Elmo vs. Rocco refers to Sesame Street scenes where Elmo gets upset about Zoey’s pet rock, Rocco (also spelled “Rocko”). Early in 2022, the scenes started going viral on social media after viewers found it funny how much Elmo seems to hate the idea of Zoey’s imaginary friend.
How did Elmo vs. Rocco became a Meme?
On Sesame Street, Rocco, Zoey’s pet rock, was first seen on January 7, 1999, in episode 3,809.
Over the next few years, Elmo would often say that he was tired of the character, and Zoey’s insistence that Rocco was more than just a rock would often irritate him even more. In this episode, Elmo is having trouble entertaining Zoey’s imaginary friend. Elmo wants his favourite oatmeal raisin cookie, but Zoey says Rocco wants it. Elmo is at his wits’ end, so he goes on to tell Zoey that Rocco is dead.
On January 3, 2022, Twitter user @wumbooty posted a clip of Elmo losing his cool with the caption, “There are tears in my eyes, y’all, and my stomach hurts.” It got over 54,000 retweets and 297,000 likes in two days (shown below).
How did the Elmo vs. Rocco meme get around?
Soon after, the clip was shared a lot on social media, where many people saw it for the first time and were surprised by how strongly Elmo reacted to Rocco. On January 5, 2022, a Twitter user named @Ankaman616 posted: “Please help me, I’ve been laughing all morning about how much Elmo hates a rock. This thread is amazing,” and in less than 24 hours, it got more than 100 retweets and 780 likes (shown below, left). A Twitter user named @lunch enjoyer said it was “classic Elmo,” and the tweet got over 190 retweets and 4,100 likes in about the same amount of time (shown below, right).
After the video went viral in early January 2022, other people shared different clips of Elmo getting mad at Rocco. On January 5, user @MobsMostHated tweeted a clip of Zoey telling Elmo that Rocco “had to go to the bathroom.” In less than 24 hours, the clip got over 14,000 retweets and 82,000 likes (shown below, top). Another clip posted by @ItsOFFICIALuSUK got over 3,800 retweets and 28,000.
Elmo vs. Rocco on SNL
After Elmo vs. Rocco memes became popular online at the beginning of January 2022, Saturday Night Live decided to make fun of the Sesame Street scene on its Weekend Update segment. Chole Fineman and Michael Che, who is the host of Update, played Elmo in the sketch. In the sketch, Fineman pretended to be Elmo when Rocco came out as a “special guest,” but Elmo was upset that Rocco was also present in the Game Show. When SNL’s channel posted the video to YouTube, it got about 579,600 views and 13,000 likes in one day (shown below).
How Did Elmo vs. Rocco got Attention?
SNL also put the clip on their Twitter, where it got about 11,000 likes in a day. The video started to get a lot of attention on Twitter. As users saw the sketch, they started to react to it, and most of them didn’t like it very much. For example, on January 16, Twitter user theeashleyray posted a quote tweet that said the writer’s room needed a break from Twitter. The tweet got about 87,000 likes in one day (shown below).
Why did People Disappointed by Elmo vs. Rocco
As the day went on, more Twitter users expressed disappointment. For example, jenny2x4 posted on Twitter, “RIP Elmo vs. Rocco meme. May SNL pay for its wrongdoings one day? It got about 12,200 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below, left). On January 17, a Twitter user named conureCC replied to SNL’s tweet with a meme called “the life cycle of a meme.” It showed a Human Centipede diagram of a trend moving from 4chan to SNL (shown below, right). In less than 24 hours, the reply got more than 400 likes for the meme.