"Guess what Elmo's thinking about today! YA-TA-TA-TAAAAAA!"
is a show-within-a-show
that was featured at the tail end of each Sesame Street
episode from 1998 to 2012. Elmo's World
segments were produced from 1998 to 2009, and were aired on new Sesame Street
episodes up until the 2012-13 season, when it was replaced by "Elmo: The Musical".
The Elmo's World
segment focuses on one subject throughout its 10-minute course, and numerous skits, anecdotes, puns and other gags all center on that subject. The routine is almost entirely rigid, so it's only proper that the tropes start off with...
- Once an Episode:
- The theme song kicks everything off, of course. "Lala, lala... lala, lala... Elmo's World..."
- Elmo reveals the subject of the day (hereinafter referred to as "Subject X").
- A 30-second clip montage relating to Subject X is shown.
- "Dorothy's been thinking about (Subject X) too!" Elmo says as a small model pertaining to Subject X is shown inside Dorothy's fishbowl.
- "Dorothy has a question: How do you (do something involving Subject X)"? First, Elmo asks Mr. Noodle, who tries, in a very slapstick manner, to do it.
- Next, a few kids demonstrate how it's done.
- Finally, Elmo wants to ask a baby. Elmo goes over to the baby and asks him/her how to (do something involving Subject X), who more often than not does nothing in response.
- "And now, Elmo has a question foooo-o-o-o-o-o-or YOU!" ...and it's a counting quiz involving Subject X.
- An animated computer may prance in at this point and declare that "Elmo has mail!" Elmo then reads an e-mail from one of his Muppet friends.
- Or, as it happened in the beginning of the show's run, Elmo could show a film that he created with one of his Muppet friends, filmed with a miniature camera.
- An animated end table (named "Drawer") then tosses out a "do random things have/do Subject X" quiz. Almost always a birthday cake and a random Sesame Street character are involved.
- Next is a slice-of-life segment where a child did something related to Subject X, and that child "told Elmo all about it!"
- Elmo then wants to find out more about Subject X; at that point, an animated television saunters in so Elmo can watch "The (Subject X) Channel" and a short animated segment. (Many a time it's "The Boy/Girl Who Loved (Subject X).")
- How can Elmo find out even MORE about Subject X? In comes a Muppet related to Subject X for a discussion.
- The discussion is interrupted by Dorothy imagining Elmo in a situation involving Subject X. In this segment, Elmo may take on the form of any animal, nationality or profession.
- Finally, everyone sings "The (Subject X) Song", which is the word/phrase of Subject X sung over and over to the tune of "Jingle Bells".
What are some other tropes appearing in Elmo's World? Oh, good question, Dorothy!
- Affectionate Parody: Cookie Monster did a sendup called "Cookie World" in one Sesame Street episode.
- Animate Inanimate Objects: The door, the window shade, the TV, the computer and the one-drawer end table (a.k.a. "Drawer").
- Babies Make Everything Better: "Elmo wants to ask a baby!"
- One episode even had babies as its subject.
- Busby Berkeley Number: During the "Penguins" episode.
- Cameo: Kermit the Frog has a apartment "pad" on Sesame Street, his first Sesame appearance since Disney bought the Muppet Show characters.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Elmo, of course, along with his neighbor Mr. Noodle.
- Coincidental Broadcast: Elmo's TV just happens to be tuned to the channel of whatever Elmo's thinking about. (Examples: "The Teeth Channel", "The Building Things Channel", "The Frog Channel" and yes, "The Weather Channel".)
- On the episode about skin, the TV shows the "All About Skin Channel". Evidently "The Skin Channel" sounded too porno-ish for a children's TV show.
- Didn't Think This Through: When asked by Elmo how to do something, Mr. Noodle sometimes jumps right into an answer without comprehending it first. "No, try again, Mr. Noodle!"
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the "Violins" episode, the animated segment "The Violin Who Loved Her Bow". "...they make beautiful music together!"
- Door Roulette: What's Elmo thinking about today? Most often after pontificating this, he'll go to the door behind him, open it... and either get run over by Muppet animals or people, have a wall of objects fall on him, or be confronted by a random snippet of video.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Yes, there's a "dinosaur" episode.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: As well as one entirely devoted to penguins.
- Excited Kids' Show Host: Elmo.
- The Fool: Mr. Noodle, who has no idea of how to perform a simple task, and has to be guided by Elmo to get it done correctly.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The subject: Balls. Take your pick.
- Subverted at the end when Elmo's "ball song" repeats the singular "ball" over and over.
- Jerkass (as Jerkass as it can be in a preschooler-oriented program, anyway): The Drawer likes to knock Elmo down in the process of getting out the photo quiz.
- No Fourth Wall
- Open the Door and See All the People: Especially "Friends" and "Singing."
- Planet of Steves: The apartment next door to Elmo, where you'll find Mr. Noodle, "Mr. Noodle's brother Mr. Noodle", and occasionally "Mr. Noodle's sister Ms. Noodle". And their first names are never mentioned.
- Rearrange the Song: At the end of the episode, Elmo plays "Jingle Bells" on his piano... however, the lyrics are just "water, water, water... water, water, water..." or "hands, hands, hands... hands, hands, hands..." or (repeated ad nauseum) words to that effect.
- Strictly Formula: Indeed. The order of some of the routines is switched up in a handful of episodes, however.
- Stylistic Suck: The videos Elmo shoots from the early run of the segment. The camera constantly moves, and his hands can be seen over the lens.
- They Who Must Not Be Seen: During the Mr. Noodle and photo quiz segments, a couple of kids are heard (but never seen) coaching Mr. Noodle and responding to the quiz, respectively.
- Third-Person Person: Elmo, to the extreme. "Excuse Elmo." "...and Elmo is Elmo!"
- Lampshaded in the "Letter R Mystery" sketch during the regular portion of Sesame Street.
Detective Alphie Betts (played by Adam Rodriguez): You are Elmo, age 3½, you love your goldfish and your crayon too, and you have a habit of speaking in the third person.
Elmo: Elmo DOES?
Thaaaaat's Ellllmoooo's WOOOOOOOOORLD!