Tough Pigs Soapbox

August 24, 2003


Muppet Book Club

"The Great Twiddlebug Mystery"


Book  :   Part 1  --  Part 2  --  Part 3

Commentary :   Part 4  --  Part 5  --  Part 6



The Mysteries of the Great Twiddlebug Mystery


Danny Horn:

Y'know, this is the most argumentative Book Club discussion we've ever had.


I guess this book really did teach us something. I wonder if it had the same effect on the kids that read it. 


Maybe it did, because some of those kids grew up to be us.


Tom Holste:

I found it interesting that the authors felt it worth noting on the title page that Sherlock Hemlock's first name is "David." Apparently it was a last-minute decision, as it's just penciled in.


Does this mean "Sherlock" is just a title, like "Darth"? 


Danny Horn:

Yeah -- in the next book, Sherlock Maul is going to show up, wielding a double-headed magnifying glass.  


Scott Hanson:

These pages contain probably the funniest passage I've ever seen in a Sesame Street book: "Just then the door flew open, and out ran hundreds of screaming Twiddlebugs, followed by a big scary monster throwing candles at everyone."


I'm beside myself picturing this.


Ryan Roe:

There are a lot of Twiddlebugs in this book. On the show, were there ever any shown other than the family of four that lived in Ernie's flower box?


Also, Sherlock Hemlock never seems to get paid for his services. How does he support himself?


Nate Downs:

Duh! He's a drug dealer.


Think about it... 


Hemlock... Not too bright... Always wandering around aimlessly.


Danny Horn:

Another interesting about the book is the glimpses it provides into the natural science of Twiddlebugs.


Page 27 shows "hundreds of Twiddlebugs" pouring through the door -- probably the most Twiddlebugs we've ever seen in one place in any medium.


We also learn about their jellybean dance, which they do once every seven years to gather jellybeans -- unless it doesn't work, in which case they eat leftover cake.


Most of the Twiddlebugs have two legs, but there's a couple of three-legged Twiddlebugs on p1 and p12, and four-legged Twiddlebugs on the inside front cover and p9, p14 and p27. I had no idea there was so much physical diversity among Twiddlebugs. It's a new step in the evolution of Twiddlebugs.


Julia Noomen:

What I want to know is: Where did Herry get the candles? I mean, seeing that Roosevelt has probably turned 8 years old, he wouldn't have had more than 8 or 9 candles on his cake. 


Which means that Herry must have taken his own candles with him. But where does he keep them? Where does he buy them? And how did he know there were Twiddlebugs in Roosevelt's garden?



I'm glad that the discussion has come to those annoying little Twiddlebugs.


Herry doesn't get angry that fast -- but what if those bugs come sneakin' in when you're having a party. The only thing you can do is grab some candles, and hunt them out of Sesame Street.


Danny Horn:

And why are candles so frightening to the Twiddlebugs?


The monster manages to chase hundreds of Twiddlebugs with a few handfuls of birthday candles. Is there something about the candles that scares the bugs, or does that just happen to be the monster's weapon of choice?


Maybe they're allergic to wax.


Nate Downs:

They're following the rules we all know about death. They're running away from the light.


Jes Evans:

Let's just look at the size of a candle in comparison to a Twiddlebug... You'd run too! 


John Hamilton:

But the candles aren't lit. Perhaps they represent phallic objects, or -- as Freud would say -- "father"? 


Danny Horn:

Are you saying the Twiddlebugs all have oedipal complexes?


John Hamilton:


Book  :   Part 1  --  Part 2  --  Part 3

Commentary :   Part 4  --  Part 5  --  Part 6



Soapbox Contents

Muppet Book Club: "The Case of the Missing Mother"

Muppet Book Club: "Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree"