It’s Official: Bert and Ernie are Just Friends
As a kid born in the 80’s, deprived of cable television (Yeah Mom and Dad, still giving you grief about that) Sesame Street was one of the only shows I remember watching. I learned my numbers from The Count and marveled at Cookie Monster’s insatiable appetite. But I never once, ever, thought Bert and Ernie might be, uh… more than friends.
So I was surpised to learn of the recent debate going on over the sexual orientation of the two puppets. Yeah, stress on the word “puppets”. Sesame Street issued a statement last week, once and for all, declaring declaring Bert and Ernie hetero.
Over the past month, a campaign to get the duo united in holy matrimony sprang up in an online petition and Facebook page. Supporters sought to get B & E hitched, arguing that an official pairing would be a win for gay rights and send a message to viewers about tolerance and equality.
While that message is an important one, Sesame Street says they’re already sending it. They released this statement Thursday:
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 most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.
Reporter for E! News , Gina Serpe, makes a good point:
Uh, guess we’ll just ignore Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy’s decades of simmering, flirtatious sexual tension, then, shall we?
While I can see the group who launched the petition to get B & E married had good intentions, I don’t necessarily think that Sesame Street is the right medium for the message.
What do you think?