Pop Rocks: Come On People, Bert and Ernie Are Totally Straight

Categories: Art

You people are sick.
Pop quiz, PBS. Now that your government is once again threatening to slash funding for anything not related to defense or entitlement spending, and your continued liberal heresies have put you squarely on the chopping block, do you:

a) Let Philip Morris start advertising on Bill Moyers Journal
b) Send Barney (and friends) into Afghanistan as part of the Pentagon's "Operation: Purple Hell On Earth"
c) "Out" Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie and let them get married:

For years, viewers have speculated that Bert and Ernie, the lovable Sesame Street pair who share a bedroom, are gay. The show's creators have failed to indulge those speculations.
But creators may be swayed by a online petition to allow Bert and Ernie to be married on the show at long last. Since the petition was created by Illinois resident Lair Scott on Change.org last week, it has gotten more than 1,000 signatures.

"If done tastefully, this would greatly help put an end to the bullying and suicides of LGBT youth," the petition's Facebook page reads. "Sesame Street should recognize that there are LGBT relationships, families, and include them in their show."

As one who grew up watching Sesame Street and as a parent of children who watch the show today, let me just say this is a horrible idea. Not because I have an issue with gay Muppets, or gay marriage, or gay Muppet marriage, but because it would be exactly the kind of thing the enemies of public broadcasting (you know who you are) would pounce on in order to justify pulling the plug on its financing once and for all.

Oh, and also because Bert and Ernie aren't gay.

I can hear your arguments already: "But they're grown men living together!" "Bert's a total bitch!" "Don't you know what 'pigeon' is gay code for?"

Give it up, Mary. Even if we're going to accept the premise that a couple of asexual foam constructs can be "gay" or "straight" in the conventional sense, there's just too much evidence against the B & E on those beds standing for "Brokeback" and "Elton." To wit:

Have You Seen How Messy Ernie's Room Is? -- Coincidentally, the terrifying state of my own dorm room/bedchambers throughout college and my early 20s was often the only way I was able to deflect inquiries about my own sexuality. Especially given the near-total absence of females in my life.

They Sleep in Separate Beds -- Gay couples don't sleep apart, hetero couples who have been married more than ten years do. Would Dick Van Dyke and Lucille Ball lie to you?

A Gay Couple Would Never Rent In That Neighborhood -- The independent grocer is nice, and the new veterinarian seems pleasant, but there isn't a bookstore, coffee shop or clothes boutique anywhere on that goddamn street. And what about all the kids? Good luck finding a decent club or a wine bar.

Al Qaeda Doesn't Recruit Homosexuals -- Which isn't to say that none have ever "joined the ranks of those shouting "Death to America!" on the streets of Islamabad, just that it kind of blunts your fundamentalist rhetoric to have a Friend of Dorothy as a close adviser to your (now deceased) leader.

We're Ignoring the Real Gay Couple -- I thought Big Bird was a girl for the longest time, but he's really just a giant femme, and his hirsute pal is the perfect bear. Sure, they spend all their time at Snuffy's place because that nest of Bird's is *pffft* for privacy, but they're not fooling anyone.

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If you knew how many real life Bert and Ernie couples I know you'd plotz. Frankly a lot of straight couples I know are female Berts and male Ernies.  But I know women that are Ernies too.   The discomfort that straight people might have over Bert and Ernie being gay is ridiculous because the target audience of Sesame Street already knows that even merely as friends, or siblings or roommates or partners or  even spouses Bert and Ernie love each other and support each other even if they antagonize each other. That's a good lesson for children.  


One of the coolest "sly nods to the parents" I've ever seen was on Sesame Street. It was pride week, and there was a bit with Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. One of them kept getting their lines wrong, so Little Red Riding Hood flips out and screams "she'll be in her trailer!" and storms off. The Big Bad Wolf is left standing there awkwardly cooling his heels.Big Bird walks up casually, "Hi.""Hi, Bird."Big Bird seems sensitive to the situation, so he asks sheepishly, "Um... how's it goin'?""Good... good..."Big bird pauses a beat then says, "So, ya goin' to the parade this year?"The Big Bad Wolf perks up and answers quickly, "Oh yeah!"At this point, Little Red Riding Hood comes storming back in, and they quickly drop what they were talking about.

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