An age-old question has reared its ugly head in the media yet again: Are Bert and Ernie Gay? According to one former Sesame Street writer, the answer is a resounding “Yes.”
For years, Sesame Street producers and its PR staff have played the typical Hollywood denial game, insisting that these two are “just friends.” More importantly, they have sworn that they are just puppets and have nothing in their pants except someone’s wrist. Apparently, they have had to explain to the “adults” in the room that puppets don’t have a sexual orientation, let alone, genitalia.
In fact, Frank Oz, himself, who helped created Bert and Ernie said that the characters’ purpose was to show kids that people can get along and live together in unity despite their ongoing differences. Need proof? Their skits always revolve around a messy and chaotic Ernie driving an OCD Bert nuts with his comments and never-ending questions. However, in the end, they always found a resolution and the friendship continued.
This is an important lesson for small children to learn before they go out in the world: differences are okay.
But the inane and ongoing argument is that it’s more than a friendship – which has become a late-night punch line. Stephen Colbert recently joked that Bert and Ernie can’t be gay. Bert has a unibrow and the pair only have one shirt each.
However, in a recent interview, the aforementioned writer, Mark Saltzman, claimed that the skits he wrote and their behaviour in their relationship were actually based on his own at home.
That may be the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.
Bert and Ernie are constantly disagreeing. Furthermore, Bert’s a bit of a condescending bully at times. Worse yet, they sleep in separate twin beds.
And this is representative the writer’s own relationship? Somebody get this guy a new boyfriend already. Or at least an appointment with a therapist.
I don’t care if Sesame Street wants to introduce toddlers to the idea of homosexuality – as long as it’s not the actual facts. (Sex Ed can wait a bit.) The show has become more inclusive, introducing characters with two daddies or two mommies or are gender-ambiguous. So why go back decades and re-write an imaginary backstory that wouldn’t even occur to a four-year-old? Why insert sex into the mix at all?
Giving Mr. Oz the last word on the “Are they or aren’t they” debate he said, “They're not, of course. But why that question? Does it really matter? … There's much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness."
Thank you, Mr. Oz.
Sesame Street was created at the end of a sexual revolution in American and even they didn’t believe sexual orientation was necessary. Why? Because they’re puppets. And for the first thirty-odd years, they didn’t even show them below the waist since, well, they didn’t have anything below the waist.
So give it up. Let it go. Put it to bed already. Preferably a separate, twin bed.