Once again, in an ADS-L message sent out today, someone could have discovered something that might revolutionize the way elmo is portrayed: as a homosexual. I’m not sure what i think about the whole matter since I haven’t yet had a chance to (i) wrap my brain around this idea, and (ii) I haven’t yet searched for any correlation between “are you a friend of dorothy” and elmo’s fish. Nevertheless, it’s very thought-provoking. currently, I’m leaning more towards the coincidental side of things, rather than jumping in and trying to make the claim that the writers wanted that implication there.
Last week I watched a Sesame Street episode in which Elmo refers to his goldfish by name (Dorothy). Now, when I was a child I had goldfish and tropical fish, and it never occurred to me to give any of them a name. So to me, Elmo’s referring to the goldfish by name indicates a special relationship between the two–a genuine friendship–at least from Elmo’s side. Whether Dorothy’s reciprocates the friendship, I can’t say; I just haven’t watched enough episodes.
Anyway, note the expression used at least in the 1950’s and 1960’s by gays: “Are you a friend of Dorothy?” to determine whether the person being addressed is likewise gay. (The reference is ultimately to the character Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz; both she and Judy Garland, who played Dorothy, were highly popular among gays).
Maybe it’s just a coincidence that Elmo’s goldfish friend is named Dorothy rather than, say, Roberta.
But maybe it’s not. Maybe the screenwriter who named the goldfish Dorothy had in mind the phrase “friend of Dorothy,” making Elmo by implication a closet homosexual on Sesame Street. The motivation of the screnwriter, of course, would have been to produce a sort of in-joke. For a possible parallel, cf. Popeye’s girlfriend Olive Oyl being so named because of the product Extra Virgin Olive Oil.