In what might be the worst kept secret in the history of entertainment, two of America’s most beloved puppets have just been outed by one of their writers. Since they first appeared on the PBS kid’s show, Sesame Street in 1969, fans have always suspected that the two Muppets were more than just roommates. Still, the Children’s Television Workshop has always maintained that they were great friends and nothing more. Over the years, the idea of them becoming a gay couple has been a common joke in pop culture, but this is the first time we are getting something close to confirmation that there is more to the pair than a shared window planter of Tweedlebugs.
When writer Mark Saltzman joined Sesame Street as a writer in 1984, he now admits in a new interview, he modeled them after his own same-sex relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman. As to why he wrote them as a couple, Saltzman had this to say:
“And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them.”
The last official statement on the characters from the CTW was that Ernie and Bert were: “best friends” and 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, they remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.”
At this point, there’s been no updated statement from PBS, but at least we know that in their hearts Ernie and Bert love something other than pigeons and rubber duckies.