The Innuendo Is for Porn

Taking an adult stroll down Sesame Street — courtesy of The Musical!, now at Theatre Row — had the unexpected effect of making me realize anew both the extent and the nature of how Avenue Q riffs on the original series.

Sesame Street for adults” has always been Avenue Q’s logline and general premise, but this characterization fails to convey the full depths of all the ways Avenue Q adapts Sesame Street for adults.

Here are a few examples, each boasting a different definition of what constitutes the “adult” in “Sesame Street for adults”:

I’m probably the last person in the world to realize that Nicky and Rod’s relationship is a doubly-adultified version of Bert and Ernie’s dynamic. The “Sesame Street for basic adults” version would’ve cast them as lovers, and then preached a straightforward tale of tolerancebut Avenue Q takes the characters into far trickier terrain: it’s about how to navigate the perils of unreciprocated romantic love between best friends of the same gender, one straight and the other gay, which is an adultier narrative than a parable of pure acceptance.

And now, for an example that translates “adult” to mean “crass immaturity”:

So obviously Avenue Q’s Trekkie Monster is Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, but instead of gobbling up cookies, he gobbles up porn.

But there might be an even bluer joke here.

Have you ever heard someone use the word “cookie” to refer to genitalia in a sexual capacity? As in: “Give me some of that cookie.”

And Trekkie Monster is indeed a monster for that sort of cookie.

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