While always denying he ever had a gay relationship with his long time friend Ernie, the rumors of Bert's orientation boiled to a head after the 1998 season. After suffering years of controversy, rumor and speculation, Bert finally came out of the closet and left Sesame Street early in 1999. Two years of relative obscurity followed. An autobiography was said to be in the works. Bert gravitated first to London's trendy Soho district and was once observed near a seedy gay porn shop. Bert was photographed by the press at the 2000 Disneyland "Gay-Day" celebration. In July 2001, Bert was found bludgeoned to death in a porta-potty near San Francisco's Haight-Asbury district after allegedly soliciting sex from a nearby construction worker. His cremated remains are scheduled to be launched into outer space with the resumption of NASA's Space Shuttle service in 2005.
In an effort to control their son's hyperactivity, Elmo's parents instituted a high dosage regimen of Ridalyn in the fall of 2003 at the behest of his school teacher. An unfortunate drug interaction ensued which brought on severe seizures. The source of the mysterious drug interaction came to light only after extensive tests showed Elmo's sustained use of LSD while on the set on Sesame Street. The unfortunate hallucinogenic drug habit had gone unchecked for years despite ominous signs on the "Elmo's World" sequences such as a walking end table, talking window shade and psychadelic home furniture. After months of suffering in a nearly catatonic, comatose state, Elmo recovered sufficiently to be placed in a juvenile detox program early in 2004. Long term brain damage was manifest in several serious sexual assault incidents in the hospital's detox program, and Elmo has been institutionalized in an undisclosed location ever since. A PBS documentary segment featuring Elmo was recently canceled after mental health advocates protested a planned scene showing a heavily sedated Elmo in a straight jacket drooling uncontrollably, shouting "Mister Noodle" in a loud voice. Ebay recently rejected the efforts of Sesame Street producers to put Elmo's former house up for bids in an auction.
The adorable blue over-eater was initially diagnosed with bulimia early in the 2001 season. This diagnosis masked underlying problems which became evident when Cookie lost 80% of his vision after severe hypoglycemia brought on glaucoma. This was all a direct result of Cookie's chronic over-indulgence in a heavily sugar laced diet. The vision loss was unfortunate as clear symptoms persisted for years. Cookie's detached retinas should have been diagnosed much earlier as it frequently caused his pupils to violently rotate round and round on the set. Never the less, Cookie finally received proper treatment in a New York veteran's hospital (Cookie is a veteran, having served in a stateside army kitchen during the Vietnam conflict). Cookie's metabolic imbalance and hormonal deficiency (which is blamed for his uncontrollable appetite) has been addressed through a rigid regimen of therapeutic drugs following surgery to remove a goiter in his hypothalamus. Cookie was making a comeback to the limelight with a renewed involvement in an obscure orthodox church based on the defunct "PTL Ministry" of the once infamous Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Unfortunately, he was recently ejected from the church after several episodes of misconduct whereby Cookie would run to the altar in the middle of a services and grab the chalice screaming, "COOKEEEEEE!" He would proceed to dump the chalice into his mouth scattering half-chewed hosts all over the congregation.
Big Bird was briefly arrested in a raid on an illegal overnight porn / prostitution theater in the Bronx in the winter of 2000. He proclaimed his innocence by stating "I don't think we're on Sesame Street anymore." Long known for his heavy drinking, his breath was allegedly heavy with the scent of fermented bird seed that night. Witnesses stated he was interrupting a live sex act on stage by repeatedly asking theater patrons, "Have you seen Ernie?" Despite the fact that no charges were filed, Big Bird resigned from Sesame Street two months later- his reputation irreparably ruined by the speculations of paparazzi. He now lives a secluded life on a vast mayonnaise farm in rural Manitoba and undergoes gene replacement therapy in an effort to deal with his ongoing overactive thyroid.
The Count- long famous for counting everything- had severely dehydrated and exhausted himself in 1998 while attempting to count the atoms in his left hand. Tirelessly forgoing meals, drink and sleep for days in a row, he passed out in a delusional state after attaining exponential notation. The reclusive Count was rushed to the hospital where it was further determined he had sustained several bites from a rabid bat. It was at this time he began to seek psychiatric counseling to deal with his obsessive-compulsive disorder. In 2003 upon attempting to purchase an airline ticket to "Transylvania", the Transportation Security Administration placed the Count on the "No Fly" list and he was apparently under FBI and CIA scrutiny. A subsequent raid on his mansion by the ATF, FBI, TSA, INS, CIA, SSA, UPS and the Boy Scouts was conducted. A device resembling a theater organ was seized- apparently a weapon of mass destruction. Currently the Count is detained at Camp X-Ray awaiting trial.
Having survived the many rumors of his gay relationship with his long-standing live-in friend Bert, Ernie left Sesame Street late in 1999 to work for a firm in Hoboken, NJ which manufactures dance floor sawdust. Thrice divorced, he never strays far from his extensive security detail stating, "I value my (expletive deleted) privacy. That damn bird continues to go on those (expletive deleted) journeys to find me to this very (expletive deleted) day." Ernie has been active in the NRA and is said to be a close friend of actor Robert Blake. Ernie recently made news with his fundraising efforts to erect a statue in Washington D.C. curiously dedicated to Wroclaw Staniskowski, an obscure 19th century Polish diplomat.
Porn star popular in the Netherlands.
The lovable traveling monster was written off Sesame Street in the winter of 2001 after his untimely death (the show wrote him off in a "Super Grover" episode involving an accident whereby he crash landed into a high voltage substation). While his actual death was technically ruled a pedestrian accident (he was hit by a commuter train in October 2001), speculation abounds that Grover's demise was actually a suicide. These rumors were fueled after Grover's years of anti-depressant medication use came to light. The drugs ostensibly were used to deal with his wide mood swings. Rumored to be manic-depressive for years, Grover subsidized his many chronic globe-trotting vacations through heavy investments in the stocks of his long standing friend, Martha Stewart as well as Enron stock options.
Oscar the Grouch:
Arrested on a public indecency charge in 1998, he claimed he only solicited the undercover policewoman prostitute "to talk trash". The event was quietly dismissed on a technicality and Oscar continued on Sesame Street until an online porn sting netted him in 2001 for peddling online garbage. While extensive use of rotten attorneys got him out of the can on reduced charges, Oscar left the Sesame Street set that same year and is said to be working with long-standing friends, Larry Flynt and Pee Wee Herman star Paul Reuben on a children's movie supposedly titled, "You're Screwed Up and That's Ok".