‘Fox & Friends’ Cancel ‘Woke’ Muppets For Teaching Kids Not To Bully Their Friends
These days it's hard to know who exactly Republicans are defending from so-called “cancel culture" and who they are simultaneously trying to cancel for the high crime of wokeness. Back in February, Donald Trump Jr. shared his concerns about the Muppets. He tweeted: "Apparently The Muppets have now been canceled. There's nothing these psychos won't destroy. Liberalism is a disease."
Trump Jr. obviously isn't self-aware enough to consider the “psycho" in this scenario is the person tweeting about the Muppets in the middle of the night. He later proclaimed at the Conservative Political Action Conference that “they've banned the Muppets." He'd greatly abused the definition of “banned" and “canceled" here, as "The Muppet Show" from the 1970s is currently streaming on Disney+. He was apparently annoyed that Disney+ voluntarily chose to run content warnings before 18 out of 120 episodes.
This was a big deal on rightwing media, including Fox News and the New York Post. Now, it's six months later and the Muppets have pissed off conservatives. During Tuesday's "Fox & Friends," host Steve Doocy, dad of that guy Jen Psaki pants regularly, brought up this very serious and important topic. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt claimed that they normally don't cover stories about “cartoons or animated series," and while it's hard to tell if she was serious or not given her limited facial expressions, I don't think that's true.
DOOCY: Muppets Babies has a character by the name of Gonzo. Gonzo wanted to attend a royal ball. And I believe we've got a clip where Gonzo wanted to wear a dress and two characters said to him that boys are not supposed to wear — boys are supposed to wear knight clothes.
EARHARDT: Knight costumes.
DOOCY: K-N-I-G-H-T clothes. However, a fairy rat father according to the foxnews.com story granted Gonzo's wish to become a princess. And that's what happens. Watch this.
They watched and, lo, they were so afraid!
Special guest dullard Pete Hegseth was very upset about “Gonzorella" and how Gonzo's friends realized they should accept his choices and not behave like bigoted assholes. Obviously, stories promoting tolerance and empathy don't put kids on the school to Tucker Carlson pipeline, so the "Fox & Friends" crew was greatly concerned.
HEGSETH: Is this what kids were clamoring for from the muppets? Cross-dressing? Was that a big ask? Something they were missing in their lives?
What? I mean ... seriously, Hegseth is 41 years old and never saw one of the many classic Bugs Bunny cartoons where he's in drag? I think he even made out with Elmer Fudd once. Sure, Black people's lives were otherwise crap in the 1940s and '50s, but there was no Fox News so we could at least watch a rabbit dressed like Lana Turner in peace.
Hegseth continued to lament the downfall of civilization, which apparently occurred decades before he was even born, and at this point it felt like you were watching a “Saturday Night Live" sketch but one that's almost funny.
HEGSETH: What this is? I mean, you can overdo it, but we've also underdone it for too long. We've allowed places like this to say, okay, yeah let's throw a little bit of this in there, a little bit more gender-fluid, maybe we'll throw some cross-dressing in there, and expect culturally for us not to change, and we have. And that's — it's cartoons like this which influence kids which are a part of that.
Bugs Bunny quite possibly wore a dress professionally more often than RuPaul. It's why you can find YouTube videos called “Bugs In Drag 1" and “Bugs In Drag 2." The plots involved an awful lot of what would later be called “catfishing."
Hegseth disclosed that he watched a lot of Disney Junior programming, which is his business. I presume his kids explain the plots to him. He said, “it is amazing the amount of subtle and not-so-subtle leftwing messaging that you get." We can safely assume these shows don't devote episodes to the merits of universal health care and student loan debt cancellation. There are probably overtly environmental themes about preserving the planet, just like in the hardly subtle series "Captain Planet and the Planeteers," which featured the voice talents of Whoopi Goldberg, LeVar Burton, and Meg Ryan in one of her best performances (that's not shade — I wish she'd played more villains). That show aired when Hegseth was 10, and he turned out ... well, I wouldn't say all right, but the leftwing indoctrination obviously didn't take.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."