Enter Kipper, Exit Elmo

by ANDREW HICKS

Every now and then, when cynicism strikes me, I ponder the possibility that love by nature is fleeting. Two of the couples who were married at the last three weddings I attended have already gotten divorced. They didn’t even hang in there long enough to celebrate the exchange of fine leather in traditional observance of the third wedding anniversary.

I guess not everyone’s priorities and life goals match up, but I know I’m digging in my heels and holding on tight at least until I get the traditional fruits and flowers that are the spoils of celebrating a whopping four years of marriage. I never thought I’d outlast some of my peers just by staying married for a fifth of a fifth of a century, but actually, when I put it that way, it kinda seems like a long time.

Within the last few weeks, I’ve witnessed a love I thought was pure and eternal disintegrate right in front of my eyes. This is a love I could’ve sworn would last forever. I’m speaking of my 2-year-old daughter Sarah’s torrid, abiding passion for Elmo. Once, he was all she would talk about. She would awake in breathless anticipation of his headwide smile and way-too-frequent, self-conscious giggle. Now, it’s like Elmo never existed, and I’m wondering if he pissed her off. I saw her rip the crap out of his picture in a book last week.

Elmo is sooooooo May 2009 through November 2010. The reign of Kipper is now upon us. We’ve taken the nine-dollar monthly plunge into the world of Netflix Instant streaming through the Wii. I think it’s incredible, and I’m wondering where it’s been all my TV- and movie-overwatching life.

My Netflix strategy is to search for the obscure, diverse stuff that’s eluded me on video store shelves all these years. Sarah, on the other hand, has taken a vow of complete Netflix monogamy to this dude Kipper, who I’d never heard of until late last month. Kipper slipped in under my radar, and he sure hasn’t come around to introduce himself as, “like, you know, the guy who’s seeing your daughter.”

But he’s alright. Kipper is a super-low key British cartoon dog from the late ’90s who talks in dry, ambivalent stoner speech while doing mundane things like fishing and asking his cartoon pig friend named Pig to bring him a Popsicle. Kipper is the king of Sarah’s television universe right now, and Barney has become the goofy deputy king that makes you wish the real king didn’t have the day off. I should add, before my wife makes me add it, that Sarah still finds Barney indispensable for the songs alone. She likes to dance, jump and spin. Kipper does none of those things. Kipper is too baked to move.

Here you’ll have to imagine an ending that brings everything full circle by cleverly mentioning Kipper, Elmo, love, marriage, divorce, fine leather, fruits and flowers.

%d bloggers like this: