Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie Gay?

Even though there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, does the impression of Bert and Ernie practicing an allegedly “Gay Lifestyle” eventually turned into a thorny issue of some staunchly conservative parents and viewers?

By: Ringo Bones

When I first saw Sesame Street – probably the second season in the early 1970s – I’ve always thought of Bert and Ernie as two brothers were Bert acting in a babysitting capacity because he is older and wiser, as in before both of their parents arrived home during their very busy working lives. But after not seeing their parents during the 40 plus years of the iconic children’s educational TV series, I did start to wonder if the Bert and Ernie gay rumors were true – not that there’s anything wrong with it.

They may bathe in the bathtub together, but they sleep in separate beds in the same room – surprisingly without their “parents” ever tucking them in. Bert and Ernie even bicker like a genuine 1990s era gay couple. Unlike other Western TV icons like The Simpsons where Homer and Marge seems to have a revolving door temporal zeitgeist about the time that they decided that both of them were in love – like from the Nixon era early 1970s to the Post Cobain Grunge Era of the mid 1990s, Bert and Ernie seems to be caught in a “time warp” that seems their parents never returned from work. And it didn’t help with regards to the two being allegedly a gay couple living together.

Given that society is now less homophobic than it used to be when Sesame Street first aired (I hope), maybe it is about time for Bert and Ernie to come out of the proverbial closet and become Sesame Street’s beacon of tolerance. As Sesame Street has managed to present difficult contemporary issues in a context that children aged 5 to 12 can easily understand – i.e. their parents being sent to die in the Bush administration’s malfeasantly run War on Terror – maybe Bert and Ernie being a gay couple could provide a way of tackling societal overtly conservative white Anglo-Saxon Protestant homophobia.