Sesame Street as Psychological Primer
The characters on Sesame Street suffer from many disorders in the DSM-IV.
Posted Oct 25, 2012
Geek Pride welcomes guest blogger Kevin O'Kelly, a writer whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe and the literary journal Alligator Juniper.
Or as a college roommate of mine put it: "Sesame Street is nothing less than a window into madness."
Ernie and Bert present more difficult cases. Most amateur psychologists on the Internet believe Ernie has a case of Attention Deficit Disorder, which accounts for some (but not all) of his bizarre behavior. Remember the time Bert couldn't sleep because of the sound of a dripping faucet, and Ernie's response was to turn on the radio to drown out the faucet?
I suspect some profound mental disability.
The contrasting personalities and behaviors of Ernie and Bert also serve as an introduction to Freud's concepts of the id and the superego. Ernie is all impulse; Bert is overly concerned with following rules.
There's no consensus on Oscar the Grouch. Some say Anti-Social Personality Disorder. But the author of the website A DSM-IV Look at Sesame Street disputes this diagnosis, making a compelling case that Oscar suffers from Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
By now I'm sure you're wondering what psychological disorders the rest of the cast of Sesame Street illustrate. Don't think too hard about it. As Freud might have said, "Sometimes a muppet really is just a muppet."
Kevin O'Kelly lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. His writing has appeared in the Boston Globe and the literary journal Alligator Juniper.