It is a rumor that has been going on for decades. The rumor surrounds one of the biggest names in Children’s Television, Sesame Street, and Bert & Ernie, two of the most iconic muppets to inhabit the inner city street, are the center of attention.
Once again, the rumor has arisen that the muppet duo is “more than friends” and have a relationship with each other. This round of talk was based on an interview done with Mark Saltzman, a former writer of the longtime series. He spoke with Queerty about the experiences he had.
He was asked by the website: “Ok, so we have to address—that’s the big question, right? In the writer’s room, you’re all adults. Were you thinking of Bert & Ernie as a gay couple? Did that question ever come up?”
He answered “…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.”
That information came from a pretty powerful source close to the situation. This reignited rumors that have persisted for a long time, decades at least. I’m not sure anyone believed them or not, even to younger kids, but those rumors were passed around.
Sesame Workshop. Sesame Street’s parent company was quick to respond when the word of what was said in the interview got out. They released a statement through their Twitter account:
Please see our most recent statement regarding Bert and Ernie below.
The trade of words has gotten a reaction from both sides of the “argument”. The interview itself seems to be confirmation that those longtime rumors that have been passed down the generations ring with some truth. On the other side of the argument, many feel that Sesame’s reply quashes those rumors once and for all.
And some, especially those of us that have heard these kinds of things before, see this as not really ending the rumors or the “argument,” but just another cobblestone in the road. A lot of stories and rumors of the show have come and gone over the years. Some have been explained while others have been flatly denied by the parent company.
The rumor has been going for many years and never has seemed to be answered. At one point there was the rumor that one of the characters was going to be infected with the HIV virus and eventually killed off. The rumor was flatly denied and never came true. Kami the muppet was introduced on the South African version of the show in 2002 as the First HIV Positive Muppet in the world.
If anything, this bit of a spark will just stoke the fires of an opinion on either side for many years to come \and settle nothing. One of the writers of the characters that many have grown up with, and their bosses putting the whole thing together. It may never find a definitive answer.
The duo of Bert and Ernie debuted with the show in its very first episode in 1969. They were introduced by the original Gordon as being friends that lived in the basement apartment of the most familiar building on the show. Originally they were performed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Oz still performs as Bert along with Eric Jacobson while the duties of Ernie are performed by Peter Linz, who has been with the show since 1990.