmo posed a question: "How is everybody doing?" "The answer, it seems, is not great," the BBC reports, noting there was "a collective breakdown" Monday as X users dumped their woes on the Sesame Street character. "Elmo I'm gonna be real I am at my f---ing limit," wrote one user, per BuzzFeed. "Elmo I'm depressed and broke," wrote another, per the New York Times. "The world is burning around us, Elmo," wrote YouTuber Steven McInerney. "I'm just looking for somebody to talk to and show me some love if you know what I mean," wrote rapper T-Pain.

Users complained of brutal wars, layoffs, burnout, inflation, and anxieties over the 2024 election. As The Hollywood Reporter notes, "no trauma was too shallow nor too deep to share with young Elmo," who suddenly became the No. 1 trending topic. "I don't think anyone anticipated how deeply this particular question would resonate," Samantha Maltin, executive vice president, chief marketing and brand officer of Sesame Workshop, tells the Times. But Elmo wasn't fazed. "Wow! Elmo is glad he asked!" the Muppet character responded Tuesday. "Elmo learned that it is important to ask a friend how they are doing. Elmo will check in again soon, friends! Elmo loves you. #EmotionalWellBeing."

Elmo's friends, from Bert and Ernie to Oscar the Grouch, shared in the hashtag, offering their support, too. "Me here to talk it out whenever you want," wrote Cookie Monster. "Me will also supply cookies." With all the love, things started to look up. "Somehow this actually legit makes me feel better," one user wrote, per the Times. "That's love, pull up any time bruh," wrote T-Pain. "Check in on your people." Justin Bariso at Inc., who noticed a sense of gratitude among the responses, says that's part of the lesson to be learned. Asking someone how they're doing "may seem silly, superficial even," but "people are craving to be asked this question sincerely" and "it's the sincere personal interest—and the listening—that matters most." (More Elmo stories.)

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