June 11, 2005

Big Bird: Forever Young? No!

Here's a crucial question: Is Big Bird getting too old for this shit? No, I'm serious. Oh sure, the recent attacks on PBS' funding are an outrage and all, but my outrage-o-meter is sagging a bit here on a Friday evening, and anyway, the truly pressing questions of the day are in need of hard-hitting answers. So. Is Big Bird aging? Is he getting too old for TV? Is it time for him to retire? Perhaps. Look, here's a picture of the star himself, circa 1983, in his box-office smash, Big Bird Goes to China:


That's pretty much my favorite movie of all time, by the way. Especially when he finds the "headless water buffalo" at the end. ("How", I thought as I sat in swaddling diapers, "will he ever find a headless water buffalo? There's no such thing!" But the Bird came through. Plus he taught me how to say "ni-hau" and "sai-jen".) But notice how youthful and sprightly he is in that poster! How full of life! Moving on though, here's a more recent sighting of Big Bird, in the Washington Post today:


Yecch. Notice anything different? Quite a few more grey hairs around the forehead, no? And his coat's lost a lot of luster. Plus he seems to be sporting jowls and getting a bit of neck fat. Not quite as lively and animated in the eyes and mouth, either. Now all this may seem like part of the natural aging process, sure—it's been twenty years since he made BBGC, after all—but seeing as how Big Bird's really just an oversized puppet, it's not quite what I would've expected to happen.
-- Brad Plumer 12:30 AM || ||