When I was a small child, I never ate the vegetables I encountered on my dinner plate, preferring instead to kick, scream, whine, and then feed the offending dish to the dog. How different things might’ve been if former First Lady Michelle Obama was the one gently encouraging me to eat my peas, using Muppet-adjacent puppets and her soothing presence! Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way, but for the children of America who are now currently throwing handfuls of broccoli at their parents in protest, Obama’s new show, Waffles + Mochi, premiering on March 16 on Netflix, is here to save the day.
There’s little information about what this show will entail, beyond the above tweet, which features Michelle Obama cradling a small, winsome mochi in her hand, flanked on either side by an overzealous bee with glasses and some sort of Yeti-thing, whom, I presume, is Waffles, as it is wearing a scarf and a frozen waffle as an accessory. The show will be produced by Higher Ground, the Obamas’ production company. My assumption is that Waffles + Mochi is a reworked version of Listen to Your Vegetables & Eat Your Parents, which was reported in 2019 as the title of a half-hour children’s show that would “take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food.”
Again, we know very little about the show, because all we’re working with here is the former name and then the image of Michelle Obama flanked by Muppet-adjacent puppets, but what I’m hoping is that this culinary adventure will be a spiritual cousin to the earliest seasons of Sesame Street, which were quirky and weird and just as enjoyable to watch now, as an adult, as they were when I was a small child. Children’s television is at its best when it resonates with both children and adults who are lightly stoned. Consider this Sesame Street clip, featuring Big Bird and Snuffleupagus going to the disco?
Listen, I’m an adult who knows how to count past 12, but sometimes, when I am counting things for whatever reason, I do it by singing this song.
My best hope for Waffles + Mochi is that Michelle will serve as a benevolent Mrs. Rogers-esque figure that teaches children that it’s okay to eat things like seaweed and that “foreign” foods are not scary. I’m also hopeful that the aforementioned bee has something to say—nutrition facts? Food history? Whatever he’s going to talk about, I’m willing to listen.