Bert And Ernie NOT GAY Says Sesame Street
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What a week for anyone remotely invested in the sex lives of puppets.
Earlier, queer writer Mark Saltzman told Queerty in an interview that he absolutely wrote iconic Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie as a gay couple.
Bert and Ernie have always been RUMOURED to be a gay couple because of their Odd Couple aesthetic and also the undeniable sexual chemistry they possess.
Saltzman said he wrote the characters as a gay couple because he "didn't have any other way to contextualise them" adding, "I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple".
When pressed on the matter, Saltzman basically confirmed that the pair were based on his own relationship and that he saw Big Bird's imaginary friend Snuffalupagus as a "gay closeted" type.
"That’s what I had in my life, a Bert & Ernie relationship," Saltzman said, "How could it not permeate? The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert... I would never have said to the head writer, 'Oh, I’m writing this, this is my partner and me."
"But those two, Snuffalupagus, because he’s the sort of clinically depressed Muppet…you had characters that appealed to a gay audience. And Snuffy, this depressed person nobody can see, that’s sort of Kafka! It’s sort of gay closeted too"
Unfortunately, responding to Saltzman's comments and the celebratory hubbub, the cries of "Are they vers or what?", the official Sesame Workshop account posted a statement in response, echoing what they've always said about the couple.
This isn't the first time the Workshop has responded in such a way, back in 2011 PBS posted an almost identical statement on Facebook in response to a Change.org petition to have the pair come out of the glass closet.
Also before you ask "What about Kermit and Miss Piggy? What about how Gonzo always wants to have sex with chickens?" These are great questions.
We are under the impression that Sesame Street and The Muppets exist in separate spheres where no one on Sesame Street has a sexual orientation, but The Muppets are all horny as hell.
Critics of the official statement have offered up that in Sesame Street's long history they have attempted to provide representation for all walks of life. Their hesitation to concede that Bert and Ernie are in a loving longterm relationship feels at odds with the show's message of acceptance, offering an LGBTQ relationship as everyday, normal and -- especially in the case of Bert's paperclip collection -- exceedingly mundane.
The series has gone leaps and bounds to represent characters from all walks of life, with an incredibly diverse cast. The show has introduced new characters from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds as well as introducing bilingual muppets, an HIV-positive muppet, a muppet on the autism spectrum and even brought awareness to deafness via Linda Bove the hearing impaired librarian.
So there you go, one of TV's longest-lasting gay couples are apparently not a couple at all. They're just ~best friends~.
Featured image: PBS / Emojipedia.org.