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Tue Sep 18, 2018, 02:19 PM

Sesame Street Writer: Bert and Ernie Are a 'Loving Couple'

Are Bert and Ernie in a same-sex relationship? A writer from Sesame Street has finally addressed the rumors. “I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were [a gay couple.] I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them," Mark Saltzman told Queerty in an interview published Tuesday.

Saltzman, who is gay, said that he and his partner Arnold Glassman were referred to as Bert and Ernie. As the "jokester," Saltzman identified with the Ernie character, whereas his partner, a more detailed-oriented film editor, was Bert. Saltzman revealed that when he started working at Sesame Street, he was already dating Glassman, and their relationship formed the inspiration for the one he wrote between the male puppets. "I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple," said Glassman — although he never revealed this information to the PBS children show's head writer.

In 2011, PBS released a statement that said Bert and Ernie — who as two male characters who lived together, were long rumored to be lovers — were "best friends" and nothing more. The statement came in response to a Change.org petition urging the puppets to come out after marriage equality came to New York.

In 2013, The New Yorker featured a cover of the puppets embracing on a couch, as they watched the news of the historic U.S. v. Windsor Supreme Court decision that overturned a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act. The puppets even figured in a "religious freedom" controversy in 2015, after a bakery in Northern Ireland refused to bake a cake with their likeness, as it violated the bakers' "Christian values and beliefs." The text on the requested cake read, "Support gay marriage."

https://www.advocate.com/television/2018/9/18/sesame-street-writer-bert-and-ernie-are-loving-couple

17 replies, 1367 views

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Sesame Street Writer: Bert and Ernie Are a 'Loving Couple' (Original post)
left-of-center2012 Sep 2018 OP
Guppy Sep 2018 #1
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2018 #3
wasupaloopa Sep 2018 #2
PoliticAverse Sep 2018 #4
Behind the Aegis Sep 2018 #5
left-of-center2012 Sep 2018 #6
lambchopp59 Sep 2018 #7
Behind the Aegis Sep 2018 #8
left-of-center2012 Sep 2018 #9
JHan Sep 2018 #10
left-of-center2012 Sep 2018 #11
JHan Sep 2018 #12
left-of-center2012 Sep 2018 #13
JHan Sep 2018 #14
Behind the Aegis Sep 2018 #15
JHan Sep 2018 #16
Behind the Aegis Sep 2018 #17

Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Sep 18, 2018, 02:32 PM

1. My friend Mark

 

Mark is a good friend of mine. I have known him for 55 years. We shared a gym class in 7th grade and I took Latin with him in ninth grade. I am still in touch with him( all my friends from high school are in touch). He is a great guy and if he said this is is true it is true. The last time I saw him was in Vegas at a reunion of my clique and he knew I was working on the Obama campaign and he brought me a dozen Obama buttons.
He regularly writes plays and he wrote Milo and Otis(the dog and cat movie). He lost on Jeopardy and we never forgave him.

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Response to Guppy (Reply #1)

Tue Sep 18, 2018, 02:54 PM

3. trust me....some of us parents had a good idea.


Not an issue worth mentioning, considering the age of the target audience.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Sep 18, 2018, 02:40 PM

2. Puppets feel emotions?

 

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Tue Sep 18, 2018, 04:47 PM

4. Bert & Ernie Are Still Not Gay, Say Sesame Workshop & Frank Oz

Those old rumors about the Muppets pals were reignited earlier this week when former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman told website Queerty that he “contextualized” Bert and Ernie as a couple based on his own relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman.

“I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were,” Saltzman said when asked if the two Muppets were gay. “I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them.”

The statement drew a response from Sesame Workshop, saying, in part, “they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

“As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends,” tweeted Sesame Workshop. “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

Read the rest at: https://deadline.com/2018/09/bert-ernie-not-gay-sesame-workshop-mark-saltzman-frank-oz-1202467253/

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #4)

Tue Sep 18, 2018, 04:48 PM

5. How typical and sad.

Once again, gay people are rendered invisible. Heterosexism and homophobia are never out of vogue, even on our side. It is sad and fucking maddening.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #5)

Tue Sep 18, 2018, 05:54 PM

6. There are a couple threads on DU about Bert and Ernie

And all seem to have some outrage that Bert and Ernie could be gay.

I'm 72 years old and have never been allowed to discuss my long time relationship with my
right wing, evangelical siblings if I want any contact with them at all.

We just discuss the weather, our health, and the 'good old days'.
Oh, and their kids, wives, etc.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #6)

Tue Sep 18, 2018, 09:54 PM

7. I'm just 60 and widowed

My RWNJ relatives totally severed all ties.
One was so deplorable as to say "Well, at least it wasn't a "real" marriage". about the loss of Eldon.
Fluck them and the Orange horse with diarrhea they rode in on. I'm with Kap. Kap's with me. (and both of you!)

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #6)

Wed Sep 19, 2018, 12:11 AM

8. The heterosexism and homophobia is disgusting, but quite predictable.

Given the past few years, I am never surprised by the straightsplain' and the outright homophobia I see on display. People cheer and applaud diversity, except when it comes to the GLBT, then it is very conditional.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #8)

Wed Sep 19, 2018, 08:26 AM

9. Funny, yet sad ...

... that so many of our 'friends' are aghast that puppets may be portrayed as gay.
Impossible !

Got me to thinking last night about the Lone Ranger and Tonto.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2018, 11:38 PM

10. I've been stunned at the blowback to the idea of this, it's so over the top.

As I wrote elsewhere, yeah they're puppets and they don't have a sexual identity but they are intimate in ways that go beyond your usual platonic male-male friendships.

They reflect what a lot of long-term gay relationships look like which is why Saltzman found it so easy to identify with them. He could relate to "ernie and bert" as a representation of his own lived experience.

.. and I think that's great!

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Response to JHan (Reply #10)

Thu Sep 20, 2018, 11:47 PM

11. So much outrage about this ...

“... when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were [a gay couple.]" Mark Saltzman told Queerty
And that he portrayed them after his own relationship.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 20, 2018, 11:50 PM

12. right?! and what's wrong with that? Why should anything be wrong with it?

smh.

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Response to JHan (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 20, 2018, 11:53 PM

13. How would people have responded if ...

Two puppets/muppets were portrayed as a loving hetero couple?

Would there be the NO NO NO
puppets don't have sex?

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 21, 2018, 12:05 AM

14. +++++++++++++++

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Response to JHan (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 21, 2018, 05:47 AM

15. I wasn't "stunned", hell, I wasn't even surprised.

It is "normal" here. Homophobia and heterosexism is the norm among the populous, including the left. Oh yes, people will go on and on about "white privilege" and "male privilege', but, the idea that "heterosexual privilege" exists seems to elude so-called progressives/liberals. A white person claiming "some of my best friends are black" garners all kinds of laughter and rebukes, but the exact same statement, in regards to LGBT people, and it translates to "truthtopower." Of course, it isn't really surprising given some think "the ends justify the means" when using homophobia.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #15)

Sat Sep 22, 2018, 07:49 PM

16. You're right.

And I shouldn't have been surprised.

Today a friend sent me this meme:

#pUpPeTsDoNtHaVeAsExUaLoRiEnTaTiOn

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Response to JHan (Reply #16)

Sun Sep 23, 2018, 05:45 AM

17. Love it!

People "love" diversity, until it means including GLBT, then it has to be at the discretion of those who aren't LGBT.

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