Sesame Street Responds To Writer's Claims That Bert And Ernie Are A Couple

by Jerriann Sullivan
Image via Paul Morigi/WireImage

Sesame Street former writer confirmed Bert and Ernie were couple

For decades we’ve wondered: are Bert and Ernie a couple? Finally, a former head writer on Sesame Street confirmed that the iconic duo are more than best friends – they’re a couple. Despite overwhelming evidence, Sesame Street executives were quick to disagree with the man who literally wrote the characters into existence. Instead, they insist that Bert and Ernie are just friends.

The drama unfolded Tuesday when an exclusive interview with former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman hit the online magazine, Queerty Sunday, which focuses on the LGBTQ+ community. The interview is all about Saltzman’s life as a queer man in Hollywood in the 80s and beyond. For those who don’t know, Saltzman has won seven Emmy Awards. The dude is legit talented. He spent 15 years with The Muppets and wrote countless scripts and songs for Sesame Street. So it makes complete sense that reporter David Reddish asked Saltzman about Bert and Ernie.

“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,” Reddish said. Saltzman explained how a column from The San Francisco Chronicle mentioned a preschooler asking his mom if Bert and Ernie were lovers. “And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it,” Saltzman said. “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.” Saltzman used his real-life romance of more than 20 years with Arnold Glassman as inspiration.

The part of the internet that lives for a good love story flipped out with joy. Finally, someone was confirming that these famous characters who have lived their fictional lives together are a couple and isn’t that wonderful.

Sadly, people who cherish a good love story aren’t the only ones with internet access. Sure tweets from angry old white dudes ruined some of the fun, but mostly no one cared.

Then “Sesame Street” rushed into to let everyone know that they don’t think Bert and Ernie are a couple. They released the following statement on Twitter:

“As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. 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.”

So, by Sesame Street standards, it is fine for puppets to have a gender and all the other characteristics of humans as long as they don’t have a sexual orientation. As if that will somehow be easier for parents to explain when their preschooler asks “do Bert and Ernie love each other?” The correct answer, for those wondering, is “yes they do, honey, and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.”