Whoever knew that Elmo, the falsetto-pitched lovable forever-toddler monster, had a cousin in England?
But he does – and starting Monday on ABC Kids, you will be able to meet her for yourself in a new series called The Furchester Hotel.
Elmo’s aunt Funella Furchester, uncle Fergus Fuzz and 7-year-old cousin Phoebe Furchester-Fuzz run an “almost world-class” half-star hotel (main picture together with Elmo and Isabel, the bell monster).
Elmo says that a half-star is “pretty good for a monster hotel”, while Phoebe points out – like any good saleswoman – that The Furchester Hotel is the “only monster hotel with half-a-star”.
Despite her young age, Phoebe is essentially running the place.
“When I was very young, mum basically told me to ‘run the hotel’,” she explains.
“I could make beds before I could walk. I know how to do room service, work behind the desk and I’m very good at problem-solving.”
One such early problem involves a Giant Cookie guest, Mr Crumb, whom the Furchester family must stop from being eaten by one of their employees. You guessed it, the Cookie Monster has landed on his feet with his dream job as a room service and dining room waiter.
Elmo says that Phoebe is fantastic at dealing with “real life” issues and is teaching him so much.
In true Sesame Street fashion, The Furchester Hotel is both entertaining and educational, with lessons for young viewers such as how to solve a problem, how to accommodate differences and working with other people to get a solution.
Phoebe says one of the assets that helps her be such a good hotel host is her capacity to speak the languages of other guests.
“That helps me to be very good at sorting out problems.”
She says she’s particularly good at speaking ‘chicken’ as well as ‘pony’ and ‘penguin’ - for whom she recently had to troubleshoot a challenge with their bobsleigh team.
“The truth is,” Elmo confides, “penguins just aren’t that good at bobsleigh.”
“But,” Phoebe adds, “the point of our hotel is to make everyone happy. We want to ensure they have a good time, can mingle happily with the other guests and leave feeling really good about themselves.”
And if that’s not a recipe for a young life, what is?
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You can catch Phoebe, Elmo and all of the gang at The Furchester Hotel on ABC Kids from April 13th at 7.30am and 4.30pm every week day, and on ABC iView and ABC Kids iView anytime.