Elmo Xtreme TMX

Elmo TMX from  CNNFor all you non-parents: Elmo is a red Sesame-Street “monster” that talks about himself in the third person. Toys based on this character have been extremely successful over the last 10 years. In 1996, a Wal-Mart clerk “suffered a pulled hamstring, injuries to his back, jaw and knee, a broken rib and a concussion” after he was trampled by 300 crazed shoppers because he held one of the remaining Elmo toys in the store (Wikipedia).

I remember hearing about Elmo Extreme last fall on the NPR news-quiz show “Wait-Wait, Don’t Tell Me” when the guy behind Elmo, the master puppeteer Kevin Clash plays their game called, “Shut up! Shut up! I’m going to cut your mike!” about Bill O’Reilly. Kevin is really funny, so I thought the brief reference to the Elmo Extreme was just a joke. (A bit of a sick joke, actually.)

Not so. Last fall the toy manufacturer Mattel came out with the 10th-anniversary edition of the best-selling and much loathed “tickle-me-Elmo” – the Elmo TMX (see this video on YouTube). In the cherished Elmo tradition, this toy seems rather annoying, but I also know that these robotic toys often inspire hackers, and I can’t wait to see what the geeks are going to do with Elmo when they figure out how to hack him (Elmo probably run a Linux flavor). Yeah, like the geeks who hacked “Big Mouth Billy Bass” and tried to turn the singing fish into a video-conference device.

In the meantime, we’ll have to contend with the less creative, but quite effective Elmo Extreme on Fire (video). The images of the little red monster doing its giggle routine, while burning to a crisp, is oddly disturbing and cathartic at the same time. Enjoy, I guess …

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