Why The Truth About Bert and Ernie Doesn't Matter

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Anyone who knows anything about Frank Oz and especially Jim Henson should understand that they created the muppets to provide joy and entertainment to people of all ages.

What they mean to you is different than what they mean to your neighbor.

Recently former Sesame Street writer, Mark Saltzman, came out and said that Bert and Ernie are gay. What being gay means for a muppet is still yet to be determined, however, that was his point of view. Frank Oz, who created Bert and probably knows Jim Henson better than anyone outside of Henson's family, said that Bert isn't gay; he also questioned why their sexuality mattered?


This set off a barrage of both attacks and support for the muppeteer. Attacks on him are completely unwarranted given the fact that art is interpretive and he wasn't arguing that they couldn't be gay. His final line in the tweet even says, "There's much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness."

He's not wrong.

And since muppets are caricatures of people, there is much more to a muppet than their sexuality. His point was it shouldn't even need to be discussed, the characters are who they are and your version of them is just as correct as your gay friend's version. Ultimately, muppets are there to entertain us and occasionally make us think.

The fact is, he created Bert and he says Bert isn't gay. But at the same time, Oz says Bert shouldn't be defined as "only" gay because there's so much more to him. Maybe the argument exists because the truth is somewhat ambiguous without any hard evidence. We all know that Bert is yellow, although someone may argue that he's lemon or dandelion.

You see, something as simple as his color, which we can all plainly see, can still be subject to controversy. Which is why the truth about Bert and Ernie's sexuality doesn't matter. That being said, Sesame Workshop came to Oz's defense in their own tweet:


So naturally, because of this reaffirmation, people are angered that muppets cannot be allowed to love each other romantically. Which is clearly false since we all have seen the Kermit and Miss Piggy drama play out over the years. The LGBTQ community is looking for their muppet counterparts, and someday they may get them.

Wouldn't it make sense though, to explore a muppet having homosexual feelings naturally? What if a muppet was seen as struggling with how they feel about another muppet that doesn't notice them? It may be more relatable than just telling people that two guys living together are automatically gay.

Personally, the demands for Bert and Ernie to be gay feels like the LGBTQ community is robbing themselves of something really special.

In the end, none of it really matters as long as you're entertained. And if you're not, you have other options. People will argue about the actual color of their skin (fabric?) which also doesn't matter, just as skin color doesn't define a human.

But that's another article for another day.