The Greatest Canadian Puppet
Dave Bennett

If you've turned on the CBC in the last year or so, you've probably seen Canadian celebrities (re: people you've never heard of unless they were on Much Music) sharing their opinions on who should be named "The Greatest Canadian" (re: more people you've never heard of, unless they played hockey). Of course, you've also immediately turned away, because who cares about the creator of Medicare when Paris Hilton is making fun of poor and/or ugly people somewhere?

"The Greatest Canadian" was a noble effort, but its major flaw came in only allowing humans into the running. Some of our country's most public of figures haven't been human at all, rather a curious combination of felt and cotton, with dead, beady eyes and a hand placed firmly up their posteriors. No, I'm not talking about Joe Clark, I'm talking about puppets. There were many noble nominees, each with their own positive and negative attributes. The short list, narrowed down from a field of tens, is as follows:

Snit (YTV)

Pros: Snit worked on YTV before it started airing nothing but Japanimation and terrible live-action productions with twenty-dollar budgets.

Cons: The ongoing debate regarding whether purple televisions with a screen full of false teeth qualify as 'puppets.'

Ed the Sock (CityTV, Much Music)

Pros: Ed openly mocks ridiculous celebrity culture from both sides of the border. Also, he doesn't hesitate to point out his employers' ever-increasing reliance on cheap gimmicks and shoddy carbon copies of American shows.

Cons: His ever-present cigar stub will lend a field day to those anti-smoking lobbyists. Also, Ed the Sock is a cheap gimmick himself.

Rocko ("Puppets Who Kill," The Comedy Network)

Pros: The idea of a murderous dog is funny.

Cons: "Puppets Who Kill" isn't.

The Elephant ("The Sharon, Lois and Bram Elephant Show," CBC)

Pros: The daughters of two immigrants from Africa, she is a true rags-to-riches success story.

Cons: She once tried to eat Bram, and occasionally blurs the line between children's programming and an acid trip.

Paul Martin (Prime Minister of Canada)

Pros: Is always readily available for a good satirical jab (just like this one).

Cons: Last time I checked, that's not what world leaders are elected for.

Louis the Otter and Basil the Polar Bear ("Sesame Park," CBC)

Pros: Unlike their fellow nominees, the otter and polar bear are distinctively Canadian animals.

Cons: A spin-off of Sesame Street, they were created by Americans. Also, Basil once mauled Grover.

Casey and Finnegan ("Mr. Dressup," CBC)

Pros: Adorably low-tech, Casey had no mouth or elbows. The two of them drew attention away from the annoying crow and the thing that looked like a chewed-up piece of pink bubble gum.

Cons: Tickle Trunk? Creepy.

After much debate (and by debate, I mean "chugging Red Bulls and watching that Treehouse TV channel after midnight"), the Greatest Canadian Puppet became obvious. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present:

Polkaroo (TVO)

Pros: Polkaroo never says anything so he never annoys or offends anyone, a truly Canadian value. Also, he is always missed when he goes away, which is more than can be said for Tom Green.

Cons: He's only seen by one person at a time, and that guy always arrives just five seconds too late. In fact, we're all pretty sure it's just the guy playing a decade-long practical joke on the girl. "I just missed him again," my ass.

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