Thought you knew Sesame Street stars, Bert and Ernie? Well think again. It turns out that everyone’s favorite Sesame Street duo have actually been gay lovers this whole time. In an interview with Queerty, Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman claimed that he had always written them “as a loving couple.” Saltzman joined the show in 1985. The show began in 1969.
Apparently, Saltzman drew inspiration for the puppet duo from his own homosexual relationship with editor Arnold Glassman. For Saltzman, making the characters as lovers wasn’t about promoting an LGBT agenda, but about reflecting on his own romantic experiences. It was all implied.
Saltzman claimed, “I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were [gay.] I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them.” He added, “The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie and I as ‘Bert and Ernie.’”
Well this is news to millions of fans of the beloved PBS franchise. Then again, maybe not. The topic of Bert and Ernie’s homosexuality has been a subtle joke over the years. Saltzman recalled a comical story from the San Francisco Chronicle awhile back that mentioned how one progressive child picked up on the not-so-subtle clues. He stated, “a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked, ‘Are Bert and Ernie lovers?’
“That coming from a preschooler was fun, and that got passed around,” he mentioned, adding that “everyone had their chuckle and then went back to it.”
You know, two dudes living together … doing everything together. Well, if morning cartoon viewers couldn’t see the writing on the wall, obviously they weren’t looking hard enough, or maybe just weren’t progressive enough. But it’s official and you can hide from it no longer. These childhood heroes are gay.
Well, not so fast…
Soon after Saltzman’s interview was published on Sunday, the official Sesame Street crew took to Twitter to shove the star-crossed muppet couple back into the closet. Sesame Workshop tweeted a statement Tuesday afternoon, arguing that despite Saltzman’s creative direction, the characters were strictly “friends.” The statement read:
As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as many Sesame Street Muppets do,) they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.
Ahem. Sorry to everyone who was thrilled by the original news, but maybe you can still accept that they are gay in the spirit of how Saltzman intended them. In reality however, the case is closed. The only issue now is that Sesame Workshop might have to endure accusations of “homophobia” from the LGBT crowd. More on that as it develops.