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It occurred to me the other day that “Tickle Me Elmo” is incorrectly named. It’s clear that the “Me” in the name is Elmo himself, as the doll welcomes being tickled by the child playing with it, and giggles gleefully in response.
The problem is that Elmo would never issue that invitation in the form “Tickle Me”. He’d say “Tickle Elmo”, because as even the smallest child knows, Elmo doesn’t use personal pronouns (his handler Kevin Clash sometimes slips up and uses them for others, but never to indicate himself).
So the toy should properly be sold under the name “Tickle Elmo Elmo”, no?
Absolutely true. Maybe just “Tickle Elmo.” I remember an interview with the now contoversial Kevin Clash, the original voice of Elmo, in a Fresh Air interview detailing how he objected to the toy’s name on that very basis. I think this is the interview, but I didn’t confirm.
Fresh Air with Kevin Clash