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Curiocity: Avenue Q Turns Sunny Days To Satire

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(credit: John Daughtry)

(credit: John Daughtry)

Sara Boyd Sara Pelissero
Sara Pelissero joined the WCCO web team in August of 2009. You can...
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Well, I can safely say Sesame Street will never be the same for me again.

But it was totally worth it.

There’s not a lot I’m going to be able to say about last night’s performance of Avenue Q. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but more so, because I just took my FCC regulations refresher … and well, Avenue Q isn’t really FCC friendly.

But again, that’s what makes this show ridiculously hilarious and awesomely inappropriate.

Don’t be fooled by the use of puppets — these puppets did things that would make late night HBO blush.

The storyline seems innocent enough. A young puppet named Princeton, who’s straight out of college and ready for the real world, is searching for his purpose in life. But on his journey to find that purpose, he’s faced with Bad Idea Bears and, er, busty temptations.

By the way, the Bad Idea Bears might be my favorite thing about this show. The squeaky voiced “Care Bear” wannabes are so deliciously evil that it makes you feel all warm and happy inside. Whether it’s convincing Princeton to spring for a case of beer, rather than that lowly six-er, or toting a noose and pushing him to end it all, I couldn’t help but smile from ear-to-ear and clap with utter delight.

Anyway, back to the story. Princeton’s got plenty of help in his search for purpose, including a cast of other puppets, monsters and humans, all playing out perfect stereotypes — oh, and of course, Gary Coleman.

The washed-out child celebrity, more famous now for his anger management incidents, has his very own character on Avenue Q. (Which made me think, you know, if the actual Gary Coleman could get his act together to actually play this role, maybe he’d be able to revive his career. I mean, better this than going on Celebrity Fit Club or something.)

Though the show is definitely not for kids — lesson learned to the guy sitting next to me who brought his younger son — it still teaches a number of lessons. For example, everybody’s a little bit racist, and that’s OK. Also, the Internet can be used for learning but really, it’s for pornography. And last but not least, there’s nothing you can do with a B.A. in English. All great lessons.

And when these lessons are sung in nursery-rhymed fashion, you just can’t help but bob your head along. My only complaint about the highly hilar songs, and really, it’s not even a complaint, but there’s so many funny lines snuck in to each tune that I missed some of the funny parts because of the laugher still reverberating from the last joke. Ho-hum, I suppose, not nearly enough of a reason to criticize.

Another key part of the show comes from the Bert and Ernie ripoffs in the form of Nicky and Rod. Rod’s a republican puppet who’s clearly closeted due to his business status and political views and Nicky’s the complete opposite — a sloppy, unfortunately for Rod straight, messy roommate. All they needed was a pigeon dance and they were your exact replicas of Bert and Ernie.

The show truly has everything and while it’s not family friendly — I’ll never be able to get the image of two puppets doing the horizontal polka out of my head … ever — it’s certainly entertaining.

Avenue Q perfectly strikes a chord with your childhood memories while tickling your somewhat immature adulthood status. And really, if you can’t laugh about a monster who invests in porn or bear that encourages binge drinking, perhaps you’re taking life too seriously.

Sara Boyd is a web producer and columnist at WCCO.COM.

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