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    20 "Sesame Street" Characters Whose Big Muppet Hearts Charmed Us

    Elmo is the GOAT.

    Hands down, the absolute best part about Sesame Street is its cast of beloved fuzzy characters.

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    (OK, the songs *are* admittedly catchy as heck, and the guest stars are pretty rad as well. But you know what we mean!)

    In addition to being irresistibly adorable, the characters are actually pretty hilarious and have distinct traits that make them endearing in their own ways. I mean, you can't deny Oscar the Grouch's colorful personality.

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    He even has an entire song with Jack Antonoff about how much he loves trash! Taylor Swift could never!

    On the air for over five decades, Sesame Street has introduced us to a bevy of unique characters over the years, remaining devoted to fostering a diverse ensemble. Recently, it introduced its first Asian American Muppet: Ji-Young.

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    Ji-Young is a 7-year-old Korean American Muppet who enjoys shredding both her skateboard and her electric guitar. "So, in Korean, traditionally the two syllables each mean something different, and Ji means, like, smart or wise. And Young means, like, brave or courageous or strong,” Ji-Young explained in a recent interview. “But we were looking it up, and guess what? Ji also means sesame.”

    Without a doubt, there's so much to love on Sesame Street. To celebrate the wonderful community on 123 Sesame Street, let's take a look its very best characters over the years!

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    1. Elmo

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    Come on — would we make a list of the best Sesame Street characters WITHOUT including Elmo? This boisterous and kind red monster with an orange boop for a nose is the embodiment of childhood guilelessness. His charm got him his own segment on Sesame Street, and it even landed him the Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo. He's a legend.   

    2. Zoe

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    Zoe’s fun, confident, and always ready to hang out with her friends — you might even say that she’s Elmo’s other half! (They are, in fact, BFFs.) With frilly hair accessories and a pet rock, she might just be the original VSCO girl.

    3. Oscar the Grouch

    Oscar the Grouch
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    The character of Oscar the Grouch shows that kids can have feelings other than unadulterated joy — everyone needs some level of personal space, actually. But also, a curmudgeonly scruffy monster who lives in a trash can is actually super-validating cranky adult representation, thank you very much.   

    4. Rosita

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    Spunky and full energy, this adorable turquoise Muppet is definitely the musician on Sesame Street (if we don’t count Elmo playing on his crayon piano). She’s also the main bilingual character on the show, often teaching us Spanish by way of singing.   

    5. Ernie

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    Bert and Ernie are Sesame Street’s dynamic duo, so it feels almost wrong to separate them apart. But let's start with Ernie. He's the fun, freewheeling one who’s always playing with something, be it his drums or rubber ducky. He's a real joy of character, and he's one with a solid outfit as well. (We're pretty sure he invented striped crewnecks with straight-fit jeans, right?)

    6. Bert

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    Bert’s the stern, serious Muppet in this duo, but his love for his roommate and best friend Ernie runs deep. Also, the Muppet is an intellectSesame Street has denied that Bert and Ernie are in a relationship, but former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman did say that he modeled these two after his own dynamic with his life partner.

    7. Grover

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    We have to respect a character who refers to himself as a “cute, furry little monster.” And well, he is. His refusal to ever use a contraction almost gives him something of a swagger, if we’re being quite honest. Plus, he always has the best of intentions when it comes to helping people...even if he’s not so great at the execution part.   

    8. Mr. Johnson

    Mr. Johnson
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    The one poor sap who always falls prey to Grover’s hijinks is Mr. Johnson — as a server at Charlie's Restaurant, Grover never gets Mr. Johnson’s orders right. Mr. Johnson is known for saying, “Why do I keep coming back to this restaurant?” and honestly, it's a solid depiction of habits being hard to break in adulthood.     

    9. The Yip-Yips

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    They're aliens from Mars who, frankly, kind of resemble morphed versions of Elmo and Cookie Monster with pipe-cleaner antennas. They mostly just say “yip yip,” and it is very amusing and endearing!  

    10. Big Bird

    Big Bird
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    We love Big Bird because he lives up to his 8'2" stature with his truly stacked range of talents and love for his friends (including Snuffy). Oh, and he's vaccinated, much to Ted Cruz's chagrin.   

    11. Mr. Snuffleupagus

    Big Bird and Snuffy
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    Sure, Snuffy might get Big Bird in trouble from time to time as his "imaginary friend." (Well, that's what people think, anyway.) But this giant, hairy critter is such a gentle and loving soul that he’s automatically forgiven.  

    12. Count von Count

    Count von Count
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    So, not only has the Count taught countless children how to get around numbers, but he also low-key serves the freshest look on the show with his suit, monocle, and reversible cloak. Also, please watch him count with Billie Eilish to the tune of "Happier Than Ever" — it's so cute!   

    13. Abby Cadabby

    Abby Cadabby
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    A 4-year-old fairy-in-training, Abby Cadabby is absolutely adorable with her purple hair, pink fur, and magic wand. Not all of her spells go as planned, but she always takes things in stride.   

    14. Julia

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    Julia is the first Muppet with autism to join the other monsters on 123 Sesame Street. Her character has been praised for positively representing kids on the spectrum. (Sesame Street, has, however, drawn controversy for its partnership with the organization Autism Speaks.) 

    15. Sherlock Hemlock

    Sherlock Hemlock
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    Egad! It’s Sherlock Hemlock, the world’s greatest detective, or at least that’s what Sherlock calls himself anyway. Who doesn't love a quirky English detective? We’ve also got to give a shoutout to his trusty companion Watson, who likes to chew on and sniff out evidence as dogs do.  

    16. Cookie Monster

    Cookie Monster
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    He might seem like a walking Chips Ahoy ad, but there's much to love about this pure creature with blue fur and googly eyes. We want cookie as well. (Although Cookie Monster *does* advocate for healthy eating as well, FYI.)   

    17. Telly Monster

    Telly Monster
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    Anxious adults and kids alike can probably relate to Telly Monster, who’s always worried that there’s something going wrong whenever he tries something new.

    18. Prairie Dawn

    Prairie Dawn
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    Prairie Dawn is an underrated character for sure — she’s definitely a consummate professional in the body of a 6-year-old Muppet! Prairie Dawn aspires to be a journalist, but for now, she works on school projects with her friends on Sesame Street.   

    19. Guy Smiley

    Guy Smiley
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    Speaking of professionals, we can’t forget Guy Smiley, a perpetually suited showbiz legend who refers to himself as America's Favorite Game Show Host. He might be a bit much upon initial impression, but you can’t deny that he has stage presence!   

    20. Mr. Noodle

    Mr. Noodle
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    We always want to shout "Mr. Noodle" in the most endearing exasperated way whenever this quaint mime pops up. Not only does he do silly things on the regular in "Elmo's World," but he also looks very dapper in his checkered vest and funky bowtie. He's just a modern-day Charlie Chaplin, you know?

    Did we get to your favorite character on this list? If not, let us know in the comments below!