Are Bert and Ernie gay? Sesame Street fans have long believed the two puppets were definitely a couple, but it’s never been confirmed by anyone connected to the TV series…until now. A former Sesame Street writer, Mark Saltzman, calls the duo a “loving couple”.
Saltzman said, “I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked ‘are Bert & Ernie lovers?’ And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie [Saltzman’s partner at the time] & I as “Bert & Ernie.”
Saltzman also talked about how his own same-sex relationship became a model for the two puppets. He said, “And Arnie as a film editor—if you thought of Bert with a job in the world, wouldn’t that be perfect? Bert with his paper clips and organization? And I was the jokester. So it was the Bert & Ernie relationship, and I was already with Arnie when I came to Sesame Street. So I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple. I wrote sketches … Arnie’s OCD would create friction with how chaotic I was. And that’s the Bert & Ernie dynamic.”
But not everyone sees it that way. Sesame Workshop, which produces the show, released a statement saying Bert and Ernie “do not have a sexual orientation.” Frank Oz, film director and one of Sesame Street‘s original puppeteers, weighed in on Twitter:
Other people, however, were happy about the development and offered their thoughts.
Looks like that question has been settled…sort of.