Official: Bert and Ernie Aren’t Gay (And Why They Shouldn’t Be)

Today, the makers of Sesame Street felt compelled to release a statement in which they confirmed not only that Bert and Ernie are best friends, not life partners, but also that they are puppets and therefore don’t have any sexual orientation. I’m not the only one who’s sad that it’s come to this, right?

The announcement was made in response to a number of online fan petitions demanding that Bert and Ernie be allowed to marry. There are countless problems with this, not least of which that this idea needed more than one petition, but the one that actually bothers me is: Why do fans always seem to feel that ambiguity should always be replaced with some particular definition of certainty?

I’m a fan of Sesame Street, even now, three decades past the intended age of its viewership. I grew up watching it, like so many other people, and although it’s not as if I still occasionally dip in on a regular basis — I just can’t deal with Elmo’s World, I’m sorry — I still have a remarkable amount of respect and affection for the show and its characters because they were so well drawn, and yet so vague that you could project whatever you needed to onto them. In particular, it’s the beauty of Bert and Ernie as characters: They can be gay if you want them to be, they can be straight, they can be best friends, they can be brothers, they can be anything and everything the viewer wants or needs to project onto them, and yet keep their particular character. It’s a mark of genius, really.

If I’m honest, the Bert/Ernie are gay thing is pretty much my own personal canon; it amuses me and reminds me of friends and, you know, it’s one of those things that you think about and either just agree with totally or utterly deny to the point of anger, judging from my experience. But I’d never be crazy enough to demand that the Sesame Workshop make a point of saying that in the show itself, because… it’s not true. Even ignoring the reality that, hey, they’re puppets and don’t have any sexual orientation, there’s the fact that outing Bert and Ernie means that the characters become more specific, and less universal, with that announcement – with any announcement, whether it’s religion or race (They’re orange for a reason, after all) or whatever – and therefore, they become less useful for the purpose for which they were created.

Demanding that Bert and Ernie be nailed down to one specific interpretation, for whatever purpose, misses the greatness of the muppets on the show but, worse, it’s selfish: “Bert and Ernie must mean what I want them to mean,” it says, and… there’s no real reason why. To prove a point? Maybe, but why can’t that point be proven elsewhere, in ways that make more sense and are more respectful of the subject? Enforcing one particular definition of any of the Sesame Street characters is kidnapping what’s there for yourself, and forcing them into areas they’re not supposed to go into. Bert and Ernie and all of the Sesame puppets have no firm sexuality, ethnicity, and in some cases even gender; they’re not meant to. To claim otherwise is just purposefully misunderstanding something for your own purposes.

(The whole thing reminds me of the “Batman and Robin are obviously gay” meme. No, they’re not. They’re not even real.)

For me – and I know that this is a ridiculously sensitive area, and the world and its domestic partner of choice will likely disagree with me on this – Sesame’s announcement is almost funny, except for the inevitable backlash and claims of homophobia and bigotry that it’ll bring. But it doesn’t really make either character less of a positive gay role model for kids, because there’s nothing stopping parents telling their kids that they’re gay themselves if they want to (Or, for kids to decide that for themselves, despite what their parents say). All it does is stop Bert and Ernie becoming overtaken by one agenda and remain open to all of them, leaving that choice to the viewers. It keeps them available for everyone (especially Rubber Duckie), and surely that’s what they were created for.

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Comments

  • Andrew

    “they are puppets and therefore don’t have any sexual orientation”

    Miss Piggy does.

    “The whole thing reminds me of the ‘Batman and Robin are obviously gay’ meme. No, they’re not. They’re not even real.”

    Fictional characters can’t have sexual orientation? You vs a few thousand years of literature.

  • Galactus

    Bit late with this aren’t we? Gets covered every couple of years when things get slow.

    Ever heard of Eric and Ernie? They shared a bed on TV and no one ever thought they were gay.

  • FOSWELL

    It’s only homosexuals who want them to be gay.  The other ninety-eight percent of the population finds the idea to be either irrelevant or offensive.  Why do gays feel the need to impose their abberation on others?  Sesame Street is a childrens’ show and as such is not an appropriate place for the discussion of such topics.  And if they did discuss it, would they present both sides of the argument?  Would they present the side that says homosexuality is a form of abnormal, deviant behavior, or only the side that says it’s perfectly wonderful and normal?  See what I mean?  Not exactly the right venue for that kind of discussion, is it?

  • Jaded Devil

    I consider myself to be pretty open and liberal and don’t have issues with things like Miles Morales Spider-Man or the Rictor/Shatterstar romance.  That said, though, I think it’s ridiculous to try and label/force the issue of Bert and Ernie being gay…not because they’re puppets/fictional characters, for reasons similar to what Andrew mentions, but rather because the intended audience of Sesame Street…remember, it still exists as a show for very small children, not as some nostalgic memory for thirty and forty-somethings seeking to cast more mature overtones on what they remember…probably don’t need to hear anything about whether someone is a heterosexual vs. a homosexual.  They’re learning about letters, numbers, shapes, colors, places in the world, that kind of thing…”straight or gay” shouldn’t even enter the picture at this point. 

    I’m not saying there’s not a need for something to address children about the differences, because it is part of our world and there will be kids who are either raised by gay parents or will know someone who is and be curious about the difference, but Sesame Street should be about the very basics.  I don’t think the word “sexual” belongs on the show, be it preceded by hetero, homo, metro, or anything.  Let the kids learn how to recite the alphabet first, or count to 100, and then maybe a show with an average viewership age similar to that of the Electric Company can tackle the more complex issues, like straight vs. gay.

  • http://twitter.com/badblokebob Richard Nelson

    It’s exactly the right place for such discussion. The earlier kids are introduced to the idea of being gay and that it’s OK to be that way, the fewer hate-filled bigoted adults we’ll eventually have in the world.

  • JimmyDee

    No, Galactus, he is not late with this. You clearly did not read the interview. Sesame Street today made the announcement. If you’re going to be a jerk and take someone to task, at least have it be defensible.

  • Matty Macomber

    I’m a gay guy. It amuses me to think of Bert and Ernie as a gay couple but I don’t need them to be officially designated as such.

    Honest question: has Sesame Street ever make an overt statement on any Civic Rights, reproductive rights, immigration rights, etc. issues? When I watched it, it just had characters popping up and doing the education thing with silly jokes or music. I know they had some marriage ceremony or other in the past but the audience are kids but how many kids REALLY would be entertained and educated in math and reading by watching a marriage or really care, one way or the other, who is married to who. Hopefully, it was only a few of the folks who signed that petition did so seriously. Kind of offensive to me, actually, to push a political agenda on entertainment that you, yourself are not likely to watch and will contains info irrelevant for the stated purpose of the program. Sesame Street is sponsored by the letter ‘B’ and the number ’7′ not by ‘health care reform’, ‘freedom of speech’, and ‘equal pay for equal work’, despite those all being worthy things for people to discuss. I do get that role modeling and normalizing is important, too. but the educational aims of Sesame Street are enough without also bringing social studies into the mix.

    And, even if Sesame Street confirmed them as gay, it doesn’t mean that Bert and Ernie even want to take that step. No one ever takes the wishes of the Muppets into consideration. Those petition signers are kinda like the nosy relatives that always put single straight people on the spot by asking when they plan on getting married. I always imagine Bert as being concerned that Ernie’s too erratic to ever settle down, despite their decades together, and Ernie not wanting to talk about marriage because he likes to live in the moment.

  • JeffgibsonOSU

    “they are puppets and therefore don’t have any sexual orientation”
    and yet they introduced the Countess for the Count……… hmmmmm

  • karl

    they wouldn’t show that side (that it’s a form of abnormal, deviant behavior) because it’s a ridiculous statement.  

    might as well have an episode that tries to explain the pros and cons of gravity.

  • Darkstream

    Bert and Ernie may appear to be a gay couple, but in reality they are just penis-less puppets (excuse me, I mean Muppets), therefore they should just be friends and marriage is unnecessary. We shouldn’t be confusing our kids with such mature and complicated issues when they are just trying to learn their letters and numbers.

  • FOSWELL

    Not really.  It’s really not appropriate to discuss sexuality AT ALL with very young children.  And the fact remains that homosexuality is a form of abberant sexual conduct.  The reason men have a penis and women have a vagina is pretty obvious.  Whether gays are born or made may certainly be up for debate, it’s true.  If they’re born that way, then it’s wrong to persecute them; but if it’s a choice they make, then that choice should be recognized as immoral and wrong.  Either way, homosexual conduct should never be presented as the norm.

  • Rod G

    Whoever said they were gay?

    Not me, that’s for sure.

    Nor have I ever seen them as such.

  • Joey

    Wow, could you have come off more intolerant and bigoted if you tried?  There is no two sides to the argument, there is nothing wrong with being gay and it is certainly not abnormal or deviant.  The fact that you had this visceral a reaction probably just means that you are a homophobe (or just gay and can’t admit to yourself).

  • Rebis

    Good grief, Foswell. I probably shouldn’t bother to reply to you (I generally adhere to a strict no-troll-feeding policy), but I would like to point out this: There’s a BIG difference between discussing sexuality and discussing sex. I realize our culture often conflates the two, but there is a difference. You can say that two men can be in love or two women can be in love (or two Muppets can be in love) just as easily as you can say a man and a woman can be in love, without talking about how the couple chooses to express that love sexually.

  • RandomGuy

    Are trying to accuse SESAME STREET of being hate filled and bigoted??? SESAME STREET……………

  • Rebis

    Graeme, I actually agree with you. That said, the comments here are proving why some people (gay and hetero) are wishing Ernie and Bert would explicitly get married: Because we live in a world rife with idiots and haters. 

    Also, it is disingenous (though I realize you probably don’t even realize it, because that’s part of heterosexual privilege) to assert that “they are puppets and therefore don’t have any sexual orientation.” That’s simply not true. As other commenters have pointed out, Miss Piggy clearly has a thing for Kermit (which he sometimes reciprocates); the Count has the Countess (Sesame Street’s own official site calls her his “companion”); Gonzo (presumably male) has a thing for his chicken Camilla (presumably female) — just to cite a few examples. So there quite a history of Muppets depicting male-female couples. Recognizing that might give you some understanding of why others fervently wish Ernie and Bert to explicitly be recognized as a couple, as opposed to being brothers “merely” friends. (For my part, like you, I embrace the ambiguity.)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IEJYIEMC6JT2RPFUWTYQY765BA Ian Thal

    “If I’m honest, the Bert/Ernie are gay thing is pretty much my own personal canon; it amuses me”

    Exactly. In my personal canon, they are gay. In addition, in my personal canon, Gordon and Susan are Timelords charged by the Celestial Intervention Agency to keep an eye on all the monsters that live on Sesame Street, in particular a young hatchling bird after his gigantic mother was killed in an attack on Tokyo.

  • FOSWELL

    And do you honestly believe that SESAME STREET is the right place for that?! Homosexuality is an extremely contentious subject and many millions of Americans would take great offence at having it presented on a childrens’ show as a completely normal lifestyle.  Good grief, indeed!

  • FOSWELL

    Gravity is a scientific principle, not a moral issue; so YOUR statement is ridiculous.

  • FOSWELL

    Sure, I could come off a lot more intolerant and bigoted if I tried.  As to your statement that there’s nothing wrong with being gay, that’s your opinion, and it’s an opinion that millions of Americans do not share, and I’m sure if they saw that philosophy being put forth on a TV show like Sesame Street, the s— would hit the fan in a very big way.  As I said, it certainly IS abnormal, since men and women clearly go together–not men and men or women and women.  So if gays are born that way, then it’s a genetic defect, like a club foot or some other type of physical deformity–the difference being that it’s an internal “wiring” defect as opposed to an outward, physical defect.  If it’s not genetic, but rather a lifestyle choice, then there most certainly is something wrong with it, as it is utterly repugnant to the vast majority of people and a complete violation of the natural order.  Furthermore, I am not a homophobe, since I have no fear of gays; nor am I gay and unable to admit it to myself.  The problem with the liberal media in America is that they are so skewed away from traditional moral values that anyone who doesn’t agree with the views they present is automatically labelled a bigot.  But the fact is that there is still a very large portion of American society that considers homosexuality to be a sin.  And if the issue is going to be discussed on Sesame Street(!), will those people get equal time to present their side of the argument?  

  • Sweetfairysbreath

    I am a very proud member of the glbtq community. Having said that, leave Bert and Ernie alone. They are puppets. Not really very different than Barnie, or the Telle Tubbies, which came to much the same fate. It’s such crap. There will always be some homophobic jerk trying to turn our entire way of life into some perverse and cruel joke. If the wonderful people at Pbs want to bring some new glbtq culture to Sesame Street, introduce some new characters. I am all about shaking things up and getting on my soap box. but not for lack of fodder. Leave them alone.

  • Dpcoltx

    What makes the whole thing sad to me is that everything seemingly goes back to sex. Most people will assume or make inappropriate assumptions about people based on living arrangements, be it same gender or mixed. At this point, it’s become a one dimensional aspect of characters, despite people attempting to push such things in an attempt to three dimensionalize the thinking of the audience of such things.

    And as far as the fictional thing goes, if they did ever settle down, either with each other or girls, or even pigs, they’d either make deals with muppet-ephisto to undo the wedding, or fall through a parallel world where Jim Henson uncreates them only to have frank miller reboot them, with Alan Moore writing., to make them more relatable.

  • Jmcreer

    Sesame Street is a place to discuss the ABCs, Maths, and general social skills (being nice to each other).  Sexual orientation (heterosexual or homosexual), and the intimacy involved in such relationships, has no place whatsoever for the age group targetted.  Personally, I feel attaching a sexual relationship to muppets speaks more about the addled brain of the human considering it than anything else!!
     
    Keeping this in mind however, I think it’s important that all groups (ethnic, sexual etc) be at least represented in the show.  Do we need a deep exploration of each group and their sexual activities? No.  But at least the physical presence of different adults e.g. two males/ females who are “together”, the single-parent family, the non-traditional family should and must be represented as the 50′s Nuclear Family no longer exists in great proportions – these kids need to see themselves and their family situations represented.
     
    My two cents

  • Andrew

    Thankfully, Sesame Street doesn’t play to conservative prejudices, or Gordon would never have gotten a start there.

  • Andrew

    Don’t tell Foswell about Gonzo and Camilla, or he’ll start ranting about bestiality…

  • Cjorg2

    Foswell – you are terribly out of date.
     
    No one’s asking for gratuitous scenes of homosexual or heterosexual intercourse on Sesame Street.  What they are asking is that all lifestyles be REPRESENTED as normal, just as every other relationship is.
     
    I’m a father of two in a heterosexual relationship.  I’m also a teacher.  There are many, many young children at my school that have homosexual parents.  We even have one who’s parent has recently undergone gender-reassignment.  These kids watch Sesame Street as well.  Why can’t they have adults on the show who represent their parents?  We’re not talking about a “Desperate Housewives” adult portrayal getting into the nitty-gritty, but a normal, simple representation of diverse lifestyles e.g. two male or femal adults on the show that most people will think are “friends” but a small group of children will see as “they’re like my parents/ tey’re like my best friend’s parents.”
     
    Homosexuality is an extremely contentious subject?  Really?  They said the same thing about interracial relationships, non-white relationships, and single-parent families in the past.  With your type of thinking we’d only be represented by “The Brady Bunch” and “Bewitched.”  Get your head out of the sand and see the world for what it is in all its magnificent glory, and not what you believe it should be.

  • facepalm

    In what way is it “immoral”?  Morality has to do with the public good and the amount of harm one inflicts upon others.  No one is being harmed if an individual is homosexual, so again explain to me how morality enters this.  

  • facepalm

    Wearing glasses, taking insulin or wearing deodorant are against the “natural order” as you are altering the way “nature” intended you to be, so your argument is flawed.  Additionally, at one point the vast majority of people found many ridiculous things, such as women being able to vote, “repugnant.”  The majority doesn’t determine what is right or wrong; the amount of harm and suffering you inflict upon others is the true barometer, and homosexuality harms no one or nothing except your own backwards sensibilities.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I5XQ63JI6WYQNY5YVUDBWCC7AM KM

    No place for any type of sexuality. It’s for learning. Please stop with your stupid agenda and just live your life without BEGGING for everyone to agree with you! We don’t care what you’re orientation is or where you stick your thing. It’s a private matter and should stay that way. I don’t particularly care if you like that (speaking to a general you, by the way) either. Just because people don’t subscribe to your way of thinking or agree doesn’t mean we’re out of date. I can tolerate and love gays or any other person for that matter, but I don’t agree that the mainstream focus is on everyone accepting them. If anything, no one should know whether or not anyone is a particular orientation unless there is an interest shown. Keep anything sexual away from children or you will expose your lifestyle as proven perversion.

  • Cjorg2

    I’m part of that “98 percent” (do you know how ridiculous you sound even putting up imaginary statistics?) and you and your narrow minded and archaic views do not represent me.  Speak for yourself and stop trying to sound convincing by speaking for all of “us.”

  • Dominic

    There are relatively so few interesting gay characters so no wonder we gays will call for someone, anyone to go or be gay. I appreciate the call even if they wouldn’t be my choice. Oscar maybe. Fozzie Bear. Pepe or whatever that shrimp thing is. Cookie Monster? Most likely it will be someone new. Leather Bear?

  • Jmcreer

    Keep living in that bubble dude… sounds warm in there.

  • Jmcreer

    I’m concerned that you seem to have really dwelled on the sexual antics of Muppets.  Personally, having grown up with them on TV I’d never had, and never have thought that Miss Piggy’s sexuality had ever escalated from anything but smothering Kermit’s cheeks with kisses, and that Gonzo’s and the Count’s love life were anything but platonic. 

  • Jmcreer

    Laurel and Hardy
    Abbott and Costello
    Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
    Bing Crosby and Bob Hope
    Seinfeld and Kramer
    Cheech and Chong
    French and Saunders
    Harold and Kumar
    The Two Ronnies
    Penn and Teller
    Frank Oz and Jim Henson (who they ARE actually based on)
    and…
    Bert and Ernie.

    They’re not Gay, never have been gay, and never were intended to BE gay.  They are clearly based on The Odd Couple.  Ernie is Oscar Madison (the scruffy one) and Bert is Felix Ungar (the fussy neat freak).  One’s the stand-up, one’s the straight man (no pun intended)

    They’re a comedy duo.  They’re not gay. 

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

  • Galactus

    Ahhh… I see… Sesame Street mentioned it themselves this time. Sorry, you’re right, I didn’t read it fully and left a knee jerk reply based on experience of these columns. that said, he isn’t the first time this had made the news with even some on the right pushing for clarification they are not gay. Truth is it does not matter and it is sad that the Children’s Television Workshop had to go official with any sort of statement. I disagree that the characters are purely puppets without sexual orientation. Who ever created the characters imbued them with a character and traits which would have been formed by at least their own experiences.

  • AdamH12110

    That’s how I always saw it too.  It even follows the convention of having the straight-man’s name come first.

  • mdk

    I could care less about Bert and Ernie, but it’s high time for Race Bannon and Dr. Benton Quest to come out of the closet already!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IVXIUGIJKB5JCUGORJZTTUKVI4 Chachi

    Andrew, did you know the majority of whites in this country are for gay marriage, but not the majority of blacks?  Did you know that in Maryland and DC the biggest opposition has come from BLACK DEMOCRATIC leaders and churches?  Bet ya’ didn’t…

  • Michael Buzzelli

    Ernie could do better (Burt can be mean).  
    For years, Sesame Street taught about diversity. The street has blacks, Latinos, whites, grouches, vampires, monsters and talking frogs. Maybe it’s time for a gay couple on Sesame Street.  When it first aired, I’m sure there were people who didn’t let their kids watch Sesame Street because there were blacks and whites interacting together on the show.Why not teach children…nothing matters as much as love and acceptance…and math and language arts.

  • Dlfurman

    Always thought they were best buds in the order of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison.

  • http://twitter.com/shawnrichison shawn richter

    As an Early Childhood Educator, I’m here to tell you that kids as young as three have questions about their sexuality – they may not understand about SEX, but they certainly have seen their fair share of human behaviour, including adult couples interacting in a caring positive manner toward each other (for example, their parents).  The best way to approach it is in an honest and straightforward manner, geared, of course, to their age group (ie. some boys like girls and some girls like boys, but some boys like boys and some girls like girls and want to marry each other, is about as complex as it needs to get.  That usually satisfies that age group, in my experience.  Of course, often it leads to the ubiquitous “Why?”, but that’s anyone’s guess, so I usually just leave it at “because that’s how they were born.”)  

    So is Sesame Street the right venue for these kinds of interactions?  Of course.  That is EXACTLY what it’s designed for.

  • http://twitter.com/shawnrichison shawn richter

    >>>Sure, I could come off a lot more intolerant and bigoted if I tried.

    I’m not sure you have to.  You’re already plenty bigoted enough for everyone here, it seems.

     >>> As to your statement that there’s nothing wrong with being gay, that’s your opinion, and it’s an opinion that millions of Americans do not share, and I’m sure if they saw that philosophy being put forth on a TV show like Sesame Street, the s— would hit the fan in a very big way.

    It’s not an opinion.  There is NOTHING physically, ethically or morally wrong with being gay, straight, lesbian, transgendered, etc.  Unless you subscribe to 2000 year old bronze age morality, which is open to interpretation and filled with inconsistency (when was the last time you stoned someone to death for working on a Sunday? “They shall be stoned with stones, their blood shall be upon them.” — Leviticus 20:27  I mean, come on, now!).  So, cut that shit out.  You and “millions of Americans” are just wrong.  If you could show me ONE speck of proof (outside a religious text), then I might consider your opinion, but if not, sod off.

     >>> As I said, it certainly IS abnormal, since men and women clearly go together–not men and men or women and women.

    If by “normal” you mean the proper meaning of “most people in the population are NOT gay”, then, on this single point, I might have to agree with you, but if you mean that it’s “abnormal” as in some weird, freakish anomoly to be embarrassed and ashamed abou–

    >>>  So if gays are born that way, then it’s a genetic defect, like a club foot or some other type of physical deformity–the difference being that it’s an internal “wiring” defect as opposed to an outward, physical defect.

    Oh I see.  You ARE being an asshole about it.  Well, I wouldn’t call it a defect, much the same way I wouldn’t say that being born with red hair is a defect, but yeah, it is wiring:
    While sexual behaviour may be chosen, the preponderance of researchers say attraction is dictated by biology, with no demonstrated contribution from social factors such as parenting or other factors after birth.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/01/homosexuality-genetics-usa

     >>> If it’s not genetic, but rather a lifestyle choice, then there most certainly is something wrong with it, as it is utterly repugnant to the vast majority of people and a complete violation of the natural order.

    Now that’s just being mean.  But you know, as I said you’re being an asshole…  maybe there is hope and you’ll learn not to be a homophobe?

    >>>  Furthermore, I am not a homophobe, 

    Sorry, you confused me when you said this:

    >>>it is utterly repugnant to the vast majority of people and a complete violation of the natural order.

    That sounded REALLY homophobic, but you know, whatever.  Carry on.

    >>>since I have no fear of gays; nor am I gay and unable to admit it to myself.  The problem with the liberal media in America is that they are so skewed away from traditional moral values that anyone who doesn’t agree with the views they present is automatically labelled a bigot.

    No, they aren’t.  “Traditional Values” have been skewed by the Conservative media into “fear, hate and kill”, whereas, they should be “Love, Understand and Forgive” (which are the core tenets of your bible, so often ignored in favour of prejudice, intolerance and exclusivity.).  The Liberal media is usually hiding under a rock.

    >>>  But the fact is that there is still a very large portion of American society that considers homosexuality to be a sin.

    I KNEW IT!  You know, did it ever occur to you that religious people might be wired “wrong”?

    >>>  And if the issue is going to be discussed on Sesame Street(!), will those people get equal time to present their side of the argument?

    I should hope not.  I don’t think that Sesame Street is an appropriate venue for discussing things like violence, politics and religion.  If we never teach the kids about that garbage, maybe we’d have a more peaceful and loving world where we could all co-habitate in a couple generations.  Think about it.

    Shawn Richter

  • 0bsessions

    Fine. Pros and cons of segregation. Does that suit you better?

  • http://twitter.com/shawnrichison shawn richter

    I bet that has less to do with ethnicity, than religious ideology.  You’d probably find that there are more white atheists than black ones too (just using your stats as a yardstick.).

  • Jonathx

    Disingenuous statement from the makers of Sesame Street about puppets having no sexuality.
     
    A muppet pig aggressively demonstrating her attraction to and pursuing her romantic feelings for a muppet frog was an element in much of the product they put out in the Muppet Show and the Muppet movies. A puppet represented to be one gender demonstrating attraction to and romantic feelings for a puppet of the opposite representational gender is a fairly tacit acknowlegdement of heterosexuality. What else would it be?

    Miss Piggy and Kermit were married at the end of Muppets Take Manhattan. Married. Being attracted to someone of a different gender, having romantic feelings for someone of the opposite gender and getting married to someone of the opposite gender are all expressions of a phenomenon known as heterosexuality. These things are not the expression of ANYTHING ELSE.

    Nothing natural about pigs being attracted to frogs romantically or otherwise, try and explain that abberation against nature to the kids. Piggy REALLY loves Kermie, and we know that’s what counts. Oh, but, no, Ernie couldn’t just REALLY love Bert, don’t be perverse you filthy homosexuals.  
     
    This is not about puppets performing gay or straight sex, that’s presenting it in a purposely simple thinking, dirty minded way by people who can’t conceptualise of a gay person beyond anal sex. This is about puppets that are presented on occassion as having a definite sexuality, regardless that we never see the penis in vagina sex that Foswell tells us is the only sex that occurs in nature. (Is he trying to deny reality or history or just gay people the right to have sex like straight people automatically have?). That sexuality, in the case of Piggy & Kermit, Gonzo & Camilla the Chicken, the Count and the Countess, and Animal going into paroxisms screaming “woman, WOMAN!” and lusting after every attractive female human guest star on the show, was implicitly and expressly heterosexual, interspecies or not. 

    To pretend that Muppets haven’t been portrayed as being attracted to puppets of the opposite representational gender is just lying to yourself and anyone else bothering to listen to you.

  • 0bsessions

    “it’s an opinion that millions of Americans do not share”
    An millions more than that don’t share. Like it or not, the majority is actually pretty okay with it these days.
    “As I said, it certainly IS abnormal, since men and women clearly go together–not men and men or women and women.”
    Considering they’ve been doing it without issue for thousands of years, I’d reevaluate that assesment if I were you.
    “it’s a genetic defect”
    Seriously? Defect? You MUST be a joke account, right? Am I being punked?
    “they are so skewed away from traditional moral values ”
    Like no interracial marriage or no meat on Fridays, because traditional moral values are ALWAYS correct.
    “there is still a very large portion of American society that considers homosexuality to be a sin.”
    There’s also a very large portion of American society that thinks anyone of Middle Eastern descent should be rounded up and stuck into camps.
    “will those people get equal time to present their side of the argument?”
    That depends, would you give Fred Phelps an episode or two to express his opinion on Sesame Street?

  • 0bsessions

    Don’t quote me on this, but I have to assume they’ve probably covered ethnicity by now, and that’s pretty similar grounds.

  • 0bsessions

    I always got the impression that Piggy made Kermit feel awkward more than anything else.

  • 0bsessions

    They did on Harvey Birdman years ago.

  • 0bsessions

    On the nose.

    Little known fact that South California is actually one of the most morally conservative areas in the country. This is due, in large part, to the very high Latino population which, in turn, has a very high Catholic population. The opponents to gay marriage being black is more likely coincidence as opposed to being religious.

  • Darkstream

    Totally agree!  And don’t forget Batman and Robin — who are sometimes targeted as homosexual duo.  

    All jokes aside, I never thought about Bert and Ernie being gay, simply because they sleep in two seperate beds.  I mean, what’s wrong with them just being roommates? 

  • Anonymous

    Leather Bear…i like it

  • Ryanc561

    I would also put Jay and Silent Bob, but they’re clearly gay for each other.

  • Ryanc561

    There’s so much wrong with what you said here.

  • demoncat_4

    was going to say that as much as it would be interesting to see seseme street finaly make some fans who always though bert and ernie are gay as the creators stated they are puppets who one do not have sexual organs and two are just puppets not real flesh and blood characters. for the creators of the show have spoken no wedding for bert and ernie though maybe sesame street should take this as an oppurtunity to finaly introduce some gay characters to the show.

  • Jeff Kraschinski

    Strictly speaking, it IS abnormal. The very definition of normal includes conforming to a norm or average.

    Since homosexuality is certainly in a distinct minority, it cannot be by definition NORMAL.

    That is of course a completely different animal from calling it deviant, unnatural, or immoral, none of which apply. (Well deviant is an outside possibility if you use “deviated from the norm” as a benchmark”)

    All the current evidence indicates it is natural for homosexuals for be the way they are, and not a choice, regardless of whether it fits the norm or not.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DRVD3DWKUZI75J5H2UWQMGL2IU Marcus

    Jim Henson would roll over in his grave if this came to pass. Shame on you all for thinking such a thought over a world wide beloved television series that has won the world over. :(

  • OolongBee

    Bigotry is awesome.

  • the truth is not so gay

    why can’t two guys live together and not be gay?…We have to fight the Bourgeois controlled Gay Rights movement so we can protect the freedom of sexuality in America…do not hand over control to the us government and corporate interests. The leaders of the movement want it because hey have nothing to lose, they have money and power. We have nothing but what we do in privacy, they are taking it like they took it from heterosexuals, wake up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=47402313 Kevin M. Brettauer

    This whole argument falls apart when you remember that on the Brazilian version of the program, one of the Muppets has fucking AIDS.

  • Jmcreer

    I think that was pretty much my point…

    But indepth (emphasis on INDEPTH e.g. “Today Elmo will talk about heterosexual relationships. Yipeee!!” ) information/ questions about sexuality, sexual identity, etc have NO place on a show like Sesame Street.

    As an Early Childhood Educator (so am I; not to mention a former Human Relations Officer) you would know that these types of discussions are for the home, and/or with a trained professional – unless teachers are specifically instructed in teaching sexuality, they’re not allowed near the subject in schools.  Sesame Street would be wise to take the same approach.  Representation of diverse families is the best approach for Sesame Street to take to provide a catalyst for discussion in the home and other appropriate venues, and NOT used as a soapbox.

  • Jmcreer

    That’s why I left them out – although It’s pretty clear Jay was hot for Silent Bob, and Bob was just… well… Bob

  • Jmcreer

    Brazilian Muppets are like DC’s Earth Two Muppets, and/ or Marvel’s Ultimate Muppets.  Everyone hanging on to the “norm” can pretend it doesn’t exist, or doesn’t really matter in the end :; )

  • http://twitter.com/redneckotaku Tom Stidman

    I absolutely agree with this. Sesame Street and the muppets should never be politicized.  Kids that young shouldn’t have to deal with things like sexual orientation.

  • Cjorg2

    Kids SHOULDN’T have to deal with a lot of things at that age…
    poverty
    racism
    segregation
    disability
    sexual orientation
    lack of opportunity
    dysfunctional families

    … but in the REAL world they sadly already do.  Should we sweep in under the rug and PRETEND it doesn’t exist, or should we move forward and do something proactive that may help these kids in some way, that makes them feel a part of society? 

    Many questions, not many answers…

  • Ultimatecap89

    crazy. just crazy. can’t kids be aloud to be kids? do we have to stick political agendas down there throats???? stop petitioning the rape of kids shows. crap like this is why people of fed up with the Gay rights movement. because they are becoming the intolerant ones who just can’t allow for disagreement even though the scientific claims they make are unproven.

  • Freddie Mertz

    Sesame Street and the Muppets are in different “continuities”, to borrow a comic-book phrase.  The Muppets are for adults and SS is for kids.

  • Jmcreer

    Kids should be allowed to be kids?  But what type of kids are you referring to?  Everyday kids from nuclear families like the Brady Bunch?  Kids from single parent families?  Kids from families with diverse cultural backgrounds?  Kids with Step-parents?  Kids who have gay parents?  Kids raised by their grandparents?

    Kids should be allowed to be kids.  Many kids should also have the opportunity and right to see their own lives represented in the media as part of the “norm” without certain people crying “intolerance” and “political agendas” when it doesn’t suit their own ideas of what the “norm” is.

  • Cjorg2

    No they’re not – Kermit appears on both shows and many Sesame Street characters such as Bert, Ernie, and Big Bird have appeared on the Muppet Show.  Big Bird even appeared in the Muppet Movie saying he was going to Sesame Street.

    Muppets wasn’t a show for adults – it was a variety show for the whole family.

  • Slave #23

    Not taking sides or anything… but majority? I’m not so sure. I feel like we’re always being told that being gay is okay, but when confronted with it, most males aren’t really comfortable with it. It’s a cultural thing. America seems to be trying to make it okay, but the rest of the world isn’t okay with it. Does that make them bigots? Does that make them primitive? Maybe if it really was okay, it wouldn’t take us this long to finally be okay with it. Just a thought. 

  • Dpcoltx

    That, may be the most beautiful thing ever written. That definitely makes big borked make more sense. Do snufalupagus next!

  • Dpcoltx

    Big bird. Dang iPod!

  • Shifty

    I’m all for the introduction of gay characters into Sesame Street and even the concept of Gay marriage.  After all, Some of the most important lessons that most of us learned from Sesame Street was the importance of acceptance and that everyone deserves to be treated fairly.

    Sesame Street was one of the earliest shows to really present various ethnic groups, during times where it could still be a touchy subject.  They’ve introduced disabled people both physically and mentally.  They’ve touched on divorce and death.  They’ve shown kids on how its not fair to discriminate.

    With that long list of noble actions they’ve taken in the past, teaching kids that gays are just like everyone else, is the inevitable next step.  This is Sesame Street.  They’re not going to be addressing the subject of Sex, despite what the more paranoid people think.  They’re discussing emotional connections.  The same connections that they’ve been teaching for decades.  They’ve had entire episodes dedicated how parents loved their kids, or how the adults love each other.  They’ve had several marriages amongst the human characters, during which the couples have had children.

    That being said, the idea of having Bert and Ernie come out as gay and get married… I’m iffy about.  Not because I have anything against them being gay.  If they are, that’s great.  But mostly because… well as the people at Sesame Street said “They’re puppets”.

    There has never been a marriage between two
    muppets before (the Kermit and Piggy in the Manhattan movie doesn’t
    count as it never continued beyond that movie and was played up only for a joke). It feels to me that the muppets, especially on Seasme street
    are primarily shown as child-like characters for the most part, so as to
    help the kids connect with them better. The humans meanwhile are the
    true adults who teach the muppets about the world. Having Bert and
    Ernie get married would age them into adult-adult characters, which
    might cause children to feel less connected to them. Before Ernie was
    like them. Someone who plays with a rubber ducky and eats cookies
    secretly in bed.  Having him marry Bert, he’s more like their parents (whether they have two mommies, two daddies or a dad and mom, or just one parent).  They’re a married couple who have to worry about married things like taking care of kids and going to work.The fun thing about Bert and Ernie is that, despite having no specific ages, they are characters who anyone can associate themselves with in some way.  Putting new definitions on their relationship, takes away a child’s ability to connect with them the same way.Like I said before, I really do want them to introduce gay characters into the show.  But what
    I would kind of like to see is them introduce a gay human couple into
    Sesame Street, show them be happy together and get married on the show and adopt a child.  Show kids that gay couples really are just like everyone else.  They want to make friends, they want to grow up, they want to have a family.  They aren’t people to be afraid of or people to hated.  They’re just people.Sesame Street has white people, black people, asian people, deaf people, handicapped people, monsters, elephants, 8 foot tall birds, and frogs.  Why not gays?  Its better to teach your kids to be nice than to be a bigot.

  • Kushfarmer

    abnormal deviant behaviour? Man, you really are uneducated moron… and the statistic, is 10% of the population, therefore of the 7 Billion people in the world, that’s 700 MILLION Homosexuals… Love between two people is NOT deviant, it’s LOVE… PIERIOD!

  • Kushfarmer

    Well said….