Do we really need origin stories? Most of the time, our best villains are scary because of the stuff we don't know about them. But, as is the case with pop culture these days, everything seems to be getting either an origin story or a gritty reboot -- and this weekend's Saturday Night Live accomplished both in its hilarious reimagining of Sesame Street a la Todd Phillips' Joker.
"If everyone calls you trash, and everyone treats you like trash, why don't you just become trash?" host David Harbour asks, painting his face green and sticking on giant Oscar the Grouch eyebrows before climbing into a trash can. Sesame Street gets the Gotham treatment as Big Bird (Heidi Gardner) becomes an exotic dancer, Mr. Snuffleupagus (Kenan Thompson) is a pimp, and Elmo (Melissa Villaseñor) is arrested for drug possession. The costumes are pretty amazing: every time I close my eyes, I'm going to think of Alex Moffat with that startling tuft of Bert hair. Harbour follows the beats of the Joker trailer, dancing down that long Bronx staircase to a minor-key rendition of the Sesame Street theme song and asking at the comedy show to be introduced as "The Grouch." It's definitely not the Oscar origin story we need, but maybe it's the one we deserve?