So, are Bert and Ernie more than friends?
The question was raised in a recent interview with former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman on an LGBTQ website.
Asked “Were you thinking of Bert & Ernie as a gay couple?” Saltzman, who joined the show in 1984, responded in part, “I always felt that, without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were.”
Saltzman’s recollection from within the Sesame Street writers’ room set it off on social media –though it’s a subject that’s been raised before.
Reaction included this from Muppeteer Frank Oz, who created Bert & Ernie to showcase his comedic chemistry with Muppet founder Jim Henson: “It’s fine that he feels they are. They’re not, of course –does it really matter?”
Responses came from Sesame Workshop — the first declaring in part that Bert & Ernie “remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
Later, the workshop sent an “updated” statement, saying that “Sesame Street has always stood for inclusion and acceptance. Bert & Ernie were created to be best friends, and to teach young children that people can get along with those who are very different from themselves.”
So like Ernie after a sleepless night, the topic has been put to bed.