September 19, 2018

Bert and Ernie are straight, but can’t they just be gay BFFs?


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A post shared by Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) on Jul 16, 2018 at 12:33pm PDT

The relationship of Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street has been a running discussion/joke online. Many have pointed out that they’re obviously a gay couple, especially after former writer Mark Saltzman confirmed their relationship status and explained that he wanted characters that reflected his personal relationship. But the show had other another idea.

Last night, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, released a statement to clarify that Bert and Ernie are “best friends” and that they are puppets that “do not have sexual orientation.” “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves,” they explained.

Puppeteer and Muppets collaborator Frank Oz also chimed in and said he created Bert’s character. Hence, he knows what he is and he’s not.

Okay, fine, they can just be friends and roommates. But several fans are also questioning how Sesame Workshop is dismissing Mark’s writing of the characters. Many also expressed their disappointment over the news.

Likewise, Frank replied to one tweet and said he’s pleased that people saw themselves in these characters. However, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re not gay.

Sesame Street has always shown support for the LGBTQ+ community. While their stance is understandable, they also shouldn’t ignore how fans—young and old—have related to Ernie and Bert. Plus, would it hurt them to create actual gay characters? They already have a puppet with autism to emphasize that you can still be friends with someone who’s different.

If they’re still not ready to have a gay couple on the show for the preschoolers to see, then they should explain why they paired up Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Their couple dynamic is different in children’s eyes, too. Let’s not forget that they even got divorced!

What do you think? Do you agree that Bert and Ernie should just be straight, or their sexual orientation shouldn’t be defined in the first place? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

[CNN and Time]


Photo courtesy of Sesame Street’s Instagram account

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Filed Under:

Bert, culture, Ernie, Gay, LGBT, Sesame Street, tv

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