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Elmo backlash: Lovable little monster, or furry menace?

Sep. 28, 2011 at 11:46 AM ET

Could it be? Is there an Elmo backlash brewing?

Not everybody loves Sesame Street's littlest monster. The furry red cutie has inspired glee in millions of children, and raked in millions of dollars in sales of Elmo-related merchandise. Now Elmo -- or rather, the man behind the puppet, Kevin Clash -- is the subject of a new documentary, "Being Elmo." The film, which will be released Oct. 21 and is already garnering raves, explores how Clash went from being a puppet-making nerd in high school to voicing one of the world's most beloved characters.

Not universally beloved, though. On BabyCenter's Momformation blog, Sara McGinnis highly recommends the documentary but confesses: 

"To put it bluntly on a personal level, Elmo has never been one of my favorites. There may even have been a period where I believed 'Death to Smoochie' was misnamed...." 

Her candor inspired another non-Elmo-fan to come out of the closet. Commenter "Danny's Momma" wrote:

I hate Elmo. There, I said it. I hate that he has an entire 15 minute segment on Sesame Street now (that is 1/4 of the show!). I hate that the kids I babysat for knew who Elmo was and had all of his merchandise, but had no clue what Sesame Street was!! When I was pregnant and my mother in law planned my baby shower, I made her write “Sesame Street gifts welcome, but please limit the Elmo!” on the invitations. No lie

How can people dislike Elmo? Is it the squeaky voice? The childlike syntax? His overwhelming ubiquity? (Though I'm a fan, I must admit I was surprised when my son knew who Elmo was -- and was obsessed with him -- before he'd ever seen an episode of "Sesame Street.")

But... but... but... Elmo is so cuuuuute! (As Elmo might say.) And lovable and sweet!

Clearly, reasonable moms can agree to disagree on this. What do you think of Elmo?

Rebecca Dube, who now has "Elmo's Song" stuck in her head (la la la la!),  is the senior editor of TODAY Moms and the mother of an energetic toddler. In her spare time, she enjoys avoiding housework. 

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